The news seems to be getting a bit late in the week at the moment (due to committee meeting Monday evening, TrySail/race Tues, Wed evening race…) however I think it is still very relevant…
SUNDAY is COMMODORE’s DAY – slightly longer pursuit in the morning, BBQ etc, Prizes for Commodores day and spring series, followed by free entertainment as the children (and older ‘kids’ are given silly things to do on the water, some involving water pistols …)
Seriously though this looks like being a great day with the forecast for a nice breeze and pleasantly warm. Really we should all try to get out – forecast at the moment is 8kt which is good for everyone. Can we break double figures – easily is we all turn out – could we break our record for a club race – yes we could…
On Sunday I was on duty and it was a great pleasure to see the fleet having such a great race (Tom Russell isn’t shown in the results because he’s a visitor) – the first lap was well contested with the whole fleet in reasonably close order. Over the next couple of laps many places changed and the fleet eventually split into two sections. The lead group of Mervyn, Malcolm, Frank and Peter Cottrell getting away from the chasing group of Ben, Tom, Dave C, Ian and CJ (not necessarily in that order though CJ had a horrible start and did indeed have to come from last off the line). Early in the race Mervyn was in front chased by Malcolm but as the wind started to become more fickle late in the race Frank picked his way through to finish second behind Mervyn who had kept a clean sheet in front while Malcolm got caught out on the last lap. Ben led the chasing group for most of the race but he also caught a bad patch on the last lap – what is so encouraging was the great close racing with places changing in both groups right to the end. Nine boats racing – the start felt like a mini open meeting.
I wasn’t there on Saturday but we had SIX solos out on Saturday as well – really pleased to see my TryRace group showing how much they have learned over the last few weeks now mixing it with the main fleet – Ian, Tony, John and Lloyd – well done on Saturday – looks as if you had a good race between yourselves and against the rest of classes.
So – results for the spring series… - you’ll have to come on Sunday for the prize giving …
Watching the fleet on Sunday what was apparent in a shifty wind was that the people who gained most were the ones who spotted shifts soonest mainly on the upwind legs – either because they could see patch of wind ahead and went that way, or because they reacted first when a major shift happened. Where people lost the most was when the wind lifted them but they didn’t immediately spot it – that is they were beating close against the wind but it shifted so they could have pointed 20-30 degrees higher and they didn’t immediately spot this – that has three really bad effects. First they give away ground to windward, second their sails are stalled (over-sheeted for the course they are on with no airflow over the sail) so they get less power and sometimes think the wind has dropped, and finally when they then tack they turn through not 90 degrees but 130 degrees because now they are on the headed tack. Indeed sometimes the shifts were even more than 30 degrees… When the wind is really light you want to watch the tell tales and shroud streamers really carefully – sometimes there isn’t enough wind to make the sail wools set well but cassette tape on the shrouds still work. The sail needs to be sheeted much more gently, and made quite flat to help the airflow (outhaul tight). We’re fine tuning here – the boom is still pulled in almost to the corner of the transom but with much less tension so the leech (back edge) of the sail is quite open (kicker not tight). On Tuesday evening I noticed the Tony (used to a topper) was over-sheeting – in a topper you need to sheet in hard to bend the mast and make the front of the sail flat, but you have a rope traveller at the back so the pull is still from the corner of the boat. With a solo and the centre sheet if you pull too hard in light weather the boom comes too central and the leech ‘hooks’ – looking from behind you can see that the back of the sail is pointing to windward – so much that you can never get a smooth air flow. You need to be much more gentle with the sheet to keep the boat moving and the sail setting, then as a gust comes you then have to pull in harder to tighten the sail and keep the right shape. I generally sail with the sheet in my hand in very light weather not using the jammer to be more sensitive to puffs.
Hope to see you all Sunday