Solo news 16 Oct

OPEN MEETING ON SATURDAY!!!

Let’s have the biggest fleet – always lots to learn at opens. If you are not planning to sail… I know CJ’s looking for a boat to borrow.

Even if you only plan to do one race it is a great day. Here’s a great offer… For the SENIOR members (over 65) – if you only want to do ONE race you do not need to pay the entry fee. If you want to do multiple races you need to enter. That way you can come down, ‘enter for one race’ even if you then decide that it looks a bit windy… If it looks OK go out and nothing lost. If you go out and fancy doing the next one you need to upgrade your entry… Only applies to the seniors I’m afraid.

BTW for our newer fleet members, if you have only done club races remember the start sequence at open meetings is 5-4-1 Go not 4-2-go.

I’d like to show the wider solo fleet how many boats we can put on the water. Maybe persuade a few more to join us for the winter (and then perhaps stay on…) On that subject, please welcome Tim Lewis who is joining for the winter. He sailed the B2B on Sunday but I know some of you had already packed up.

Last Sunday

Another good fleet on the water with Mark showing us a clean pair of heels but different boats behind in different races. I continued to experiment with 3357 trying the old sail in the morning and then my regular sail from 5215 in the afternoon.  To be honest I’m still fighting the gear a bit but my initial feeling is that she is quick enough in displacement mode but a bit slower to get on the plane. With the old mast but new sail I was feeling underpowered – I think the old Needlespar bends more in the mid-section making the leading edge of the sail too fine and the sail too flat so I lacked power.  As many people have commented in the past a matching mast and sail is important. 

In the morning when the wind was lighter I started at completely the wrong end… how did that happen? Looking back I can see several mistakes – firstly given I was in the old boat I was probably looking for a flyer – taking bigger risks hoping to get a jump on the fleet.  So why did I end up at the wrong end. Well the wind was shifty and I went for broke rather than playing the percentages. Every now and again the wind went to a starboard bias for a short period. It happened at about a minute to go so I tried to sail back down the line on port (which at that point was very light and shy) – what I should have done was simply to wait near the port end for the wind to come back which is what I knew had happened several times in the pre-start. I tried to sail down the line, then I met Ben who was almost stopped on starboard and rather than tack before him I elected to really go for broke, duck him and try and tack to hit the starboard end at the gun.  By then however the wind was coming back to its typical direction so my option was to tack at the mark and try to foot away hoping for a shift to tack and get back in contention.  If you recall an earlier blog when I said starting at the ‘wrong end’ pays when the next shift comes back to make it the right end. I forget that in my excitement to try and steal a march on everyone by starting at the briefly favoured end. 

At least I did have clear air and was able to get moving but I had given away a significant gap. By tacking the shifts I was able to recoup a bit but Mark was away and gone and Paul wasn’t far behind him. I was in contention after that with Mervyn and Frank who was in a good third place.  I managed to jump Frank by a better roundup at the start of the beat – just a bit closer to the mark and a bit quicker roundup to steal a few yards to windward – just enough to have the advantage. Previously down the reach I could catch Frank but I knew there was no way past – if I threatened to go to windward Frank defended and there was no point slowing both of us down. 

In the B2Bs the wind was starting increase to starting to hike. I realised the toe straps in 3357 are slightly further outboard than 5215 – nearly missed them a couple of times – thank goodness for the toe-rail on the plate case. In the first I made a good start and was able to hang on to second solo but when the wind came up further in the second Paul definitely had the edge on my on the reaches and passed me on the last leg.  I’m not yet sure that is the hull – it could be the way I’m sailing her. It is noticeable that 3357 sails more bow down than 5215 so I may need to shift my weight further back sooner as she starts to plane. Moving weight back on close reaches and getting plenty of board up (and sail very full) is something I only really started doing relatively recently. This week’s gear change was a new (well different old one from my spares) main sheet block. No jammer now, just a ratchet block. Certainly it’s nice in light weather to allow sensitive sheeting with the ratchet off, the ratchet seems to be enough for windier days though tacking is a shade harder.

See you all on Saturday… Back in 5215. Early days yet, but the forecast looks like enough wind to be fun without being too much to cause trouble. Fingers crossed the forecast stays the same.

Regards

Gareth