Week the Eighth

Well,  that was a strange evening''s weather. Or so it seemed to me anyway. *Very* gusty, and gusts with big shifts, a very fast onslaught and often dying away equally quickly. It was tricky out there folks... I''m not sure that everyone found it quite as nasty as I did, but it was certainly hard work. Actual wind strength, well I would have said it was force 2 gusting Force 5 and with quiet patches down in the F1 region. It was a northerly, and they are not usually that unstable, but grief, that one was... On the other hand it was a gloriously warm summer evening and even being pitched into the water by a 45 degree shift whilst tacking wouldn''t have been that unpleasant if it wasn''t for the effect on your race result...


Anyway, before we get onto the sailing, the evening started with a bit of required maintenance on the Fardon''s club RS200. There was desperate need of a main halyard, and I really don''t think the old one would have lasted. So Carl produced a new bit of rope, and a piece of whipping twine to join the ends to feed them through that was definitely over 15mm long. Myself, I''d have made it a bit longer so there could be multiple hitches but never mind. So in spite of taping over the join etc the join came apart before the new halyard made it down the tube. 45 minutes before the race. At that nightmare point things suddenly went right, and as halyard threading is such a pain I figure its worth documenting how we did it. Laser sailors and others with no interest in this can skip a couple of paragraphs...

The first thing that went right is that the new halyard was, of course, modern cored rope. With three strand forget it, this method isn''t going to work so the choice of rope is vital. Start by removing the spar from the boat and repair to the bank next to the winch road. Gravity is of course your friend. Now tie up the other halyards as tight as you possibly can so they are bar taut within the mast to reduce as far as possible the risk of getting the new string wound round another. Inspect the mast to figure out which end to start at. With a main halyard you almost certainly want to start at the base so the halyard comes out of the top. With any other halyard you probably do the same, but it will be much easier if you can remove the exit block so you can catch the rope with a bit of wire or something.

Take the halyard and stretch it out alongside the mast, and put a knot in that''s about 6 inches back from the amount of rope needed for the halyard to appear the other end. Put the mast on one shoulder so you have the halyard entrance at eye level (and more gravity), and run the new halyard over the other shoulder. Its essential that the halyard goes in straight and untwisted. Orient the mast so that there are the bare minimum of rivets in the line the halyard will slide in: normally with the side of the section downwards. Feed the rope in slowly and it will tend to stay straight: you can feel this. Continue gently and you will feel if the rope hits an obstruction, and you can pull it back an inch or two and retry, maybe turning the mast slightly to evade the rivet or whatever. When the knot appears near your hand you know the next obstruction will be the end fitting. Amazingly enough you will feel this through the rope with a new modern rope, and again you can slide it back and forward an inch a few times, and with a bit of gentle rotating at the mast a few degrees it will probably slip through. At this point your colleague at the far end should grab the rope with glee, thread it through the top block and immediately tie a knot...


The Race

Oh yes, this is a race report isn''t it... I fear there''s a limited amount of race I can report from upside down after copping a 45degree shift whilst attempting the first tack after the start... Course wise, it was complex, and probably interesting if you weren''t struggling with the gusts and shifts too much. Off the start, there was a shortish beat, a port rounding and then a fairly shy reach to the middle of the reservoir. Then a shortish and often very square run down to the downwind and and a starboard rounding to a close to fetch shy leg across to the other side of the pond. This was followed by a longer beat to the upwind end, and a very broad reach - probably requiring gybing for asymettric boats - back to the start. So we had, crudely speaking, a smallish triangle and a bigger sausage.

I know Gareth Griffiths (Solo) and Graham Potter (Albacore) were having a good old battle at the front of the slow fleet. I know, because I kept having to avoid them as triangle crossed sausage! The RS200s were well spread out in the tricky conditions: Carl Mayhew was the leader, and must have had a good on the water battle with Mike Storey (EPS) at the front of the fast fleet judging by the finish times. Amongst a slightly depleted looking Laser fleet (are they big Soccer fans) Kevin Pearson took an early lead and was obviously working very hard to get the best out of the boat and weather.


Results: Well Kevin Pearson took a well deserved win in his Laser, followed by Carl Mayhew (RS200), Gareth Griffiths (Solo), Mike Storey (EPS), John Smith (Laser) and Graham Potter (Albacore). Under the Personal Handicap Ian Hamilton wion in a Topaz Xenon (once I had sorted out which start they had started on!). Thereafter it was a Laser benefit - or rather Laser Factory benefit: John Smith 2nd, Dave Baldwin 3rd, John Magrath 4th, Mike Storey (LASER EPS) 5th and Kevin Pearson rounding out the top 6.

Series wise Mike Curtis took the lead in the scratch series: his 1.4 average points for running the race beat Carl''s 2 points for second place, and they are just 0.6 points apart. Gareth maintains third and Kevin''s win brings him up to 4th. In the personal handicap the subtleties of discard scoring put a slightly limping Alisdair Maclean ahead of Paul Playle, even though both scored (at least for now) discards tonight. Clare James retains third, but with a reduced margin from Dave Baldwin and John Magrath. See the full results for the detail. And then to supper: June Curtis stepped in this week to feed us pie and chips and beans and excellent and most welcome it was too. Spectacular sunset as well.