Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Guest Contribution : Dave Valentine muses on his Laser performance in H&H5

 A contribution from Dave Valentine in the Laser fleet.  Dave placed 16th overall and 2nd :Laser in the H&H5 race on Saturday, here is the race from his perspective. The curious thing about Dave's report is the appearance of Anthony Reeves in a Laser - he doesn't appear on any of the sign on/off sheets (are you sure he was racing ?).

I like the idea of a swarm of 300s, captures the essence of the boat nicely.

"As you're getting some guest contributions, thought I'd add from a Laser perspective

Having got to the start line 1 minute late on my last race, and spent the one before that on the phone to the Police (both long stories over a pint); thought I'd get there in plenty of time (the 6 P's and all that) for Saturdays race.

With the decreasing wind, where should I start - got out early and zoomed up and down the line before going down the channel where some 300's seemed to be having a swarm - wind seemed good though a tight reach / close haul if starting at the pin end; so selected a post end start.  Advised Sean and Jez of my choice and reasons (maybe the Lasers need to have a brief / debrief at the race - food for thought ?)

Hung around from about 2&1/2 mins to the gun close up by the posts between them and the pontoon, with Paul and Caroline close by in the 200, and Tom sitting under then took a swift jump over the top of me along with a radial, and Sean not far underneath. Not sure what happened to another couple of Lasers - John and Jez who were close by. 5 secs to gun, and I was a couple of yards away - quick bear away to get away from Tom though he held his own above me - I know mine goes upwind quickly and sails high, Tom ducked underneath and seemed to pull away by a few yards underneath along with Sean (he's getting good, watch out there).

Stayed high as boat going well, block to block, kicker on hard, downhaul on hard, and well out of tide and knew I could reach away to Wickor later down the course. Paul and Caroline also seemed to be staying high so seemed a good choice. Patrick was towards the Thorney side of the channel though was going well and I could see Neil Mant out there swell. Had I gone too high ?
Wind was dropping so started to release downhaul. Played with the kicker to see if I could affect some boat speed, and released some downhaul coming up to Fowley. Had 1/2 kicker on which seemed to give best speed. Past the visitor pontoon, started to bear away taking note of tide coming across - had good speed, so should be ok.  Released kicker, and had overtaken Tom by this point so felt good and pulling away - let off downhaul fully and some outhaul aswell (6 to 4/5 on my scale) to get a fuller sail. Bit of kicker on to take out slack - too much off previous obviously.

Boat speed was good as not far off asy's coming in to Wickor with Tom and Sean quite a few yards off. Patrick and Neil some way down close reaching / hauling ? up to the mark. Outhaul back to 6 for the upwind. Left downhaul off, kicker on with a few yards to go, 1st Laser round, work to do as Tom not that far behind and closing quickly.

Rounded and hardened up, kicker on more, block to block, with a procession of asy's in front of me - no good with lots of spilled winds, so tacked away quickly following Paul and Caroline, they tacked away just near the Cruisers; I held on till after then tacked to make most of the tide down towards Hayling; pointing high and very flat (see Noel's photos - still could get a bit more to windward I think ? block to block good though, plenty of kicker bending boom though mast bending and opening up sail - hmmm what can I do there), had a ferryboat ride across towards Hayling shore. Tom came over the top of me going down the channel (obviously lost some going across Ems channel having tacked away), I held on, he tacked to cover, then went away for the mark. I held to go over him, tacked a few yards on and sailed for the mark.

Tom had made most of the tide and got to NEH just before me coming in on starboard, with me on port, so I had to give room as when he tacked I was right on his transom, quick smooth jibes from both, Tom went slightly lower and I went high hoping to sail over - not a lot of difference in boat speed here both against the tide.  Passed Patrick and Sean after some 50 yards so knew I was safe from behind.

Tom sailed the leg well to Shepherd, with me only a few yards behind having opened up outhaul again and lifted the dagger slightly, heeling the boat to windward  as wind almost behind - still time. This time, he tacked away quickly, back to OH6 and full dagger, I held on as being slightly higher from Shepherd and pointed high towards Hayling before tacking onto port. Wind was flukey and I thought this may give me a better reach to NEH. Tom going lower may have to tack or close haul all the way.
Tom used the tide again to his benefit I think, or may have had better wind (shoreside was slightly lighter) and got to NEH again before me though I'd pulled a couple of yards in. Rounding well, Tom went high and I sailed low heading for Sweare Deep, opening up my outhaul to 4 and dagger up a 1/4 way, kicker off 3/4's. Tom and a Finn were way too high to make the mark - I made the gentlemanly call to Tom, and after checking his cards quickly adjusted his course. Beating him in a straight race is one thing, missing a mark to win is another !

To his benefit (or was it luck) the tide brought him down to Sweare Deep with good speed, and was a good 30 yards ahead as my boat speed seemed low against the tide and dropping wind.  At Shepherd, I was at least 50 yards behind, outhaul in slightly, kicker on for rounding and dagger down, downhaul now right off; and tacked away a few yards after rounding to use the tide to get to NEH. Keeping the boat v flat, made a few yards back though not enough. However a new laser had appeared, yellow hull though it wasn't John - where had he come from?  Patrick, Sean and Neil were still coming towards me, so knew I was safe there; though work to hold the yellow off.

He was lower though flat, and I had speed towards NEH, Tom rounded and went high up to Northney. I followed 50 yards behind though seemed to be losing boat speed. Opening up as much outhaul as possible to gain speed, I held off the yellow (now Tony Reeves). Dagger up a 1/4, kicker on to take up slack, wind increasing slightly, keeping flat and reached for Northney. Tom was round, me at least 50+ away, the yellow some 50 or so behind and I'd lost sight off the others.

Kicker off, outhaul to 3 opening right up, jibed and went for westerly side of Ems channel. Flukey winds showed Tom reaching then slow, then I'd reach, then he. I was holding off Tony behind maybe pulling away a bit. Tom was increasing though. Tom took the hoot, I followed 100+ yards away, with Tony 50+ behind. i could just make out the next Lasers though couldn't see who.
OK, a 2nd for me - work to do with Tom. Good race.

Bit of work to do on my hiking straps - releasing themselves, maybe rope is worn. Outhaul block tie to mast also looking worn - work next weekend !




  1. Hi Mark,

    just a note to clear up my participation in H&H5. Unfortunately the start was billed as 13:30 on the ESC home page... Arriving at 12:50, with boat on trailer, I just made the start with the kind help of others, including a third party sign on. Rigging the kicker and cunningham on the beat after Wickor, the first leg wasn't as good as it could have been for the slightly more well built Laser sailor. A very enjoyable race followed trying to catch up with Dave. When I didn't appear on the results sheet I assumed I'd been signed onto the sign off sheet, but I wasn't too worried. Enjoying the blog,
    kind regards,

  2. Hello Anthony, I thought it must be something like that, but I couldn't find you on the sign on/off sheets. Also, as a result, the RO didn't take a time for you, and so I wasn't able to sort out a result.

    I feel your pain on the first legs to Wickor, they often favour those built for comfort rather than speed!

    Thanks for clearing up Anthony, hope to see you on the water soon.