Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Light and fluffy

So I’m still using the fleet boat, as that’s the only way that it will ever get completely fettled. Today’s job was to redo the elastic so it had some chance of taking up the spinnaker halyard. We spent about as long as was available doing this, then rushed out and arrived at the committee boat nicely in time for the start – maybe Paul R who was doing OD waited for us, if so then thanks Paul.

Rear commodore Richard went off 3 minutes ahead of the rest of us, as is his right as a Silver fleet boat, leaving us to fight out the start line with Mo & Holly, Peter & Iain, and a guest appearance from Ruth with Karen in Karen’s oldest boat. Pete S & Rachel were presumably late for the start, and everybody else was either on holiday, at an open meeting, on OD duty or generally elsewhere.

We started on port, but without enough speed to clear the starboard tack boats, whom we ducked in order to hit the RHS of the course. This worked well, and after a tricky beat we were 2nd at the windward mark (N) to Mo & Holly. The latter pair managed to hit the mark with their boom, and relinquished the lead to us as they did their 360 penalty turn.
The leg to K was a bit close for the kite, but we flew it anyway. Or tried to, but the whizzy new spinnaker halyard take-up system didn’t work, and then the spinnaker pole flew off the mast and hurled itself around the back of the jib just before we arrived at K. So we gybed, but by the time Paul had recaptured the pole, the kite was in an interesting tangle which required us to take the whole lot down. Fortunately the leg was a bit too close for the kite anyway, and (more fortunately) Mo and Holly chose K as a good place to capsize. This opened up the race a bit, allowing everyone else to get ahead of them, and this set the scene for a race-long running battle between those 3 boats.

We set our sights on catching RC Richard & Henry, but they weren’t hanging about. So, round P, a run to E, and a nice reach across the weed-beds to H. Now it took me no time at all to spot the weed on the rudder and remove it (lifting rudders are good for that). Round H, and it became apparent that the centreboard was also liberally entangled with weed, so we whipped that up, down again, and off again with noticeably more speed than before. A short distance behind us, Peter & Iain had to stop to de-weed their boat, and were waving the rudder around in the air when Ruth & Karen came across yelling ‘Starboard’. Hehehe.

Anyway, we did a few more laps of this with the wind dropping, and eventually finished 2nd to Richard & Henry (whom we never really got close to). And having proved the fabulousness of the fleet boat, we promptly retired sort of undefeated and went home.

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