Last Sunday’s results...
4859 Gareth Griffiths
4753 Tony Penfold
2042 Chris Smith
5046 Paul Playle
3174 Roy Poole
DNF 3861 Dave Clarke
OOD Malcolm, Mervyn, Peter H
Thank you to lots of people who offered me their boat while mine is being touched up prior to sale. I took up Alec’s offer as I had never sailed his boat. I have to say that it is a very nice boat. I dropped the forestay off a couple of holes – partly because I know Alec likes the boom a bit higher, but also the rig seemed a bit tight – I like the shrouds to be quite loose (helps get the boom a couple of inches further out on the run). The boom was still quite a bit higher than mine, but she seemed to go very well upwind, pointing high and going quite fast. I’m now puzzled – I had expected that less rake would not point as well. I did feel as if I had to play the mainsheet a bit more than usual but that was probably as much due to the very gusty wind as anything else. I had expected to be fast cross and downwind but struggle a bit upwind. The more I sail the more I realise there is a still a lot to learn!
Welcome to Peter Cruise who will be joining us in the spring.
Gusty Northerly (again) – what happened to prevailing SW winds. Sadly Dave capsized (tacking I think) – many thanks to Malcolm helping him in the safety boat. Gareth got away up the first beat and established a small cushion ahead of Paul, Chris and Tony. On the first run Paul did a spectacular weather roll capsize – can’t quite remember but I think he gybed then rolled – I know I was looking back and saw the bow go down and the boat ‘trip over’ wish we could have filmed it because I’d like to have seen the sail shape going in. I suspect too little kicker or too little centreboard to give stability. Normally my gybe routine is to drop a bit more plate (to about 1/3 down), sheet in an armful (so the boom doesn’t go right out to the shroud as it gybes) and gybe from maximum speed. Stop the turn as the boom goes over and then carefully ease sheet back out again and probably raise the board a shade more. In light weather I have the board right up on the run (but lower for the gybe) but it does make the boat very unstable, in a blow I leave some down and in survival conditions 1/4 – 1/3 down. Too much down and the boat ‘trips over’ the plate especially when you gybe because you get weather helm and can’t stop the broach after the gybe. Too little and its very easy to weather roll after the gybe and generally hard to steer. As always the key is having the boat balanced and travelling fast. If you are fighting to make the boat turn you are likely to get wet.
So Paul dropped back somewhat, then Tony P’s Cunningham came untied letting Chris past upwind. With the various trials and tribulations behind I got away. By the end Tony P had overhauled Chris (see following paragraph) I think because Chris didn’t sail the start of the last lap hard enough. At the finish Tony, Chris and Paul were fairly close, and Roy was within strike.
Some confusion over when we were to finish. The committee boat was on station at the end of the 3rd lap with a BLUE flag meaning on station – that is NOT shorten course – so if (big IF) you wrote down how many laps you would know that it was not the finish. I crossed at the opposite end to the Committee Boat heard no gun, couldn’t remember how many laps set so carried on. Feedback after the race was that most people were not sure. If not flying flag S (blue inside white) you still have to do all the laps. Problem for the committee boat was that the fast fleet were coming round again so they had to be on station, but didn’t want to shorten us there was still plenty of time for the 4th lap. (Probably they should have set 5 laps and then shortened just before the first boats they wanted to finish). Having the Blue flag up was valid, but would have been better to hoist it a bit later when they were actually finishing boats. As always making sure you know the course AND LAPS helps – if in doubt assume you are going on until proved otherwise. Personally as Race Officer I prefer to set too many laps and then shorten, no ambiguity over shorten course.
Malcolm commented to me afterwards that I looked more ‘bow down’ in Alec’s boat. I’m starting to suspect that in wooden boats you generally sit a bit further back because the bows are heavier (latest FRP has lightened the ends, particularly the bow) and the FRP boats generally have maximum correctors (lots of lead) on the back of the plate case. If I’m in Alec’s boat again this week (still waiting to hear if mine is ready) I’ll try to look harder at the trim – I know I wasn’t stern down because I do look at the flow round the stern through the flaps, but I may need to come back a bit off-wind. I felt as if I had the edge going upwind compared to Tony P, the same or marginally better on the run but Tony was definitely quicker than me on the reaches.
In the back to back races the order was Gareth, Paul Tony, then Gareth Tony Paul. On the last race I had a disaster at the start – Alec’s tiller extension is a lot shorter than mine and I tacked onto Starboard just before the start and I think I dislodged the elastic I had been using to centre the tiller. As I powered up I dropped the extension and the boat started a crash tack – not a good idea to crash tack onto port as you start... I grabbed the tiller and hauled the boat back round but had lost so much speed that I ended up in irons (stuck with no speed almost head to wind). I re-tied the elastic, got some way on again and started to chase – by now significantly behind Tony and Paul. Downwind the Feva flew his kite on the reach and sailed past all of us in a cloud of spray, but making big waves which allowed me to surf up to within strike of Paul and Tony. On the second beat I went left while Tony and Paul went right. I think I was gaining anyway, but I got a great shift that let me get right on Tony’s tail and allowed me to sneak by at the gybe mark and them defend on the downwind legs. In short races you can really see that every second counts – the first B2B with three different classes second and third tied with me one second behind on corrected time in fourth. I’m sure there were loads of places I could have gained (or not lost) one second... More practice needed – just 1/10 of a second better on every tack would have been enough.
Forecast looks like a nice breeze for Sunday, finally back in the SW so hopefully less shifty!