Racing: Spring Series
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Warsash Spring Series 2006

Race 2:

Those of you not on the water missed a cracker: When we assembled we looked like nine assorted michelin men and women, but tanned faces and the huge pile of discarded fleeces at the end of the race gave testament to a beautiful sunny day! Yup, spring has arrived at last and it was great to be afloat again. It was a power sailing day, with winds in the 15-20 knot range, and we led the fleet, eventually finishing 5 minutes ahead of the next Sigma.

Race 3

This Sunday's race was sandwiched between the gales in a warm (ish) hazy Southerly that dropped for a while to 8 knots before increasing again to 17 or so - just enough to shoot us round the course and get in before the rain ( and the next gale!). Another win courtesy of pretty nifty crew work including loadsa fancy kite hoists and late drops . The only trouble is that when i checked the boat to-day we are one spi sheet short - 22 metres of dyneema - ouch = so maybe they were too fancy?!

Race 4

This was a brutal day to be racing! The wind was was 15 knots at 0700 , 20 at 0930, 25 at the start ,and a steady 30 by the end of the fist beat.By then we had a 200 m cushion so decided to sail safe - slabbed a couple of reefs - poled out the No 3 and sat back to watch the carnage. The biggest recorded gust was 40 knots , and with our small sails we roared through the fleets in relative comfort - (Bryony on the bow might not quite agree with this - she was absolutely soaked!) to record another first with only a small split in the mainsail leech incurred as we dropped it coming into the river.
A ninja
A Ninja Pitman...

View to Leeward - it's quite windy!

Jim Saltonstall Training Day

Just walked in? 20 pressups for being late! Now don't get me wrong, ferrets, today's World Championship racing in the Costa Del Solent was in beautiful sunshine and a varying but brisk 12-20 knot breeze. 10 Ships and two couch boats were afloat, and, don't get me wrong, had a great day. Starting off with a bit of Follow my leader (interesting in a seven-ton ship), rigs were tuned, sail shapes were perfected, human fat was repositioned and even some liquid and ferret fodder was consumed. The rulebook was given a dusting down, and the assembled ferrets benfitted from my experience with Horatio in 1805, when the French showed a striking disregard for RRS 14.2. The starting practice was revealing, to say the least, but by the end, despite many of what you and I would call, crap starts, most of the fleet were flying off the startline like ferrets up a drainpipe. However, by the end, the Video debrief had the ferrets in stitches (and there were a few red faces!) but the champagne prizes went down extremely well.

Festina Sporting her shiny new suit of sails!

Race 5

After Saturday's training, the Sigma fleet was noticeably closer together this week, and we had a toussle with With Alacrity, sparked off courtesy of a 30 degree windshift at the first windward mark. The wind got noticeably lighter as the day progressed (meaning that we were allowed to give the shiny new No. 1 an outing), and we managed to overtake them on a downwind leg, with help from a large blue Beneteau going upwind, and held on to this lead for the rest of the race to win by three minutes. The wind was by this point seriously light, and behind us there was a vicious battle going on for second place, with Light, Persephone and With Alacrity all very much in the running, With Alacrity just clinching it in the end

Race 6

One of the advantages of the plethora of internet forecasts available these days is that you can keep looking until you find one that you like – except to-day that is when there was a universal agreement that it was going to be extremely wet all day with the added delight of absolutely no wind.  Nice!

So we prepared tactically by bringing double the number of croissants  and all the magazines  we could find so we could leave one poor sucker on the helm whilst the rest of us stayed below and enjoyed a very late and long Sunday breakfast.  All of which goes some way to explain the level of our  decision making , best described as a cross between chaos theory and Brownian movement ‘

The wind seemed to be veering to the right of its range so we went for a committee boat end start – BANG , BANG - - Bryony on the bow said her transit was obscured by a yellow boat – but thought we were very close. Jamie had his head inside a GPS and declared that we were 3 pixels over ! “3 pixels – Jamie what the friggin hell does that mean – can the race officer see us if we are 3 pixels over ?”  The reply is completely unintelligible so we carry on with everything crossed .

After a while we seem to be losing out to some boats around us so invent a spurious reason to tack to the South – something to do with the tide I recall  - but the real reason is I  want to stop being shown up. It soon transpires that it was the wrong move as Light and Beefeater come out of the north on a port lift whilst we wallow around on the wrong side of the shift. On the run Jamie says the GPS got confused with its route and told us to go to Clipper thus missing out the first loop ( the only sensible suggestion  on the boat all day  - it must have known the wind was going to die! ) Actually , by the time we realise and gybe, we  have to come into the mark at a hugely hot angle which turns out to be super fast and we overtake Beefeater. Damned clever things these GPS’s.

On the beat we go left because Light looks like she is losing the wind over on the right – but hopelessly misjudge our laylines and end up tacking too much  which is bonkers in the light wind. Back on the run again – and the Bowgirl ( who was so rude about my adventures on the bow on Wednesday )– hoists the kite upside down .That will teach her to have more respect for her elders! Before I have time to crow too much  Jamie begins to talk in deeply technical terms about how the tide means we  should take a long starboard gybe to the north, inducing instant coma on everyone within 20 feet  . Luckily salvation comes when someone forward of the mast is awake enough to realise he is talking absolute bollocks  and thinks the tide is going West – when it is in fact going East.

This stark change of emphasis produced a rapid  re-evaluation  of the situation – and  remarkably , the same conclusion . Who said that post event rationalisation was dead and gone!  However , unluckily for Light there was a big veer giving us a lovely hot angle into the mark and  practically demolishing her huge lead. We rounded the last mark hard on her transom , tried to pass to windward , but were seen off so drove off to lee with more speed – came through a flat patch into clear air and just snuck the win on the line. Whats more we got a hoot and poor old Light were OCS , proving that there is  no justice in this world , other than perhaps the quiet satisfaction  that we can all feel for having had  a pleasant day on the water despite the combined pessimism of the worlds biggest supercomputers.  Oh, that  and  a regatta with 5 bullets in 5 races!


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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March, 2007