Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sunny and Stupid

Back at dear old Draycote again, where I turned up early to finish reassembling the boat, and still ended up tightening the kicker shackle with pliers on the shore as the 6 minute gun went. Out at the start, we made a decent fist of getting away given that we didn't have the watch running, but had a slow beat and were somewhere near the back at the first mark (B). Still, overtaking is what we do best, so we bunged the kite up for the leg to M, and found that it would go up, but only just far enough up that it dragged in the water. Get it down while rest of fleet sail past, drop the rig tension off, re-hoist, turn up at M in 3rd-last place. Gybe at M for broad reach to X, but spinny-pole ends are as Iain likes them, and Paul not happy. Gybe takes forever, and Paul moans like mad. Zoom down towards X, catch up with Bob & JT, then they promptly get away again and Helen & Paul and Colin & Karen catch up too. Round X, dead run to H, Helen goes past us to leeward, now 2nd-last. Paul gets kite down at H, takes ages, moans like mad. Beat up to P, some big windshifts, overtake Bob, Helen, Colin and Badders. Remarkable. Just need to catch Mo & Holly and Peter & Iain. Nice reach down to T, up through gate, and off we go again for the 2nd lap.

After that it got less interesting. We overtook Mo & Holly somewhere along the line, caught up with Peter & Iain, but just couldn't get past. We ended up in a little tacking battle, where we managed to break the cover and claim the favoured side of the beat, but it can't have been all that favoured as they just scampered away and ended up beating us by a decent margin.

Back ashore then, lunch, rebuild spinnaker pole to be more to Paul's liking, afloat and at the start by the 3 minute gun. It's windier than the morning race, plus gloriously sunny too, and we've raked back to 22'6", which feels good. Got a great start in that one, but we're still behind Peter & Iain at the top of the beat (B). Up with the kite, which was now working fine, and chase them down to J, gybe and hoon off to G on a very acceptable 3-sail reach, taking care at the corner of the wall where it can be a bit shallow. Still 2nd at the mark, but I think something bad happened to Peter & Iain somewhere around there, as we ended up zooming up the next beat to P neck and neck with them, both on Starboard, with us marginally upwind.

At the top of the beat they had pulled ahead and tried to tack across our bow, but the lead wasn't big enough and we were forced to tack too, to avoid holing them. They did their 720 while we scampered off around P, 3-sail reach to E, gybe, 3-sail reach to T. We had a pretty good lead at T, but regrettably I allowed the boom to go in the water while Paul was getting the kite down, and we capsized. It didn't take long for us to pull it upright again, but the boat was full of water and by the time we'd got the kite kite down we had Peter & Iain going round T on our outside. They had much better speed than us, possibly because they weren't carrying half a ton of water in their boat, but I kept them from tacking for the gate until we were both over the lay line, reasoning that the later I left the tack, the more water would have gone out of the bailers.

After tacking, Peter & Iain were upwind of us and overlapped, and they thought that this qualified them for water at the gate buoy.  I however reasoned that this was a windward mark and therefore that they shouldn't have any, particularly with me having a boat half-full of water, so I forced them the wrong side of the mark and they had to come back round for it.

We then had a cracking lap where they chased us around instead of vice-versa and Mo & Holly started catching up too. Peter & Iain snuck past us down at G, we tacked off, they tacked too, and we had a repeat of the previous lap going up to P, except with us to leeward this time. Remarkably, we went faster than them, pulling away with better boat-speed in the rising breeze to establish a decent lead at P. A couple of nice close 3-sail reaches later and we sailed up through the gate to take the win by a decent margin.

Unfortunately, I later discovered that my notions regarding mark-room at a windward mark were based on a misunderstanding of a previous version of the rules, ie a load of old cobblers, so we retired from the race. For those of you who didn't know already, the rules say that you get mark-room in the normal fashion if you are on the same tack as the other boat, and that you can't claim any if on different tacks. I'd somehow got the idea that the latter clause applied to same-tack boats, hence my feeble performance at windward marks for the past 4 years or so. Ho hum.

Anyway, a fabulous day's racing, and well done to double race winners Peter & Iain. We'll be back for another round next Sunday, arguably with a better idea of the rules.

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