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Solo News 22 Nov


    4859  Gareth Griffiths
    4048  Arthur Philips
    Racers 2 but turnout 6
    Eddie writes
    Sunday's date with fate !
    Once again the weather forecast proved correct and more.  And once again blowing great guns with knobs on.  6 stalwarts ventured to put their boats on the water in the worsening conditions.  The sky blackened and the wind increased to such an extent that the lights in the clubhouse were switched on and buoyancy aids made compulsory wearing indoors and outdoors.  From the comparative safety of the clubhouse it was noted that 3 Solos in the vicinity of the pontoons were practicing their launching and retrieving , not discussed before in the pages of the Solo News. Peter Renn [bless him] was out in the thick of it practicing once again capsize drill to perfect his technique.
    Only 2 Solo starters and to their credit, so they say, didn't even get their feet wet although there was some distance between them at the finish.
    At one stage during the race it looked like the beaches of Dunkirk [so Mervyn tells me] with bits of crew and boats strewn over vast areas of the reservoir but thankfully no injuries suffered.
    At precisely 1124 hrs the eye of the storm hit and yours truly, along with a witness, saw the needle of the wind indicator flick into Force 10,  never before seen at this venue.  Thankfully no boats were on water even Peter had finished his drill
    Its times like this that brings out the community spirit in the clubhouse.  All those little jobs that need doing but never got done now are being fought over like there is no tomorrow so the new blinds were put up over the windows and one Christmas decoration hung.  Well done Peter and Merv
    But well done everybody including the tipplers at the bar.
    Well it certainly was pretty windy – as I was pulling the boat out it got blown off its launching trolley as we were going up the ramp – no major damage but some gel coat repairs required. I had the boat booked in to have some other jobs done so hopefully I can get the gunwhales cleaned up and scratches/chips removed. I know boat builders have a similar reputation to builders and plumbers (hope no-one is offended) so I may be boat-less this weekend if the repairs and jobs are not complete – if so I’ll try to borrow a club boat and see what happens.
    Last week I commented on the key nature of starting right on the line – especially since last week I was guilty of getting my timing wrong in the first race and several boat lengths late. Mike Jones from the race officers view made the following observation on last week’s race where we had a large fleet (I have edited slightly):
    Mike Jones writes:
    All the solos in all 3 races were very line shy.
    It appeared they did not know what part of committee boat was the actual end of line.
    It is the orange mast, as I am sure you know, which is near the front of the boat.
    My guess (I was on line) is they were all behind a line from stern engine to ODM.
    If you say winning the start is 60% of race, or whatever, then that’s a big give away.
    I think Jim shouted to the Solos an ironic 'All very clear' on the first race.   (Mike said that annoyed him a little but I think it was directed more at me because Jim helped me with our race training earlier in the season – I felt I deserved it - Gareth).
    Kevin Pearson does the classic coach's start in his Laser.
    He checks the transit very carefully from the extended line
    He stands up to view ODM over Committee boat.
    He checks the line bias several times as it varies with the shifts.
    He decides where to start.
    He is right on line, almost stationary with 12 seconds to go. (Perhaps this not possible with full length battens in a Solo??) I think it takes a Solo slightly longer to get up to speed and it is slightly harder to stop, but you can go very slowly.
    I always expect him to go over, but his transit checks pay dividends and he always stays clean, by 300 mm max on outer part of his life jacket.
    At 10 seconds he accelerates At 3 seconds he is near max speed.
    He luffs on the gun.
    He did this identically 3 times. Very impressive.  
    Would be interesting to see how good he is with no transit (ie at sea)
    Thanks Mike – I’m always looking for observations for the Blog – if you see something interesting let me know - I think Mike’s right, we are probably all a bit line shy unless we are aiming for right at the committee boat or distance mark. Getting a good transit it very useful, although I’m always a bit wary that the committee boat swings a bit in shifts. Checking the bias many times to see how the wind is shifting is key to knowing which way to go after the start.
    Here’s hoping for a nice force 2-3 this week.