Today there was a 'blue riband' race in the Slipper calendar - the Pine Out of Harbour trophy race. It involves a jaunt out of the harbour into Hayling bay, and then back to the club. Probably 15 miles, taking in the challenges of the harbour entrance and mixing it up with the Glyn Charles pursuit race being run out of TISC. The forecast was for 25 knots, but more importantly the recent gales have created significant waves that would make for very difficult conditions in the bay. So I gave it a miss, but a couple of Slipper boats joined the ESC fleet. Andy Gould was in full frothed-up mode, and came back from Sicily specifically for the event. He said (and I'm in no way making this up for the purpose of blogging, this is absolutely accurate): "Having been on the cruiser in the med for a couple of weeks, I was getting concerned that I was losing competitive instinct. My froth levels had decreased from cappuccino to skimmed-milk-latte, hence a return to the UK for a race. I'm currently at full-drinking-chocolate-with-whipped-cream, levels have never been higher". Very high SOA. Good to see Andy and Vicky back for a short while, but such a shame that they will not make Minorca in their cruiser.
Andy and Emma P got back in one piece albeit looking slightly shell shocked, John and Simon in their Stratos got as far as the harbour entrance before deciding to retire, I think there was a 420 out from Slipper but I didn't see it finish.
Given the decision not to race, the alternatives were windsurfing, or sailing locally in the harbour. To be honest I would have preferred windsurfing, but Matt J had been pestering me with text messages to go sailing, as he wanted to try his new Phantom. After weeks of indecision between a 300 and a Phantom, the Phantom was purchased on the basis that it is a better carrier of weight. Training-partner-Claire and Noel were also out for a sail, in matching Lasers.
Interesting sailing in 20-25 knots. The upwind speed of the 300 and Phantom was remarkably similar, the 300 quicker on a close reach, the Phantom certainly quicker on a beam reach, and edging it on a broad reach. The Phantom was a lot more stable when the wind got up. The Phantom handicap is 1012 with the 300 at 995, so great to have another single hander in the fold. Anyway, we left the water with one very enthused Matt, which can only be good for future training sessions.
The wind should abate a little for tomorrows race, hurrah.