Sunday, 31 October 2010

Fleet Championships 2010 - day 1

Windguru confidently predicted 2-3knts of wind, and rain, and in the event we didn't get either of them. Instead we had 20+ knts of wind which came in big lumps and made the sailing very interesting indeed.

Ho for race 1, and (to digress) I am currently tying the mainsail to the top of the mast as the halyard is down to its last few strands of wire and I don't want it letting go while I'm racing. This is no big deal, except that when I was fiddling about with the top of the mast on the beach, I put my hand right in a big lump of blue-green algae, and it went all over the string I was trying to tie a knot in as well. Much hand and string washing ensued, and not a great start to the day. Anyway, out at the start line it became apparent that the wind was not about to drop off to 3knts any time soon. So we all zoomed off, and it was Badders leading at the top mark followed by Martyn and then a load of other boats and then me. But it was to be a long hard race, and attrition took its toll on most of the fleet. I definitely remember overtaking an upturned Bob & Paul at a gybe mark, and we took Badders when he tried to fly his kite with only 2 strings instead of the usual 3. We had a long battle with Jez, which we finally won after he bore down on top of us on the reach to 'S', nearly removing my foredeck and crew and taking us the wrong side of the mark in the process. Grump, moan, re-round 'S' and carry on. Then we were treated to the sight of Peter & Mike putting their kite up when halfway up the D-K beat, apparently on the basis that they'd forgotten to go round 'C'. Duh. So we got past them too and spent the next lap trying to make sure it stayed that way, including luffing them up a bit on a couple of the mental 3 sail reaches. Martyn capsized at one point, but this was after Peter & Mike had done the kite on the beat trick, so there was nobody there to take advantage of it. We ended up 2nd by virtue of not capsizing or putting the kite up on the beat, with Peter and Mike 3rd. But, from a personal perspective, we were far too slow in that race and the boat was fighting us on the beats. And my bit of string holding up the mainsail turned out to be broken when I came to untie it (maybe the algae ate it), so the 3 strands of wire had done a great job after all.

Bit of lunch, then 2nd race, and we managed to arrive just after the start and then had trouble getting the kite down so sailed away from the line for rather too long before finally getting going. Peter and Mike had started on time and were away with the fairies, everyone else was somewhere between them and us, with the exception of Helen & Paul who started about 10 minutes late. This race though the boat was on our side and was bounding up the beats, so we took heart and got on with chasing the fleet. We beat Pete to the top mark - he had started about the same time as us - but it was a long time before we caught up with Jez, and there was a considerable amount of traffic (Richard, Bob, JT etc) which conspired against us. We eventually overtook Jez on the long reach to 'C' (which was great BTW), and by the end of the race had caught but failed to pass Martyn & Richard. So 3rd place in that one.

Then Paul had to go home, and I couldn't find a crew for the 3rd race so had to sit it out. It looked like a 2 horse race between Martyn and Peter, and they each had a go at the front a couple of times but it was Martyn who was there at the end.

All in all a very hard day's racing, very good fun (some of the reaches were really awesome), and we just might get the trophy off Martyn's sideboard yet 

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