Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mixed feelings

Saturday 23rd, 6am: Do I really want to get up?
6:30am: Fog? is it worth the drive?
7:15am: Is there anybody else at the beach?
7:30am : The breeze is good, the sun is breaking through what is left of the mist, the tide is high and the sea is calm and yes there are some others to race with! Yes it was worth it!

The three of us did a running start to the leeward mark followed by a beat to the windward mark, two reaches out and back to the wing mark and finishing of a final beat. The beats were interesting, the shifts were there and on top of that there seemed to be a persistant shift favouring the left hand side. The current was ebbing and the direction was such that the port tack was leebowed slightly giving an extra lift to that tack.

So put all these into the hat and it was hard to choose the best course. In the end I choose the starboard tack into the persistant shift and it seemed to pay. On the second beat Steve tried the port tack out to the right hand side but I don't think he gained anything by it. I think the problem is that whist the tidal flow is not even across the area he didn't get enough of an advantage from the leebow to compensate for the bend in the wind. The result was that I won with Malcolm second and Steve third.

Race two was another running start and I was last to the leeward mark, I tried sailing high to compensate for the stronger current near the mark but I think I over did it. We rounded the mark well going wide and gybing round onto the beat coming in tight to the mark and got inside Malcolm so I was well pleased with that.
I seemed to be going well and making upwind on Steve but he seemed to be preoccupied with a problem and it was strange how he didn't tack when he reached the layline. It turned out that he had collided with my eldest daughter, sailing a laser, resulting in his leeward shroud being sheered at the chainplate. Steve's mast was thus unsupported on the port side. No wonder he didn't tack! He sailed into the shore and dropped the mast in a controlled maner and was towed back to the beach by the rescue boat.
We decided to abondon the second race with the idea that Steve might need some help. By this time the tide was ebbing very fast and there wouldn't be much time left anway.
In some ways it spoilt the sail and I was left feeling a little disturbed and uneasy and a little annoyed, probably because it was my daughters fault (she had inadvertantly dropped the tiller and lost control of the boat) and I guess I felt somehow that it was my responsibility; however she is old enough to take responsibility for her own actions. I was impressed with Steve who delt with it in a very mature way; as he said, "Accidents happen. No one was hurt and that is the most important thing." What a guy! I'm not sure I would have been that calm about it.

I guess one thing that cheers me; (although it seems a little hollow and shallow in the light of the incident) I am now leading September points as I am the only one who has sailed all three races so far with a total of 5pts.
David, who was unable to race for lack of a crew, is still in contention with his two firsts so if he sails next week and gets a good result it will make it intertesting, assuming, of course that the great British weather is going to be reasonable and not wreck the last weekend of racing of the season.
I am writing this having raced today (Sunday) for the Club Cup, a handicap race where I was the only Enterprise competing against 3 Dart16s, 2 Laser 2000, a Fireball and a Laser, but more on that later. Suffice to say that there was no fleet racing for Enterprises on this Sunday so the results of the Septemeber points all rest on next Saturday's racing.


Tillerman said...

What a vivid account! Love it. Especially that early morning feeling about gettting up to go racing - been there, done that.

Tim said...

Yeh its great when you get out on the water and is just so peaceful. No stupid jetskies wrecking the peace and making waves and just the odd walker on the beach and the flocks of knots and sanderling sweeping across the water like some small fluttering clouds that flip from black to silver with each change in direction. The soul leaps for joy and sense of stillness pervades. Yep it was worth it.