Saturday, 2 February 2013

Colder and windier, but still a great day on the water

Out again with Claire today, definitely a bit windier, only the two of us on the water but great sailing.  I'm putting todays training in my 'Top 10 Sails of All Time' list, which I have yet to write, but its defo up there.

Before I get into the sailing, I've been sailing a lot with Claire recently and thought I'd give a brief synopsis as to why she is such a great training partner:

1.  If she says she is going sailing she is going sailing.  No messing around cancelling at the last minute.  Arrangements for a sail made in text messages of 15 words or less.
2.  Always on time, takes 10 minutes to rig, and 5 minutes to get changed.
3.  Never comes in early.
4.  Came in today with bloodied hands, awful blisters and no compliants.  Uses a 7mm Polilite mainsheet on her Laser (I'm at 9mm on the 300, ouch).
5.  Always happy, unless she hasn't been sailing for > 6 days.

All we need is for Claire to invest in a 300 and the partnership would be perfected.

Anyway, onto the sailing today.  Wind wise we had a f4-6 NNW blowing straight down the Thorney channel, and sailed for 2 hours or so right in front of the club.  The tide was still flooding as we sailed with very short steep wind-against-tide chop making downwind sailing very challenging.

For me it was a session of two halves.  At first we had a significant squall come down the channel (the 20-25 knt spike) - I had big problems with bearing off and getting downwind.  Two capsizes (one bad one to windward), very cold water and one slightly disheartened sailor.  Claire sailed back into the club and had a breather, definitely the sensible option.

At the end of the squall I started to experiment with more vang, just to see what a difference it made to bearing away and getting downwind.  Several observations:

- More vang seems to keep the nose up when bearing away, and in hateful chop thats a good thing.
- Everything seemed a lot more manageable when 'S' turning downwind.
- But there were some downsides:
   1. Not as quick (but quicker than being upsidedown)
   2. Much less tolerance to heeling when coming from BTL to BR - the boom catches the water.
   3. Gybing requires a bit of an exact approach.
   4. Sailing BTL, there is little warning before the boat gybes (no flicky noises, just a light sheet)
- But in general, the positives seemed to outweigh the negatives.
- ~15 gybes today all in hairy conditions, but all OK, thats good.

The second half of the session was just great.  Sunshine, wind, chop and a degree of control sailing downwind.  More of the same tomorrow apparently, where are all you Slipper and TISC sailors?  There enough of you reading this blog, come sailing!

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