That was more like it! Sunshine and reasonable winds – and we had eleven Solos on the water with 10 racing.
Before I forget – a date for your diary – we (Solo Fleet) are on duty for the RS200 Open Meeting on SATURDAY 23 MARCH. There’s usually quite a good turnout and some great racing to watch but we need a good turnout to man the safety, galley, winch etc. Please let know that you are available, and any preferences on jobs. If you can only manage part of the day let me know and we will try to schedule around that.
Although the wind wasn’t too strong it did have plenty of shifts to catch out the unwary – an apparently simple course – just a rectangle 4,3,1 F but with the shifting winds that beat was anything but simple. Before the start I had been looking at the line and it was very port end biased – it was almost a beat to get down the line before the first start, but by the time we were starting it had shifted to even or perhaps slightly starboard. Because it seemed like a gradual wind change my thought was that I should start on the tack that was gradually being headed so that I would then tack onto the lifting tack before the lay and get lifted all the way to the mark. That’s why I started nearer the starboard end and tacked early heading out and not worrying about being slightly headed because I reckoned I would make it all back and more after I returned to starboard. It did sort of work in that I was finally able to cross Paul and Roy who had gone left but I’m not convinced that I really gained. When I first tacked it looked as if both Paul and Roy would cross me but as predicted I was gradually lifted until I crossed just ahead of Roy. It did seem though that going left had paid for them and Roy further left had gained on Paul.
Round the first mark it was very close. Gareth just ahead of Roy and Paul with the rest of the fleet in close attendance. Down the run I managed to catch a puff and ride it long and low (bearing away in the puff to ride it downwind staying in the gust) and pull out a bit of a lead. Paul pulled through to second but I didn’t see what was happening further back. - I did see Frank apparently a leg ahead - still not sure if he skipped a mark or started on the wrong start – we decided in the end that in either case he effectively sailed the course but one lap down so we have given him a finish – he did sail the race after all and it was a lovely sail so he deserves a result.
On the second lap I again went more right this time and it definitely didn’t pay. It felt OK to start with but then I ran into a dead patch and by the time I got back to the left I barely crossed Paul. From then on I switched strategy to going more left but working the shifts rather than looking for a strategic left or right. The shifts were big enough that with good tacks I could gain much more than looking for a major long left or right and it was easier to keep an eye on Paul.
1. Gareth G
2. Paul P
3. Roy P
4. Tony P
5. Peter C
7. Dave C
8. Mike L
9. Ian P
10. Frank B
and cruising getting used to the boat John Carpenter.
For the personal handicap (which will award the Gerry Winder cup) I’m deciding on a week by week basis if the weather is suitable for mass participation and so only counting those weeks ‘when it makes sense’. That made this the second race of the personal series. The handicaps are based off the 5% bands used in the Anniversary and Wed evening at least to start with. These have Gareth and Paul off scratch with others in band 1,2,3,4 or 5 getting a 5, 10,… up to 25% time bonus. Whoever wins the personal (and it isn’t open to anyone on scratch – their results are just to give a benchmark) will get the cup for a season and will be promoted to the next band. I haven’t figured out if any relegation needed yet. (Probably if you finish in the bottom quarter I’ll consider it but this is a bit of fun and still a work in progress – I suspect it will get more cut-throat towards the end of the season...)
The results so far are on the web site. Dave winning from Roy...
Dave is in danger of promotion from band 3 if he keeps this up (Ian - note that only a couple of years ago Dave was where you are now in band 5 but he isn’t a band 5 now, or even band 4 - he’s a solid band 3 and getting close to band 2) – overall Roy in Band 2 is leading (he could be Band 1 next season joining Tony and Mike).
Ian – these should give you some idea for how you are improving. If you assume that whoever wins the scratch race is your benchmark and the races are about the same length you can see how your relative time is doing more easily on the Personal results. You definitely looked a lot closer this week. From where I saw you before the start (keeping out of trouble near the shore) I suspect that you probably didn’t cross the start a minute after the gun – That minute is almost all you need to start moving up the leader board in band 5. What’s more, looking at the first of the B2B races you were only seconds off claiming your first victim on standard handicap. I expect that you will soon be moving up the personal leader boardJ
This week’s tip
– START ON THE LINE! Before the start don’t get directly behind the start line – if you are downwind of the line it’s really hard to cross the line and you might even have to tack to get there. I know it’s scary with all the top guns vying for position on the line, but don’t be behind the line where they are blocking all your wind. Aim with a minute to go be on the extension of the line out to the right (starboard, usually committee boat, end). Be being beyond the line it is a reach – cross wind to get to the line. You can easily slow down – let the sail out – or accelerate by setting the sail and you can easily point a bit higher or lower. In short you can alter course in any direction and speed up or slow down. It is also fast point of sailing to get to the line if you are a bit late. The idea is to sail slowly along the line until just before the gun when you sheet in, accelerate and point up to close hauled. Aim to be right on the line perhaps half way down when the gun actually goes, but if you want to hang back a fraction and come if just after the gun doing it from the side makes it very quick to get to the line and then you can sheet right in and start beating as soon as you are on the line.
Once we get Saturdays and Tues evenings we can start doing some start practices – sailing slowing across the wind and then with 10 seconds or so to go sheet in and accelerate and start beating as the gun goes. The only thing you have to watch is that you can’t barge in round the committee boat if there is someone already there (he’ll be to leeward of you with right of way). That’s why to start with aim at being half way down the line – you won’t be in the perfect spot but you will be in clear air and probably with not many boats near you – they will tend to be clustered one end or the other.
The right of way rules are simple – if a boat is to leeward of you (downwind, further behind the line) he has right of way - he can push you up – you may hear shouts of ‘up’ or ‘Windward boat’. If that’s you being pushed you have to sheet in and keep clear. Keep looking out – you can accelerate down the line to get clear, you can point up and slow down to keep clear. If it takes you over the line you just have to dip back the right side again (that’s still much better than being way below the line). You might be able to speed up or slow down to keep clear. Just be on the line – we all know who the hot shots are and we will probably give you extra room and explain the details in the bar afterwards – we’ve all been there – it seems scary at first but we’d rather see you ON the line and learning to get involved than holding back and definitely starting late.
Let’s hope for a few more ‘spring-like’ days like Sunday