Venue : ESSC
Race : Handicap race, 60 minutes
Conditions: SW F4-6
Tide : 45 minutes after start
Result : Retired!
An interesting race of two halves. The first lap was great, the second lap was not so good. Anyway, we stick to the usual format of positives and points for reflection.
- Good start. Mid line with speed, clear air. Very mindful of both the race box and patrol boats trying to catch me OCS!
- Great upwind boat speed on the first leg to Sweare Deep. Tried sailing with lots more windward heel and straight legs and it had two outcomes:
1. Held Dave Acres upwind in a Force 5. First time that has happened.
2. Absolutely knackered by Sweare Deep. Straight leg hiking and continually playing the main is just so tiring.
- Had two excellent gybes at Shepherd, and a good first leg downwind.
Points for reflection:
- The wind to Walsh and back was really gusty, and the boat never felt settled. Dave and Hugh looked to be having much better legs, and took loads out of me.
- Very tired (and a bit cold) after the first lap, and didn't have good boatspeed upwind. I'm tempted to say that a few more kilos would have been helpful, but to be honest it comes down to fitness.
- Capsized about 2/3rds of the way from Shepherd to Echo on the second lap, got the mast stuck in the mud and got very cold and tired. As a result capsized several more times on the way back in (does anyone else find that a single capsize seems to be the instigator of more ?). I was concerned that the GoPro had run out of battery by the point at which I capsized, but readers of the blog will be delighted to learn that it had just enough juice to get the critical moment on film.
By happy circumstance, the video was very well positioned to capture sheeting angle (look at the bolt fixing the boom to the mast), wind direction and rudder movements. So here is my little analyse of what went wrong:
* Start of the video is pretty good, sailing by the lee and stable.
* At the start of the capsize sequence (at about 1:45) I'm not sailing by the lee, the wind has moved and its a broad reach
* The boat is heeled to windward (1:47), and I decide for reasons unknown to sheet out! So two reasons for the boat to to get the message that skewing to leeward is exactly what I want it to do!
* Steering is quite neutral, I'm not trying to steer the boat under the mast, but also not bearing away to get by the lee and stabilise.
* Game over by 1:48.
- Practice is needed in F5-6 winds. Analyse like this can be helpful but nothing beats practice. And I've done precious little in the stronger winds. The trouble is getting out to practice when there is some safety cover around.
- I think I may have been letting the boom get too close to perpendicular on the runs, destabilising the boat.
Time for a nap.