Sunday, 28 April 2013

Initial observations from this weekends 300 open

So a quick post with initial thoughts on the weekends sailing at Bough Beech.

1.  300 sailors are Very Nice People
No aggression on the water, shouts of encouragement to other members of the fleet, and a very social bunch.  Even at crowded mark roundings, there was a gentlemanly discussion about who was entitled to what, and then we would all execute as agreed.  A marvellous meal on Saturday evening at a local pub in good and amusing company.  So if you have a 300 and you are thinking about an open I thoroughly recommend it, I was made to feel very welcome.

2.  Lake sailing is very different to Sea And Harbour Sailing
Here is what happens when you sail with windward heel on a lake: you get headed by 45 degrees and stop, up to your neck in water (I had to waterstart the boat, a la windsurfer).  There is no rhyme or reason to windshifts, but when they do happen they are major (forget worrying about 5 degree increments on the compass, we are talking 40+ shifts here).  The legs are 300m long, instead of 1+ miles.  But here's the curious thing, its great fun.  The variable wind means that the fleet stretches out and then concertinas up, everything is close quarter manoeuvring, and there is lots of boat-on-boat tactics.  I loved it, but I'm not very good at it.

3.  Its all about Not Making Mistakes
We had 7 races this weekend, and I led four of them at some point.  Each time, I threw the lead through a mistake that could have been avoided:
- Capsized when trying to be greedy on an inside overlap, fouling another boat in the process (sorry Martin, I just get carried away).  Lost 5 boats.
- Knew to take the left side of the run, but didn't because I was worried about being covered by the boats rounding behind.  Lost 6 boats in 200m.
- Managed to thread the tiller extension through the gap between the outhaul and boom on a gybe, capsized and thrashed the extension.  Lost 4 boats.
- Won one race, essentially through a good start and not making any catastrophic mistakes (it was the last race on Saturday, by which time I had started to calm down from my state of what the psychologists would call 'extreme arousal')
The event was won by the most consistent sailor.

4.  Never use a old mainsheet as a makeshift toothbrush
After refreshment on Saturday evening, I made it back to my van only to find that I had neglected to pack a toothbrush.  On scouring the van for a suitable substitute, I elected to use the end of an old mainsheet as a makeshift toothbrush, pressing the toothpasted polilite against my teeth with an index finger.  This was not a good idea, I could still taste the Thorney mud when I woke in the morning, and it didn't help with a hangover.  That said, thankfully I didn't go with the second option, which was a sock I found at the bottom of my kitbag.

More reflections on the racing and performance tomorrow, if Mrs R catches me doing excessive blogging after a weekend away I'll be properly for it.

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