Monday, 1 August 2016

Going left

A bit of a changeable F2-3 wind yesterday and the improv comedy Fireball fleet was out in force, albeit lacking a few of the regulars. The OD gave us one of the best courses I've seen in months, complete with 2 beats and a variety of different reaches. Ho for the start line then, hit the middle of the line and mooch towards the pin hoping to arrive when the gun went. Well the wind promptly dropped and Mo & Holly and Paul & Clive shot out ahead on port tack flyers, bickering loudly over the availability of water at the pin (hint: you can't have any). So we plodded off left followed by Bob & Paul, the rest of the fleet went right, and when we arrived at the top mark (near Y) you can guess who were 2nd last and last respectively. Then our kite wouldn't go up and we were in last place, and Bob mentioned in passing that he wouldn't be following us up any more beats any time soon.

Soooo, run down to K, fleet bunched up a bit, broad reach to T, and we were just behind Helen & Paul, now 2nd last. Again the whole fleet were heading right for the beat to X whereas the wind looked better on the left. We went left and popped out kinda mid-fleet at the top. Yay! Reach to J arriving still just ahead of Mo & Holly, then up through the gate to start the next lap.

Well, once again it looked good on the left, and once again everyone else went right, only this time we ended up in first place, just ahead of Pete & Richard. After that, the dice fell in our favour on pretty much every leg, including an excellent 3-sail reach to T on the last lap, when the wind kicked in and the sun came out. That was great, and we came home with a massive lead at the end too.
Race 2 then, again we hit the middle of the line with 20 secs to go, but this time the wind dropped away to nothing, and we and all the other starboard tack boats just sat there for a bit. Meanwhile, 30ft away at the pin, 3 boats were enjoying a very stiff F3. Two of them bounded across the line in good order and proceeded up the beat, while the 3rd (Bob & Paul), hooned across into the dead air that afflicted the rest of us and promptly capsized to windward. Well I don't mind getting a crap start if someone is going to lay on entertainment like that for me, and we were laughing so much we could barely sail a straight line when the wind finally arrived. To add insult to injury, somebody (who shall remain nameless) called starboard on Bob & Paul on the basis that they were sitting in the water on port tack and the mast was still hovering a few feet above the water, and prevailed on them to do turns. For the record, if the crew are in the water and the rudder isn't, they can generally claim to be not under control (therefore an obstruction) and argue exemption from that kind of thing.

Anyway, after that fabulous start the rest of the race was a bit pedestrian, Mo & Holly eventually overhauled both Jane & Pat and Paul & Clive and came home in first place. We clawed our way back to 2nd place, were overtaken at the end of the last beat by Pete & Richard, then rolled them on the 3-sail reach to J in a very satisfying manner, leaving them to pick up 3rd place. Helen & Paul had one of those going-up-the-beat-in-the-same-direction-but-on-opposite-tacks moments, followed by one of those 90-degree-headers and then one of those sitting-in-the-water-moments, which at least gave Bob a chance to catch up a bit. Everyone then headed for the bar for a well earned drinkie. Lovely!

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