HAPPY NEW YEAR
I hope you got all the sailing goodies you wanted for Christmas and are now eagerly awaiting the new series to try them all out...
Although there was no sailing last weekend I thought that a reflection on the year would be good. The fleet remains in good shape with an encouraging number of new members - we said goodbye to Arthur and Dave Strachan who moved to other parts of the country and sadly due to ill health Peter Bolster, Melanie Harman, most recently Robin Pryke – we hope to see you all at the club from time to time even if you can’t sail. Old friends are always welcome at the club even if not sailing any more. We (Solo fleet) seem to monopolise the warm comfy corner of the clubhouse so you will always know where to find us! My apologies if I have missed anyone out, but this year we have welcomed Paul Playle, CJ (time you got on the water again), Richard Barker, Ben Jones, Roy Poole and to new to racing (although he sailed with us last year) Peter Renn and I know there several more people looking to join us.
Looking back on the year I’m convinced that the fleet is getting stronger and quicker – I know I see close races most weeks and I’m sure the overall standard is improving. I’d really love to see 10 boats on the water most weeks – obviously sometimes the conditions are not suitable, but with the fleet growing we should all be able to have good races – whether that’s at the front or back of the fleet – the middle is always closely contested. The back is starting to push the middle and the middle pushing the front. We will have a few new boats on the water during the year which will let us all see the latest thinking. While sometimes I think it would be interesting to have a competition where no gear adjustments are allowed (like a single club competition in golf) sometimes we can get too hung up about the gear and forget to sail the boat. I know I’m sometimes guilty of trying to tweak the strings for the perfect sail set when I should be concentrating on sailing the boat – it’s easy to lose more while you fiddle with settings than you will gain by getting them just right.
As someone said “the more I practice the luckier I get”. You can structure some practice – before the start I always make several tacks to get in the groove for the wind conditions. Smoothness is important so that you always make clean accurate tacks, but time on the water making sure you set the sails well and watch the water is so important. Practice really does help – I’ve been sailing for about 50 years (yes I know some of you have done even more) but I’m still leaning things all the time. Practice and think about what went right (why did you make that gain) or what went wrong (could I have foreseen that shift or what that boat would do).
New year’s resolutions
Last year I wrote:
1. I will make the effort to be on the water 10 minutes before the gun to see what the wind is doing.
2. I will be on the line on the gun so I start with clear wind (even if I’m not in the perfect place)
3. I will keep the boat flat in gusts rather than letting it heel before I react
4. I will plan my mark rounding especially the leeward mark to start wider and end up really close to the mark fully sheeted in
5. I will gybe cleanly without falling in (even when there are no spectators) – That’s one for me because twice now I’ve gybed perfectly by the club-house each round but fallen over out of site over by mark 4.
6. I will get on the water whenever the conditions are suitable
7. I will make sure all the gear works well on my boat – especially having a sensitive wind indicator for light weather. (It can be any type but it must be balanced so it reads true even when the boat heels).
8. I will wait a few seconds to be sure the wind has really shifted before I tack
So, how did I do, and which resolutions did you make! Here’s my sailing resolutions for this year...
1. I will sail lots of races (might as well start with the easy ones)
2. I will be on the water early so I can get properly ready for the start (Sports people spend time warming up – we have to do the same or we are not really ready for the start)
3. I will be ON THE LINE ON THE GUN (I usually manage that one)
4. I will be sailing fast when the gun goes (I’m not as good at this one – something I will be working on)
5. I will do a few more open meetings to publicise our great club
6. I will help out more on Tues evenings to encourage new sailors
What are your resolutions?
See you soon