Wednesday 10th August 2011

I must admit to having throughly enjoyed this evenings race, and probably also to being completely biased, as you''ll see. Weather wise it was a fairly gusty and shifty breeze probably about the top of F3/bottom of F4, but there were some reasonably serious bands of more breeze coming in. Course was a bit unusual, maybe even controversial -  good length beat, a reasonable length reach which was probably smack on for the spinnaker boats, a run come very broad reach depending on what the wind did, and then, in place of a short reach back to the start a beam reach out to the side of the course, tack round a mark and then another back to the start... With the amount of wind about these reaches were really too close for the spinnaker boats to pay, but the two of us with high performance singlehanders were rather licking our lips...

An experiment going on was that Gareth Griffiths and Paul Wright-Anderson who are pretty much safe first and second in the series respectively had swapped boats so Gareth was in Paul''s Laser (with std Laser rig, not the big Rooster sail) and Paul was in Gareth''s Solo. I fear I didn''t see much of the other starts... at the fast boat start I was just planning to reach down behind and up underneath some unsuspecting soul when to my suprise a canoe sized gap opened up right by the committee boat so I went for the sails... for a second I thought I''d overcooked it but there was no second gun and I found myself at full speed in clear air and right at the starboard end of a starboard biased line. More luck, I fear, rather than skill.

Predictably Carl Mayhew (RS600) and I (IC) were second and first at the windward mark and Carl took the lead on the reach... We proceeded to blast round the course with happy grins and clouds of spray, especially relishing the two beam reaches at the end of each lap. I could close on the beat, but the 600 (and Carl!) was just too slippery on the broader downwind legs. I remember thinking that CJ was pretty well placed when we caught his Solo, and Gareth was going great guns in the Laser: some distance ahead of Kevin Pearson (Laser) which is something that wants a bit of doing in any circumstances.  Graham Potter (Albacore) was the last of the earlier starters that we caught so he was going pretty well too.

Results: well every dog has its day, and this was definitely the one for the fast singlehanders. Still, I''ve written often enough about it being a Solo evening or whatever, and I think very rarely about it being a great evening for the style of boat I sail, so what goes around comes around I guess. Carl won by something over a minute, and I was second, getting on for three corrected minutes ahead of the next boat, which as I''m sure you can tell, I am quite pathetically pleased about:-) Gareth Griffiths'' 3rd in the strange boat was still an excellent performance, and Mike Curtis (with James Curtis tonight) also had a decent result in weather where the 400 doubtless would have appreciated a bit more weight hanging over the side. Graham Potter took a good 5th and Kevin Pearson 6th. The personal handicap - well, I fear I won that. Nick Marley''s second in his Vareo was an excellent result on a course where he must have been very limited in spinnaker use. Carl took 3rd, Chris Smith 4th, Ian Hamilon (RS400) 5th and CJ 6th. Here are the full results.

Series...  As I said above, pace DNDs or anything silly, Gareth and Paul are safe first and second. For third place Mike Curtis leads Evan Cairns by 0.1 points, and Mike Storey has a mathematical chance of beating both of them.  In the personal handicap John Smith is half a point ahead of Ian Hamilton, and I reckon these two must take the first two places. Similarly Dave Baldwin is 0.9 points ahead of Chris Smith, and only these two can take third... Could we see some match racing next week?

Oh yes, worth mentioning the reason I''m so absurdly pleased about the result with the Canoe. Its to do with goal setting. This is something I strongly recommend to everyone learning to sail, and believe me I am still learning to sail the Canoe... Work out a set of goals that you want to achieve with your sailing, enjoy checking them off as you come to them, and give yourself a little celebration: I buy cakes for the office! The goals can start really small and work up. The first one with the Canoe was "sail a whole day without capsizing"! The current one is "win a Wednesday race on the water" which I still haven''t managed, but "place in the top three on handicap on a Wednesday" was the next one on. You can, and should, start very small with your goals. "Not finish last" in a club race is a nice starter, then you could work up to say "beat someone who''s been sailing for several years", or "finish in the top half of the fleet". "Beat Dad" is a  good one for teenage sailors, if only because you can enjoy the mix of pride and chagrin on his face when you do it [grin]. Then perhaps you can work up to open events if you desire. "Finish every race at the National Championships" is a very worthy one, especially as I bet you''ll find you finish a fair way up the fleet by doing so...