Three races Sunday – different first Solo in each. When did THAT last happen? The standard in the fleet is definitely hotting up.
In the morning race Mark showed us why in very light weather it is much more important to find wind than direction. While most of us were struggling up the shifts he took the strategic option seeing some wind over the far side and just went for it. The result was that he took almost half a leg from the rest of us on the first beat. Down the order there were some good scraps going on, initially Gareth and CJ but as the race went on Gareth broke free from the pack but couldn’t get close enough to Mark. Meanwhile Peter Cottrell wasn’t letting CJ get away and reeled him in finish third Solo.
Full results on the Web site.
In the back to backs Gareth got away cleanly in the first with a pin end start and tack to cross the fleet just maintaining a gap to break away on the downwind legs. With the course just being a triangle it looked like asymmetric heaven but only Jamie Curtis sailing a 200 for a change took full advantage (beating his father in the 300 on the water!).
The course was then radically changed (still a triangle but instead of 5,1,9 it was changed to 3, 2, 9). This gave an unusual beat from 9 to 3 (rare wind direction). CJ took the left while I took the right. I had expected the wind to be light on the left and stronger in the middle – how wrong could I be. Half way up the beat it looked good, but the second half of the beat brought all the boats from left in. Downwind I worked past CJ but on the next beat the same thing happened. I didn’t go far right, just enough to keep my air clear from the boats in front – which by the way included Chris in the Streaker who had an amazing first lap. CJ however tacked straight round 9, disappeared off to leeward progressively being headed but on the second half of the leg again came past us all. I think there was a consistent bend in the wind that I just didn’t see. Hats off to CJ who took full advantage. With a wind bend you have to take the heading tack first and stay on it – very confusing because it is the opposite to shifts where you tack on a header – because shifts you expect to shift back – bends don’t come back so you sail right on into the gradual header before tacling and then being steadily lifted. Inland we tend to get too used to shifty conditions (tack the headers) and not sail wind bends as well. With a bend you have to take the pain of the progressive header to then get the gain of the progressive lift after you tack. (You also have to tack before the lay line because you expect to be gradually lifted after the tack – wait for a lay line and you find yourself over-standing the mark as the wind lifts. In bends (or tides as Paul discovered at Salcombe) the strategic direction matters more than short term shifts.
Sunday is the SUMMER SPECIAL – time for the masters and veterans – but also great racing for those who aren’t old enough to be called a master yet.
Always a good tussle with the age adjusted handicaps – somewhat like the personal handicaps but finer tuning with the age translated into handicap. As the ‘senior fleet’ we are usually well represented in the vets.
Hey – the sun is actually shining this morning (Wed) and the forecast for the evening looks good. Yesterday in the TrySail we had four solos out (Three club boats and Chris Smith’s boat) . The forecast for tonight looks good.
Still time to practice before our open meeting on the 30th.
See you on the water