Monday, 27 May 2013

300 Log: No result, but an excellent race

Date: 25th May
Venue : Slipper
Race : Down Harbour Handicap race, 2 hours
Tide : Flooding
Conditions : F0-4 N, mostly flat water apart from the main harbour bay, which had chop from all directions
Result : Would have been 1st of 20, and 1st 300, but for forgetting to sign on (again!)

Fresh back from Minorca Sailing, my lovely wife gave me an immediate pass out for a local race, I am blessed.  12 mile course from Emsworth down to the Itchenor channel, and back via Sandy Point.  Downwind start and first leg made for interesting tactics - very difficult to nudge out in front when covered by the fleet (who are getting the gusts first).  Very variable wind strength, I had 5 minutes near SW Pilsey in absolutely no wind, getting bounced around by the chop.

- Good start.  Started just behind Matt on starboard at the pin end, and was first boat to gybe to port (for clean air).  Managed to eek out a small lead in the first mile of the run, just enough to stop getting covered by the fleet, and then stretched to a reasonable lead by the half way point.
- Pleased with downwind speed.  Set up the boat for maximum instability (no vang, leech slightly in front of the mast), and really concentrated on finding gusts and catching small chop.  One dicey moment in a gust, but that's the price you pay for having the leech in front of the mast!
- Pleased with reaching speed, although the wind was at that marginal point where I think being a lightweight helped with early planning.  Going high in the lulls and low in the gusts gave a substantial lead by East Head (mostly lost in the dead wind zone by SW Pilsey on the return).
- It appears that a week full time sailing has helped with fitness, no problem with the final 2.5 beat straight leg hiking most of the way.
- Nicely relaxed and focussed (Claire has stopped me using the SOA terminology)

Points for reflection:
- Upwind speed not great, thought Dave took a substantial amount out of me on the return passage.  Went out for a practice session today and concentrated on upwind speed, convinced I should be footing more, but need a bit of boat-on-boat to confirm.
- Must start remembering to sign on!

But all in all a good race, a rare win over Dave which is always heartening as it demonstrates a little progress and improvement.

Practice session today was good, managed 4 fully planning gybes which is a first.  A bit scary as the boat needs to be properly gunning to keep the speed through the turn.  Finally I see why people compare the 300 gybe to a windsurfer, there is a similarity.  Next sailing at TISC, can't wait!

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