We’re back! Sorry for the break but holiday got in the way! (Norway since you asked and it was fantastic).
I’m sure you all know this by now, but the o-league scoring means you get one point for each race you start, plus one point for each boat you beat that is within the ‘O factor’ in the overall points. This means that sailing more really helps your score, but equally no-one can get so far ahead that they can’t be caught. For example Mervyn has got off to a flyer in the series, but he’s now on 26 points so he only score points for beating people within 20 points – ie below 6.
This week CJ (Cavallari) benefitted from borrowing Paul’s boat while Paul was on duty. As we all know the club boats are great for learning but they are not really competitive. We have a lot more boats on the bank than we get regularly sailing – CJ wonders if anyone who can’t sail at the moment for whatever reason would be willing to lend/loan/hire a boat to him (details can be worked out between you). His budget is very constrained but he’s showing us that he is a good sailor. Of course I would rather you all sailed, but sometimes I know you can’t. email@example.com – Please let him know if you can help.
Anyway, this week was Anniversary Series so we had second start after the fast guys and gals. Seven solos for a summer race is not bad, would like to see if getting back to double figures but in peak holiday season it is encouraging. I see last week we had Robin back – hope not too stiff and no ill effects after the long enforced layoff, this week Mike Lipscombe and Dave Lawton did their first Sunday of the series. We’ve also been getting some good Solo turnouts on Saturdays – I’d like to see more of the new (Tues sailors) start using the Saturday series to try racing. Saturdays are generally fairly small fleets and relatively short races so they are an ideal introduction.
In the Anniversary race the first beat was closely contested by Gareth, CJ and Malcolm with Gareth using the shifts up the middle to work through after initially crossing behind both CJ and Malcolm, with Dave Lawton and Mervyn not far behind. Not sure where Mike and Dave C were at the start/first beat, I was too busy trying to work through Dave L, CJ and Malcolm. I remember behind slightly ahead and to leeward of Dave L and being worried that I wasn’t far enough ahead to tack so I was watching quite closely. At that point the wind was a bit stronger and gusting a shade more. I was concentrating on making enough space to allow a tack when needed. The maxim here is ‘Flat is Fast’, ‘Fast is High’ meaning that keeping the boat flat and driving is critical – allow a gust to heel you over and you have to pull on the tiller to hold course which slows you down. Flat is fast... Then fast is high because if you slow down the centreboard doesn’t work as well and the boat slews off sideways, so by going faster you end up seeming to point higher because you don’t go sideways. I literally recite it to myself sometimes – if you’re close you might hear me vocalising Get it Flat, Flat is fast. How do I keep it flat – well of course that is a combination of; Lean out, Ease sheets briefly as a gust strikes, Luff slightly as the gust strikes. Then if necessary alter the sail to match the sail power with my leaning out – if overpowered add Cunningham, Ease traveller, Increase sheet tension and kicker (to bend mast more and flatten top of the sail) and raise centreboard to keep the boat balanced. (Once overpowered centreboard goes to trailing edge vertical or when really windy raise more until maybe only ¾ down. The key is to react quickly because then you make small adjustments, wait till the boat heels too much and you have to make big corrections.
By the end of the first beat I had got a small gap from (I think in order) CJ, Malcolm followed by Mervyn and Dave L (not sure of the order there). CJ and Malcolm continued to have a dog fight for most of the race not noticing Mervyn taking both of them I think up the second beat. Thereafter Gareth eased away followed by Mervyn while CJ and Malcolm remained locked. At the very last mark it looked as if Malcolm had sneaked ahead only to try and make the final ‘I’ve got you trapped’ tack a bit too vigorously (and there were some sneaky gusts near the windward shore as I found out later) to take a quick dip and let CJ through again.
Lunchtime it was my turn to get the windward shore gusts. I was just getting the sail up on the end of the club pontoon when a wind shift filled the sail and I was trapped between the kicker and the shroud. With no centreboard down I was sure the boat would just swing, but no, over she came on top of me and rapidly turned turtle as I had no centreboard to pull, then of course the mast wrapped round the pontoon anchor lines... So, upside down boat, no centreboard down (couldn’t get fingers in slow enough to pull it) and mast on the pontoon anchor! Tricky things these boats and wind shifts. Anyway I was able to float the boat back out from the pontoon to the end of the painter away from the anchor lines and bring it in again on the end of the pontoon between the lines, hop onto it and drift out clear again, pull it horizontal by standing on the gunwhale with fingers in the plate slot, then swim round and pull the plate down, swim back round and finally right her! Then rescue my sponge and head off to the start – was only about 20 seconds late! Overall I lost my cap in a gybe in the morning, and my gloves and wind indicator in the capsize. Think I need to practice and not go on holidayJ
Finally we’re having a ‘fun race’ to round off the Wed evenings. The series is over but we couldn’t resist just one more short race. All welcome.