Very late ‘news’ this week what with the Jubilee and all that –Didn’t all those boats on the Thames look great – and we think a start line with ten boats on it is getting crowded...
From the actual racing not a whole lot to report other than how nice it is to see Tony T back on the water and his family enjoying themselves.
On Sunday we just had Gareth, Peter C and Mervyn (in that order) out with CJ and Dave C on duty with a small fleet for the pursuit race.
(We also had four out on Saturday which was great to see – I was on duty)
On Wed we had four Solos out with Roy, Tony, CJ and me having a nice little battle. The start was slightly more competitive than was really good for us. To me it looked like a port end start – not a lot in it but for the first lap I’d planned to go port end and left, wait for a header and more wind – looked stronger in the middle and then tack. As the famous saying goes “"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" coming down the line I had CJ looking to roll over me so I pushed him hard up (taking both of us over the line) with the aim of then ducking back the right side, harden up and start near the pin. That was all well and good except I hadn’t spotted Roy was coming up from leeward so I couldn’t just duck. I had to accelerate past Roy before I could duck, but then I was too far down the line and couldn’t get the brakes on it time to not be over. So I went round the pin, Roy had stayed low to avoid going over the line but he now couldn’t make the pin so was also peeling round, CJ hadn’t managed to duck back and was also gyrating. Net results was that Tony, the N12 and Albacore were away and gone and the only route for clear air was to go right. CJ was keeping loose cover on me and we were both trying to get back in touch with the leaders. My plan looked sound – going left the leaders seemed to have gained on us. By the windward mark the order was still Albacore, N12, Tony, CJ, Gareth, Roy but for some reason the Albacore and N12 didn’t bear away enough to head for ‘A’ giving us a chance to cut the corner and reduce the gap. Tony did bear right away, CJ hesitated, I bore away immediately (I had sailed most of a lap before the start to see the angles on each leg). This closed all the gaps up so at the end of the run the Albacore led by a whisker from the N12 with Tony I think having to give water. I’d got water on CJ and was able to make a really tight rounding pretty much stopping the 12 or Tony from tacking while keeping in clear air. The Albacore was pointing well and starting to affect the 12 and Tony. With a couple of good shifts I was able to sneak past the 12 and Tony. CJ and Tony though remained within a few lengths for the rest of the race while I tried to stay close enough to the 12 and Albacore. CJ and Tony had a really great tussle (CJ finally prevailed by just 4 seconds) – as Tony said in the changing room he thinks he’ll have sore muscles that he didn’t know existed. CJ was complaining to me – “Tony just doesn’t make any mistakes and seems to know the shifts”. (I explained that Tony is a returning long time IBRSC sailor, long time Solo and former Commodore so not surprising he seems comfortable here) I hope and expect this battle to continue through the series.
I guess the key points from the race are ‘know the course and the angles round the marks’, ‘make really tight mark roundups especially at the start of a beat’, and ‘don’t be over the line at the start’. Mind you many experts say that if you aren’t over the line occasionally you aren’t starting close enough to the line. What I am very pleased with was the good rule knowledge and boat handling round the start. Three of us got it wrong – I have some sympathy for Roy – I think he inadvertently got caught up in my battle with CJ but all quickly realised what had happened and spun gybed and recovered. Probably the most competitive start we’ve had for a while.
After today’s gales and a strong forecast for Saturday the wind looks to be lighter on Sunday.
Not long now till our Open on June 30. I hope you will all be there so we can get a really good turnout. Sadly this year I can’t make it but CJ will be flying the flag in my boat. The schedule as always is one race in the morning at 11, then a break for lunch and two races in the afternoon. This means that if you find two races back to back a struggle you can do the morning, and just one in the afternoon and still qualify or you can sneakily tale a longer lunch break and re-join for the last race because a few people always give up in the last race.