Saturday morning dawn is hidden in a fog and we are on our way to Northampton to compete in an area Championship. Sailing may have stopped at Snettisham but not elsewhere and so those desperate for a sail trail the 80 miles in fog across fens and hills to a tideless puddle of rainwater collecting in the hills of Northamton. Actuallly it's qute a nice place for a pond, and not a bad size.
Racing there was fun but it certainly put some perspective to my own abilities! Just about the best sailors in the National Enterprise fleet were there and boy! can they sail or what! There were 25 boats altogether with some from Cornwall and Scotland and hardly an old sail or old boat in sight, in fact mine was the 3rd oldest.
I'm not used to sailing on fresh water and on such restricted water at that and I didn't really get the hang of it. Although the reservoir is not particularly small the race officer only used one end and it seemed very cramped and it was very hard to get clear air. At least on the sea you can normally bang the corners until you get clear air, even in a big fleet but not on this puddle. This made the beats very challanging and the relatively short legs meant that the reaches were a procession and although the runs were more interesting it was not easy to get clear air and make a good course to the next mark. The first race was a real shock! I had the most appaling start and struggled to make sense of everything, it didn't help that the race officer moved the windward mark from where it had origonally been, I was wondering why everyone was over at one side of the course!
I did get one good start, 5th at the first mark and I managed to hold off the pack until the end of the first lap and then it all went to pieces and by the end of the second lap I was 5th from last!
We were fairly consistant in our finishing positions with a 21st as our discard and an 19th as our best. The thing that encourages me is that the chap who finished 20th regualrly does well in open meetings so even though I was so far from the front I was still in good company!
The results are published on Northampton SC website http://www.northamptonsailingclub.org/results/OpenResults2006/EnterpriseMidlandChamps2006results.htm with some pictures: http://www.northamptonsailingclub.org/galleries/Enterprise%20Midland%20Champs%202006/index.html
I found one were we can just be seen on the layline for the winward mark, our bows obscured by the mark :
An altogether humbling experiance and bloody good fun!
We have one other possible event before the end of our sailing, the 29th October at Rollesby Broad SC has an open meeting! So depending on the weather we may be trailing to the other side of Norfolk at the end of the month!
Then it will be back to boat work for the winter and this year I am planning on redecking Poppycock. Watch this space for further news!