Overall some really good racing on a very cold day with a fairly shifty wind. We're starting to get some pretty decent competition in the mid-fleet with places changing significantly during and between races. I have to comment on Roy's excellent result and I think Dave Clarke’s best ever result. Mervyn claims his centreboard was frozen solid, I can definitely say that some parts of me were pretty cold by the end - the ice in and on the committee boat never melted. Also noteworthy results from Paul and Roy in the first B2B – 1st and 3rd on handicap.
Watching from the committee boat it all seems so easy... One observation that so nearly cost Dave a place - think about which end of the finish line is quickest to reach. Mike Lipscombe overtook Chris and so nearly got Dave by freeing off and aiming for the right side of the line rather than just beating as close to windward as he could (as on previous laps). The leg had become all but a beat, but the line was square to the leg so it was definitely quicker to reach the downwind end. It made sense to keep high to start with in case the wind headed, but with 100 yards to go Dave and Chris could have eased sheets for speed. Mike had eased early and sailed fast. Chris had the difficult call whether to try and sail high with Dave and maybe catch him, or to free off a bit and try to stop Mike sailing fast and low past. Similarly Dave knew that Chris was right just behind him so didn’t want to risk going low and finding he needed to tack at the end with Chris upwind so naturally he defended by staying high so that there was no way past for Chris. However once it was clear that they could make the line without tacking they should have eased sheets and gone for speed at least towards the middle of the line if not the leeward end. In the end Dave held on by about 18 inches with Mike clearly travelling faster crossing at the committee boat end. Whether to bear away depends on the angle of the line, but you should always think which end is quicker to reach.
I filmed a lot of boats at the end of the first leg and making their first tacks on the beat. If they look plausible I'll find somewhere to load them.
One thing I noticed was a few boats sailing with the leech very closed when fine reaching. It may be some sails simply won't open but Paul's sail looked much more open on the reaches and runs and he was going fast. Chris's sail looked fairly open on the runs so it may just be the North sails are good at that.
We’ll decide on Sat 4th training later in the week depending on the forecast. At the moment I’m assuming it is on unless the forecast is for below zero and no wind or excessive wind. At the moment it looks plausible is a bit chilly, but with a wind forecast to swing from SW first thing to E midday and then NE it could do anything. I don’t think we’ll really know till Wed or Thurs.