Racing: Sigma Nationals
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Sigma 38 Championships 2005

With the St Malo Race counting double points , we started out looking pretty good for this regatta. On the other hand Adrian and Jaap had to leave us , to be replaced by Paul Gatrill , but with strong winds forecast that still left us pretty light. On Sunday afternoon a Frenchman came by and asked if we were short of crew . Within seconds he was Shanghai'd - and Daniel turned out to be a formidable sailor even if he did get us into trouble later on- but I get ahead of myself!

The first day was breezy sunny and quite magnificent sailing . Jean Louis Fabri set us a "course de banane" followed by a coastal race that finished in a pretty sheltered bay for lunch , with another coastal race back home .At the end of the day there were 3 different winners with our score of 1, 2, 2 being marginally the best. Tuesday was wet and wild and Supernatural ran away with both races whilst we got two thirds , just losing the inshore prize to her . We nearly lost much more as we took a short cut into the finish under Daniels direction and bounced over a rock with a heart wrending crash. "Merde!" said Daniel - and he spoke for all of us! It was a sombre crew that docked that evening - but a careful inspection revealed no obvious damage or leaking so we went along to the dinner in a slightly easier frame of mind.


It was still blowing hard on Wednesday for the race to Jersey for 1.5 times the points. To beat us Supernatural had to win and we be 6th or lower - but we had to finish to win and that keel was playing on all our minds. The course was a 20 mile beat to the Minquies , then a fetch to the finish at Corbiere and with 20 knots of wind this would give the keel a good work out!. We were all pretty tired after 5 days of hard sailing and with Supernatural tucked behind us we were just gritting our teeth , determined to finish ahead. Suddenly there was a whooshing sound and the liferaft appeared out of its bag like some enormous malignant jelly , engulfing me and the wheel , demolishing the morse controls and threatening to do the same to the steering pedastal . Ben and Jamie leapt for the valves and over a fraught 30 minutes managed to tame the beast and get it stowed below. We finished 3rd , with Super in 6th ; more than good enough to win the championships , and retired to lick our wounds in St Aubins bay

Repairs to the Steering Pedestal


This was a really good effort by all the crew in what were pretty testing conditions; running out easy winners in the end. We learnt truckloads about sail configurations in fresh breezes offshore that should stand us in good stead for the Fastnet. The trip back to Hamble was delightful, showing that passage making , even in fresh conditions , is so much more relaxing and comfortable than racing.Back at Hamble we pullrd the boat out and to our great relief could find no structural damage. But after a quick refit - a cruise and a couple of days at Cowes , I for one cannnot wait for the big one- bring it on!


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