Just because there was no fleet race on Sunday you didn't think I wouldn't write did you ...
The Mid-Summer special was well attended - I think around 35 entrants ranging from age 5 to 82. This was the first masters I've been able to attend for many years - in fact I think the first masters since I've qualified as a veteran!
I think we had at least nine solos out - including the club boats. As usual we were well represented in the masters and veterans but this year Frank's handicap wasn't quite enough - in the over 70's John Magrath just pipped him. Still an impressive result by Frank in the light weather showing a clean pair of heels to a lot people even in the scratch results.
From my side the racing was ‘interesting' to say the least - my forestay came off on the first beat so I had to sail very gently upwind - fortunately light winds - and then I spent a lot of the first downwind leg re-fastening it. I know you are supposed to sit forward in light weather, but leaning over the foredeck might be regarded as a bit extreme. I experimented with light weather settings again - mast heel back two holes, shrouds and forestay altered to the usual just tight at front and back of the gate and chocks in front, and my experimental stern sheeting. I'm taking the mainsheet from the centre of the transom (small loop attached with the top rudder bolts) up to pulley at the end of the boom, along the boom top usual mid take-off and then down to my hand, with a thin tail led through the jammer in case it gets windier. This means I have to play with the kicker a lot more as that is providing the down force on the boom - you can watch the leech change shape as kicker is applied. You can easily get the main in very close, with the stern sheet but I still think the biggest benefit is keeping the centre of the boat clear so you can sit where you want to without the mainsheet being in the way. I plan to keep experimenting - it will be interesting the first time I do a light weather open meeting.
I don't think I can take very much from the results on Sunday because in the first race the wind was so helpful bringing the fleet back together after the fast boats got away and ran out of wind - not content with doing it once, it did it again near the finish putting Peter Curtis out of the overall reckoning down in ninth - not a very fair reflection on the way he sailed but I'm not going to complain when it helps us. We've had enough times when a the race has finished in a light patch and magnified all the time gaps.
Race two I thought I'd got the bugs out of the sheeting system when my back mainsheet block on the boom worked loose and slid back to the middle. Fortunately I had the screw driver in my pocket so I could shove it back and tighten the bolt without losing more than a couple of lengths. That's the only problem with having so many strings on the boat - more to go wrong!
The results were of course calculated as scratch (standard club class handicaps) and Veterans - Age related personal handicaps not the Anniversary style. Two extra handicap points for each year over 50. Both races counting.
Solo results: Scratch
13 Andy Ford
16 D Shewan
18 Dave Clark...
25 Peter C (only one race)
27 Dave Strachen (Only one race I think - forgot to write it down)
32 Alec Adams (only one race)
Veterans (adjusted handicaps)
11 Dave C
Mike Curtis won the masters (over 40) and John Magrath the over 70.
If anyone else wants to join in my race training Sunday afternoon please let me know - I have a few places left. If you just want to join the shore part I have less problem with numbers - I will start (2 pm) with a rules clinic and a few general points to work on, followed by (weather permitting) using my boat to show the sail controls and how I set them for each point of sailing and wind strength. (Can't easily do that if there's a lot of wind).
Wednesday had a smaller turnout than usual, just myself and Arthur in a gusty rather shifty wind. It again showed how small the gaps are on handicap - first three (RS600, RS400, Solo) separated by less than 30 seconds on handicap, and 2nd/3rd by only 2 seconds. 2 seconds - that's one bad tack... 2 seconds late at the start.. one bad mark rounding etc. Making each manoeuvre just that fraction smoother and more efficient really adds up over the race.
I hope everyone is planning to come to our Open Meeting on 11 July - note that we have a reduced entrance fee for advance entries - form's on the web site. (£8 rather than £10). I'm sure it will help catering if I can give an estimate of numbers.