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Monday, 2 July 2012

July inter series underway

The July-inter-series-interval officially started this Sunday amid general excitement and anticipation. Or might have done were it not for a rather cold and very blustery westerly wind. Still, several hardy souls sounded like they would be prepared to take part without any heavy coercion on my part. So, assisted by Ben, I continued with the plan for the day: six mini-races, best four to count with a cup of tea and a rest in the middle. The course was 8,7,4,1 all anti-clockwise start line to mark 6, the idea being that the only gybe required could be fitted in somewhere between 8 and 7 at an appropriate moment!

As we set off to the start only three helms intended to race i.e. David, Graham and Alexander. Dennis was experimenting with a diy reefing system, Terry was coming to terms with a new Laser and John Southall and Phil Hartley were going to watch and assess!

lesson #1 we anchored with a start line appropriate for three boats. In the event everyone opted in at the start so it was a little crowed. We then started to think about how we would conduct the race.

lesson #2 (obviously) this was later than we should have. I had intended to race back in and tick laps and finish people between the OOD box and 9. But as Ben said it was much more logical for us to stay where we were and tick people off as they came past. We attempted to communicate this to people as they screamed past us on the run however only David really appreciated that the finish line was between the committee boat and 3. After a couple of laps of fast sailing and earnest swimming (and a very spectacular death-roll capsize from Graham in which he appeared to fly thee metres through the air) we decided to start the finishing process.

lesson #3 to get three races into an hour the first finisher has to be at about 10 mins, the last finisher at 14 mins and the countdown for the next race has to begin immediately. This simple arithmetic should have been thought through before the race had already been running for 10 mins! In order for the first finish to be at 10 mins the decision to shorten course and blow the hooter has to happen after 8 or 9 mins.

lesson #4 some explanation of what the various hooter noises were for would have saved confusion among the competitors.

By the third race both John and Phil decided that if David could get round without even looking like he might capsize they would give it a go. John, however, had not attached his tiller and suffered the inevitable consequence of stopping steering on a windy day. Still the water was reasonably warm.

lesson #5: the start line that had become crowded for five was now carnage for seven, especially given the gusty and changeable wind. In general people honoured their 720 degree penalties by capsizing at the earliest opportunity and swimming twice round the boat. Then back inside for a cup of tea.

lesson #6 the course would have made more sense as a proper triangle, i.e. going straight from 1 to a gybe mark at 7 as there was no need to follow the normal YSC convention but I didn't think of changing it till we were back at the start. Also the tea break would have been a good time to make sure everyone knew where the finish line was.

Having taken too long over the first couple of races I decided that making the event best three of five races would be reasonable and the last two races were each only two laps. In the last race John got a good start and kept in front right to the end, if only he had done the first two he might have prevented David getting four firsts! The last race also had some added interest as both Trevor and Alexander managed to dredge amazing clumps of pond weed onto their masts or booms and Dennis' (very successful) reefed sail tore from reefing point nearly to the luff which meant he had to tack through about 160 degrees as he wended his way back to the jetty.

overall: 1st David, 2nd Phil, 3rd John
All in all a fun day out!


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