The dark days are passed, the winter is losing its grip. The summer breeze is calling, the echo of its voice resonates in my soul and I am drawn irrevocable to dance to its tune. All through the winter, the mere sight of open water captured my mind and I feel the breeze and the movement of the boat as she moves over the surface, responding to waves and currents. I respond to this call with a ritual of painting and varnishing, fitting and fettling until the moment comes.
This weekend the moment arrived, trailing to Middle Nene Sailing Club, near Thrapston, a mere 90 minute drive from home, to the Eastern area coaching day on the Saturday followed by an open meeting on the Sunday. The weather forecast didn't bode well, a winter backlash, but although cold the sun shone through, the winds were more moderate than expected (although we did get some 36kt gusts on Saturday afternoon!).
How good it is to go sailing. The Coaching was fun, lots of short races, lots of tacking, gybing and mark rounding. The changing condidtions meant lots of sail adjustment, lots of movement. As usual Mike Macnamara's teaching was very encouraging, informative and every time I go to one of these events I am reminded of things I know about and always pick up something new.
The Open meeting reinforced the need to keep you head outside the boat, watching for windshifts and gusts. Unfortunately Jo and I were to busy getting back into sailing and our team work lacked its usual smoothness. We had one really good race, second at the first mark and we managed to stay close to the leaders for at least one lap and then found ourselves enjoying real back and forth place changes in the middle fleet, I think we finished that race 7th. The other two races werer not so good. The last race we just seemed to tack on all the wrong shifts and found ourselves becalmed in our own personal windless hole whilst everyone sailed past us. The thing to learn was the need to get the sailing of the boat as natural as possible so that you can concentrate on keeping a lookout on what is happening to the wind and where other boats are and what they are doing.
Overall a great weekends sailing, really good fun. Jo got a prized for the 'Loudest screem' which she let out when we accidently gybed whilst I was trying to release the mainsheet from getting tangled around the rudder pin.
Overall we finished 12th out of 15.