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Solo News 3 Jan 2010


    1  4048 Arthur Phillips
    2  4859 Gareth Griffiths
    3  5071 Malcolm Barnes
    4  3457 Mervyn Cinnamond
    5  3854 Martin Mitchell
    6  3649 Robin Pryke
    7  3365 Frank Beanland
    8  3861 Dave Clarke
    Peter Cottrell OOD
    Eddie writes:
    A good turnout of 8
    A clear crisp day with brilliant sunshine low down in the winter sky which made for a perfect day's sailing although  weather insulation had to be made paramount with Jack Frost nipping at your extremities.   Even I ventured out armed with a foot pump to fine tune my trolley wheels. Must remember to occasionally to look under my boat cover to check for anything brewing.  It is known that ice on the cover  in contact with the boat will lift varnish. This sailing lark is not as easy as I thought.
    As you can see from the above results Arthur triumphed over the boy Gareth by, no doubt, superior sailing with Malcolm in his new plastic flyer a close 3rd.I did bump into Arthur later and he did seem several inches taller with a hint [ I may be wrong ] of a smug smile. There were reports of ungentlemanly conduct rounding buoys etc when opponents were stuffed, sorry luffed, aside. It was heard after the race that Robin misunderstood the new year's resolution of getting to the start line ten minutes before the start.
    Stalwart of the day goes to Peter Cottrell on the duty team who was multitasking inside and outside the clubhouse and was still hard at it when I left.
    Well done all of you.
    New year’s resolution (again) ... I WILL be on the water (and away from the pontoon) 10 minutes before the start ... 
    (You know who you are… As the song goes “a little less talk a little more action” before the race).
    I think the 60 minute pursuit worked well, long enough for positions to settle within fleets but not so long we got cold or tired.
    This week we had a rather shifty NE wind – I set the boat up for very light weather – mast more upright, forestay tighter (shrouds still slack – in fact I let them off a notch from the heavy setting). I also switched to my stern sheeting system which aims to keep the middle of the boat clear to make tacking easier. The wind however had other ideas and came up a bit more so I was in two minds whether to sheet from the boom (light weather mode) or switch to using the main jammer to increase the down force and be able to use the jammer. The results was a rather confused helm who kept making mistakes and bad tacks.
    In the Solos there was a lot of place changing between Gareth, Arthur and Malcolm at the front with Gareth leading for the first lap but Arthur showing good speed upwind getting through. Positions remained very close with lots of downwind keeping clear air and upwind covering. In the end Arthur got away to a clear lead with Gareth chasing hard – both stayed ahead of the chasing pack to claim first and second in the pursuit.
    In the overall winter standings O league it is very close with only one point separating Gareth and Arthur, but with lots of races to sail and the O-League scoring system there is still plenty of time for anyone to make an impact.
    In the Back to Back races again there was lots of place changing in the shifts with Gareth sneaking through on the last leg in both races, from Malcolm in the first and Arthur in the second. In shifty conditions you have to concentrate all the time. A seemingly comfortable lead can be eroded very quickly downwind by a gust coming from behind.
    So, what’s the idea with the stern sheeting.  The theory is that with the boom sheeting from the centre of the transom it is easier to have the boom close in but relatively little down force from the sheet (plenty of twist) for very light airs. At the same time I usually find I want to sit right where the traveler goes so this avoids that and I can keep the centre of the boat clear. In light conditions I take the sheet from the boom rather than through the jammer. I’m convinced by the system for very light conditions (like the team pursuit last year), what I’m trying to do now is see how much wind I can make it work in. Is it only good for drifters, or can it be competitive in light medium conditions? As they say the jury’s still out. It is also very easy to get the sheet tangled in your buoyancy aid as you tack where it loops down from the boom - I probably need to do something about that.
    Next week I will be away on business so the results may be slightly delayed. The web site now has the overall O-League as well as the late winter short series.
    The next in our Open series is in two weeks on the 17th. If you haven’t come down recently that could be a good weekend for a sail.
    Something I would like us all to think about is how we can encourage our newer members. It’s a big jump from Tuesday evening sailing to Sunday racing.  – I’m looking for input… Malcolm has suggested that perhaps we should have a more official mentoring scheme to help new Solo sailors more quickly get to grips with their new boats. I certainly plan to have another ‘Buddy race’ where we pair off more experienced (faster) sailors with newer sailors – only the back boat of the pair counts so the idea is that the experienced sailor spends most time coaching (or perhaps covering an opponent).  Encouraging attendance and technique thoughts have always been an aim for these notes – how can we improve?
    I think we need to get through January with its colder short days but I’m looking for more ideas. What would you like to see? Should we devote the first week of every series as a buddy race training day? Should we try and setup a more formal mentoring scheme to supplement the informal work we do now?

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