Monday, 15 December 2014

Yuletide sailing

Course:  M, D, B, T, J, OL, X, Gate
Wind:  SW, F4+

From the various forecasts and examination of the pressure charts, I was expecting it to be 'stupid' on the Bush Scale, but in reality it was never more than 'fruity'.  That didn't stop Paul Anthony's boat being blown off its trolley whilst on the slipway though...the moral of that particular tale is don't try to tie your outhaul on to the end of the boom while the sail is up.

Ho for the start-line, where we arrived with just enough time to sail once past the course board before ambling up to the pin end and tacking to cross the line when the gun went.  A pretty crap start then, but nobody else beat us to it.  Various other 'balls were sailing around the committee boat, sailing away from the line etc.  It was too cold to hang about while they got their shizzle together, so we zoomed off up the beat, closely followed by Bob & Paul and Helen & Paul.

Going upwind was 'refreshing', with significant amounts of ice-cold reservoir content going over my head at regular intervals.  Bob & Paul hung on well, and we soon overtook Jane & Pat who had decided that they didn't need to trapeze that last little bit at the top of the beat, followed by some slot-gasket inspection shortly afterwards.  Round M, and up with the kite for the leg to D, with Bob & Paul and Helen & Paul in line astern.  This was a bit too broad for my liking - basically a run in fact.

OK, round D and beat up to B, where Helen & Paul caught up quite a lot of ground - we were going fast but not pointing worth a damn, and Iain & Tom were catching up too.

B to T was a long leg and looked perfect for the kite, so we stuck it up.  It turned out to be a bit close though, and although we carried the kite almost all the way there, Helen & Paul 2-sailed it and didn't really lose any ground to us. Then a dodgy little beat to J followed by a little fetch to OL (note to ODs, that could have been a nice little beat if you'd left J out).  Then another near dead run to X and through the gate to start again.

This time we lost a lot of ground on the beat, and were 3rd behind Helen & Paul and Iain & Tom when we arrived at M.  Another dead-ish run to D didn't help, although I think we overtook H&P on the beat to B.  Iain & Tom had a very decent lead by now, but were 2-sailing it. We went high on 2-sails, then popped the kite and settled in for a proper blast. I&T did the same, but they were further down the leg so had less kiting space available, plus they appeared to be going a bit slowly anyway.  By the time we arrived at T, they were only about 15 seconds ahead, and we pulled some of that back on the beat to J.

So it was looking like game-on for a decent battle to the finish, but I&T promptly sailed straight off to the gate, skipping OL and X.  We plodded on round those, and arrived a little later to take the gun.  Helen & Paul laid it flat at J, Bob & Paul were a short distance behind them, and I have no idea what happened to Jane & Pat or Paul & Pete.

Iain & Tom had missed out the last 2 marks on account of having been fooled by the cunning way the course, which would have fitted onto one line, was split over 2 lines of the course board.

Having been fooled by the forecast of 'stupid, gusting mental in the afternoon', and a sore throat, I had committed to missing the PM race, so duly returned home for a lie down.  The wind promptly dropped a bit, leaving the afternoon's racing wide open to anyone who was left.

The Fireball Bush Scale (with apologies to Mr Beaufort)

0-4 mph - "Drifty/Rubbish"
Fireballers stay in bed, or wish they had.

5-9mph - "OK"
Fireballers decide it's got some potential, practise roll tacking very badly, do tactical stuff offwind. Some trapezing and planing on 3-sail reaches.

10-15mph - "Interesting"
Fireballs plane nicely on reaches and upwind. Rookies go to 22'4" and occasionally capsize.

16-23mph - "Fruity"
Fireballs plane everywhere. Rookies retire after 3rd capsize. Mid-fleet sailors embarrass themselves at the gybe mark. Some debate over 22'6" or 22'4" mast rake

24-29mph - "Stupid"
Mid-fleet sailors capsize at random, rookies stay ashore.  'Racing' gives way to "just sailing round the course while trying to stay upright".

30+ mph - "Mental"
You *can* sail in this, but it's not a great deal of fun.  Fireball sailors retire to the bar and criticise the technique of anyone else who is still out there.