Tuesday, 26 January 2016


Not a bad day's sailing. Considering we had 3 boats out of action due to them being elsewhere, and another 4 boats out of action due to their owners being elsewhere, I guess a turnout of 5 boats was pretty good. Great to have Mo & Holly back too.

The AM race was OK, albeit all the reaches were a bit broad due to the wind being less than expected.  We got ourselves a bit of a lead and prepared to repel any advances from Mo & Holly or Nick & Karen, but they spent most of their time scrapping with each other and never really got close.  Bob & Paul fought it out further back with Helen & Paul in the fleet boat, the latter eventually retiring with a broken tiller extension.

During the PM race the wind built up to something genuinely interesting. Our start was a good one, in that we arrived at the committee boat, got the kite down, gybed round it and then sailed across the line as the gun went, but it didn't leave much time for getting the course. So Nick and Karen were leading at P, with us just behind so we wouldn't go off the wrong way. Then they had an unexpected kite in the water and under the boat issue and had to park up to fix it. We zoomed off towards H at high speed, thinking to take in the committee boat en-route and get the course from that, but the wind was too strong so we gave up on that idea and just winged it from there (round H and back through the gate), and it seemed to turn out OK. Then a lap later the wind dropped to zero and we retired at OL, leaving Mo and Bob & Paul to limp over to an impromptu finish line and take the honours.

Good fun, but it highlights the difference between having enough boats out there and not having enough boats out there.  With a turnout of 6+, it always seems pretty good, but get down to 3 or 4 and it gets far less interesting.  Hopefully the missing boats and owners will all return refreshed from the menders & mountains respectively, and we can get back to business as usual.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Turned out mental again

So, this was a bit of a blast. Forecast to be a non-mental amount of wind for non-mental people, it did nevertheless get a bit out of hand later on in the day.

Race 1: Force 3-4, Red buoy, OL, P, T, H, S, Gate

Well the red buoy was at the far end of the start line, so we left it to port as instructed when we crossed the line, and then went straight to OL, which we also left to port like the course-board said. This was nasty and hooky, but what can you do? We were first round the mark, but 2nd were Bob &Paul with the Edge Mainsail - was it my imagination or were they going faster than usual? As it turned out, yes they were, and promptly proved it by overtaking us on the way to P. We then spent some time trying to get past them, but it wasn't until halfway through lap 2 that we finally managed it on the run down to H. Peter & David, who had been queuing up patiently followed us through, and then overtook us. Boo!
We then chased them round whilst the rest of the fleet fought it out for 3rd place. The wind picked up a bit towards the end, and when we came ashore we discovered that the red buoy card on the course had meant 'orange triangle', which would have provided a better beat and a non-hooky OL rounding. Having devoted some time to showing my kids that the circular thing wouldn't go into the triangular hole in their activity centre at age 18mths, I remain convinced that red buoys are not the same as orange triangles. Ho hum.

Race 2:  Force 3+, Orange triangle, OL, D, E, P, S, Gate

The orange triangle course card having been duly displayed, nobody had any problem with the course.  Once again Bob was near the front, but this time Peter & Dave were ahead, so we set off in pursuit of them.  The wind was down a bit, so we were still on 22'7", but a big bank of cloud was heading our way.  We didn't make a lot of headway against P&D for the first 25 mins, although they helped us occasionally by losing the guy rope out of the pole end on the reach to D. On lap 2 we got near their transom approaching D, when an almighty chunk of wind hit the boat, which nearly tipped us in. 
Surprisingly still vaguely upright, we managed a slicker gybe than P&D and overtook them en-route to E.  We then sat on their wind up to P and got a bit more lead on the way to S.  Back up the beat, and they were still behind us when we hoisted our kite inside the jib on the titchy leg to OL.  Getting it out wasted the entire leg, so it was a quick gybe and settle down for a showdown on the 3-sail reach from OL back to D.  Well, their gybe was a bit slower than ours and involved going low in the freshening breeze, so we took off like a scalded Mr Fluffy and were going great guns when the wind made a bit of a comeback in the middle of the lake.  Jeez, that was fast, but regrettably not really in the right direction.  We gave up on the kite at around 2/3 distance and had a bash at 2-sailing the rest, whereupon it all went properly mental.  By this stage I already had the cunningham on and the kicker right off, so there was nothing immediately available to de-power with.  The boat rocketed across the lake, boom up, with only the steering keeping the whole thing vaguely vertical.  We passed Nick on the way, and thankfully didn't have to go around him as frankly I doubt we'd have done it and stayed upright. 
Then past D, bear off, add kicker, gybe fast and hoist kite for the leg to E.  Kite had other ideas, liked it better being in the bag, kept trying to come back down.  I put my foot on the halyard cleat and we flew it at half-mast until we got there.  Thankfully P&D were now well back, so we just had the little beat to P, which we did mainly on the jib alone, and a reach to S where we let the kite sleep in the bag, and then across the line to finish.  P&M came in 2nd, Pete & Richard 3rd.  There was apparently much overtaking and fun further back too, with Gordon & Bryan losing out to Bob & Paul on the last leg, and Colin & Karen retiring from a good position following a little swim at OL.  Great fun, and the fabulous course with the excellent 3-sail reaches really made my day.