Monday, 3 March 2014


Well the forecast said 10mph, no hang on, 16mph or maybe a bit more. The bushes in my garden agreed with the latter, and it wasn't particularly cold or raining, so off we jolly well go!

Race 1 - A, H, J, OL, C, D.

As it turned out the bushes lied to us, it was 20+ mph and fiendishly gusty. We went for a high-speed port end start, which might have gone better if we'd had maybe one watch between the two of us. So we ended up making a fab start about 5 seconds too early, came back round the pin and set off to chase the other 5 boats up the beat. Richard and Clive had the benefit of a 3 minute headstart, due to them being in the Silver fleet, but they binned it twice on the first beat and got to the first mark last. JT and Dave got there first, closely followed by me & Poorly Paul, Pete S & Karen and Helen & Paul. Bob & Paul had had a bit of an episode by this time, so were a bit further back.

The reach was perfect and pretty full on, with everyone flying their kites. Sadly JT forgot to bear away while Dave was getting their kite down, and had a bit of a bath as a result. We took the lead and charged up to J with Pete & Karen a short way behind us and Helen and Paul hanging on behind them.

J to OL was a short 2-sail reach, and the wind built rapidly as we traversed it until we were absolutely flat out and wondering whether we'd be able to lay OL. Then some bastard turned the wind off, the boat came over towards us, and Paul went off to the far end of the elastic while I just sort of floated about with my feet still under the toestraps and my body in the water. We hung about like that for a while, until the wind came back, and by sheeting in I was able to drag Paul back to the side of the boat and lever us both out of the water. Then a smart gybe round as we'd drifted the wrong side of OL, tack, and join in just behind Pete & Karen again.

We went high of C and put the kite up, which was good fun but no faster overall than just 2-sailing all the way there. Gybe at C, and 3-sail to D to start the next lap.

Lap 2 was a repeat of lap 1, except that when the wind turned off up by OL, I fell out of the boat completely this time. However I managed to steer and hang on to the mainsheet from in the water so that Paul was hoiked back into the boat. I should explain that when Paul is dropped in the water he goes kind of catatonic, remains hooked onto the trapeze, and just floats around until I sort everything out. I lost him completely once, and a passing Fred had to bring him back. But I digress.

Once again Pete & Karen had gone past while we did the drifty thing, so we chased them down to C and D using just the 2 sails this time, and changing places with them a couple of times on the way. As we arrived at C we were privileged to see JT & Dave on the same leg but with the kite up and fairly flying along. Sadly they binned it again getting the kite down at C, then again when they gybed, so that was game-over for them. Personally I'd have Aussie-dropped it and maybe avoided both baths.

One final lap then, one more excellent 3-sail reach from A to H, then up to J and a very cautious trundle along to OL, with Paul refusing to go out on the wire this time. After us came Pete & Karen, who had done the entire race without falling in the water at all, which is worthy but a bit dull. Then Helen & Paul, who paused to have a bit of a swim round the boat en-route to OL, at the same time that finally Bob & Paul were doing something similar on the A-H leg with the kite up. And when Bob (A.K.A. Captain Capsize) finally turned up at J, he managed to sail pretty much the entire leg to OL with Paul bouncing along in the water behind him. JT & Dave and Richard & Clive had retired to the shore some time previously.

With the capsize count now well into double figures, we can count that as a massive success for the fleet. However, we were all too knackered to do the 2nd race, so went off home for a good lie down.

More next week!

Parking up by OL on the 2nd lap. Some skill involved in not capsizing here, but did I get any thanks for it ?
Photos courtesy of Dave Hope

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