Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Smile please

October 26th - Wind 15-25mph

Race 1: Course: M, D, X, F, S, Gate

A decent turn-out for a non-fleet-championship day, although we were down by a few boats due to the wind strength and general wear and tear from the previous Sunday.

On the way out to the start, we deduced that the spinnaker halyard was stuck behind the jib halyard. I don't know why it does this - it's not like it was rigged any differently to last week or any other week before that. Anyway, the solution is to hoist the kite, grab the exposed bit of kite halyard with pliers, hold onto it, drop the rig tension right off, disconnect the hook, and thread the wire round behind the kite halyard to make the problem go away. When it's gusting 15+mph, you can only do this on a dead run, so we went for a little trip down into Toft Bay whilst doing it, and surprise surprise, by the time we'd got back to the start, we'd missed it.

So we zoomed off after the fleet, and it didn't take all that long to get back up to 3rd place, with just Iain & Tom and Peter & Jez ahead of us. Then at the end of the first lap, the latter pair mistook 'G for Gate' for plain old 'G the buoy', and went off for their own little trip into Toft Bay, putting us up into 2nd place.

We then spent half the race chasing down Iain & Tom, and had them nicely in our sights on the 3-sail reach to D, when the wind dropped a bit. So I stood up to get a better view of where the good stuff was, and was just reaching for the mainsheet to steady myself when the boat accelerated and I fell out backwards into the water. Now I clearly remember telling Paul about this (I shouted "aargh"), but he completely failed to look after the boat in my absence, and it promptly bore off and capsized to windward.

Naturally it took bloody ages to swim over to it and pull it up again, so we retired soon afterwards. Iain & Tom won that one, with Peter & Jez second.

Race 2:  Course K, OL, P, N, D, S, Gate

We were royally stuffed up on the line by Iain & Tom, so were on the back-foot from the word go. However, by virtue of getting onto the lay-line for the first mark instead of going miles above it, we ended up rounding K alongside Peter & Jez, with the rest of the fleet really close behind. We lost the lead with a dubious mark rounding down at P, but pulled a bit of a blinder by flying the kite from D to S, and getting it down before the big gust hit. Whereas Peter & Jez put it up later and kept it up longer, and we were back on their transom again by P.

At some point we got past them, and were looking pretty good up by K when disaster struck in the form of a big gust of wind and a jib that wouldn't uncleat. We only laid it flat, but it was for long enough that P&J got past, and possibly one or two other boats also.  The wind built up steadily from then, and P&J showed us a clean pair of heels, but we did manage to hang on to 2nd place, with Iain & Tom not far behind (they flew the kite from D to S the last time round, which was pretty epic).

Serious camera guy Andy Whitehead was out there with a gimbal mounted GoPro in the afternoon, and managed to make our assorted random good moments into a really neat video, with a decent soundtrack and everything. He managed to miss most of the windy stuff as the rescue boat he was in had to go and rescue things as soon as it got a bit fruity, but if a picture paints a thousand words then this video has to be worth a cool million. Watch and learn boys, watch and learn...

Fleet championships

Day 1: 5th October. A great start to the 2014 fleet championships. The wind looked rubbish when we first went out, but soon filled in and became trapeze-worthy by mid morning.
In the first race, Paul and I had a brilliant start, neatly messing up Richard & Clive in the process, and left the rest of the fleet trailing. We were never really threatened after that, and won quite easily with Peter & Karen 2nd and Mo & Holly 3rd at the finish. Richard & Clive were first Silver Fleet boat, with Dave & Nick keeping them honest all the way round.

In the afternoon, Paul and I had an OCS-go-back-and-try-again disastrous sort of start due to some serious luffing on the line, and were left trailing by just about everybody else. We spent the entire race playing catch-up, while Mo & Holly fought it out with Peter & Karen and Helen & Paul for first place. It was a pretty intense battle up there for about two and a half laps, until Mo missed the toe-straps while tacking and fell out of the boat. This slowed up Helen & Paul, who were just behind at the time, whilst releasing Peter & Karen who promptly zoomed off into the distance down the fabulous 3-sail reach, never to be seen again. Further back, David & Nick(also OCS-and-returned-at-the-start) finally overtook Jane & Pat right at the end of the race. There was plenty of good stuff going on in the middle of the fleet too, but I wasn't watching.

Many thanks to IainTom and Mike for setting some excellent courses, and to all the guys and gals who turned out to take part.
A great day!

Day 2: 19th October. Pretty windy to start with, rising to silly-windy by the end of the first race. Peter & Mike beat us pretty easily, even with stopping for a quick centre-board inspection halfway round. Bob & Paul were the only other boat to finsh, everyone else got blown away. A bit like my little GoPro lookalike camera, which was washed away off the deck, escaped from the waterproof case tied to the boat, and sank. There was some epic footage on that little sucker too.

By lunch time it was looking fairly OTT, so we postponed the 4th race and went home for a lie down.

And there's a video from Dave here, but I can't get it to embed in this post :-(  http://youtu.be/u6Yxc1yxPuU