Evening Series 7
Given the number of Dart 18s stacked on trailers in readiness for the Dart 18 Worlds, it always seemed likely the turn out would be rather low. In my case, due to personal circumstances, I was a little lucky to arrive in time to take part at all. Indeed I had only persisted on the basis that I wanted to be able to be able to write this sketch, a word I would prefer to use to describe these epistles. I prefer sketch because they are heavily based on both personal experiences and anecdotes many of them not on the water at all. Indeed, as the pre sailing activities often form an important of these sketches arriving, as I did only one hour before the start, left me inadequate time to digest the atmosphere and paint a picture of the evening in question.
Amidst the notable milestones for the Series 7 were two father daughter combinations: viz. - Burke and Burke and Winrow and Winrow. The other was the location of the start mark. Although Race Officer, Joffan Garcka, likes to challenge our sailor's skills, on the night in question this seemed to extend to eyesight. From my myopic start perspective the Race Box was nothing more than a silhouette against the setting sun. As to any notion of flag design, colour or location, they all seemed black and in line. Furthermore, with about one minute to go, I was not alone in being late to arrive into the thin wedge between beach and buoy forming the start area. Thus an individual recall flag, the inevitable consequence for those still on the beach was as indistinguishable as any other in the vast choice available in pigeon hole rack on the top floor. If the idea had been to create a starboard start, then, as far was able to determine, it did not work. Wondering why a flag, apparently remained in place, I hesitated on the start line before realising the balance of the fleet had already vanished out to sea.
It was only over fish and chips when the full story of the start buoy became apparent. The starboard bias had been intended to keep Joffan on the race box balcony, the only view-point of the course and away from the gossip calypso taking place inside. As to the race, the results speak for themselves with Caleb Cooper and Chloe Millward breaking their pre-condition promise for borrowing my second boat and finishing ahead of me.
By the normal standards Friday Fiasco was a very low key affair due to the combination of Worlds and weather. As I have already mentioned, the former had drawn a large number of regulars to Holland and whose absence posed a real headache in terms of recovering the safety boat. With a moderate south westerly wind came the inevitable difficulty in predicting the likely shore break at around high water at 2000 with discretion winning out over valour. Since, however, a hard core of otherwise, disappointed Pico sailors were determined to enjoy themselves, we parked McBoatface on the shore for a possible real emergency and let them sail on the basis we would launch it/him/her if we had to. I can personally vouch from earlier 1800 windsurfing experience that the Pico conditions were challenging and give full credit to the standard of sailing of all involved with only one capsize and some great spectator surf riding by all involved. The fajitas were muy bueno - thanks Caroline. As his personal contribution to the fiasco part of the evening, dressed in a wet suit, the author managed to let slip his foot on the tractor pedal in proximity to John Deere's home-sweet-home and made rather a mess of the panel to the right hand side of his front door.
Long Distance Race
Sunday dawned and it must have been summer because our Commodore was planning to sail. "After all it's August" he commented at the briefing. He was almost right as it was, in fact, the last day of July. He went on to confess he had received a grilling by Chris Halfknight regarding name of the individual responsible for modifying the tractor shed. During the inquisition, Richard conceded to have clyped on the author but for which you would not be reading about it in this sketch. When, over breakfast I commented “I told you I was not suitable over 70", Jerry Robinson had wryly remarked that he had not realised the tractor could be driven at such speed in any event.
On the day in question Rob Garcka had devised an interesting solution to the concept of a long distance race with a variable wind in the form of a variable sausage course. The forecast had been light northerly at the 1100 start time although it seemed distinctly possible that a sea breeze might start at sometime during the proceedings. Rob's solution was to sail ahead of the fleet towards Worthing Pier and drop the buoy when he considered appropriate in terms of the time taken for the lead boat to catch him up. Given the PN numbers of those taking part varied from F18 to Picos, this novel idea was to work well in practice with the monos making one lap and the multis two.
Things got off to a ropey start, however, with the tide having more effect than the wind especially in regard to the weight in the RS400 crewed by the combined skills of Duncan, Archie Oakden and Richard. I would imagine that ten minutes after the start gun their progress East across the start line would have been around minus 200 meters such was the westerly flow of the tide. The author had opted for a Pico, with hindsight an error, as the sea breeze did, eventually, pick up from the South West. As the results show, most multihulls came in ahead of all the monohulls although, for quite some time, I thought I had made a good call even though it took just under an hour to sail to the Pier
Incredibly, Bob Hewitt and Anne Marie Hughes managed to capsize their Dart 18. Rob, who was alongside in the safety boat awarded Bob Hewitt full marks for a hitherto unseen, patented Dart 18 recovery method which only he, Bob Hewitt, can properly describe. This, apparently, involved standing on the upturned hull before his "Tuck and Pike" scoring of 6.0 on the Richter Scale. As to how they capsized, I eventually squeezed out of them they were attempting to fly a hull by hiking to leeward before being hit by a gust.
For an après sail balcony remarkably low in numbers, the conversation was especially lively, all unrepeatable in this sketch. Lynda Wright, Christian Wallis, Tracey Parker, Jo Nichols, Race Box and Safety boat volunteers, are to be noted in this respect, all adding to names of the results which follow. As expected, there was no news from the Netherlands as it was practice day. Welcome to new member Jack who crewed for Matt Cooper. The fact I do not have his family name underlines, for safety reasons, the importance of full names please, on the sign on sheet. Welcome Jack all the same - nice to have you on board.