Wednesday, September 04, 2013

SI = Something Interesting to read? Opps!

There was this moment just after we rounded the starboard gate mark and set off on the next beat, when  I realised that the boat behind us was heading for the finishing line and I was completely unsure what to do. We had been racing for about 35 minutes, surely the race would be longer than 35 minutes? Ahead of me was the race leader and below me was the boat who rounded ahead of me and I was at a loss as to what to do. Do I break away and head for the line or do I press on after the race leader? I shouted to the boat below me and asked what he thought. "I've seen no shortened course flag" was the reply. So we pressed on and finished 8th. We could have won the race if I had fully understood the racing instructions and knew which flag was ours and checked exactly how many times we were due to sail through the gate (and not the number of laps which was the mistake the leader made). To some extent the error was caused by sailing instructions that were quite different from any others I had sailed to but there is no doubt that the failure to understand was entirely mine. Another lesson learnt? Well I might just learn from it. I've been reading an RYA book on Race Training by Jim Saltonstall in which he refers to the 5 P's : Poor Preparation Produces Poor Performance. Its clear to me that being familiar with the sailing instructions means giving them a lot more than a cursory glance through as you head to race area. There is little point in having the quickest boat and the slickest teamwork (not that I have either) if you miss a mark or fail to complete the course. But twice in the space of a week I have made that kind of mistake. At the Southern Areas Championships it cost us first place overall. In the end we were 5th having to count the 8th and a 3rd. But 5th is still good I guess. But it could have been 1st place.

The course card from the sailing instructions

I have to say that it is a bit disappointing to travel to Poole to participate in the Albacore Southern Area Championships and discover that we have only 4 races, two of which were only 35 minutes duration and 2 of which could not be sailed for lack of wind even though the other side of the harbour had plenty of sea breeze and we could have raced there. Its a lot of expense for such a measly offering. I'm not sure I would bother again. What really made the weekend was the excellent social side of the event. 

Whilst I recognise that many ROs are volunteers and its not an easy job, I do hope that when the National championships are sailed there next year that the organisation of the races does justice to the nature of the event. After all it is a bit more than a local club's Sunday race around the cans. 

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