Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Of weather and water, rivers and lakes

Seems to be that the weather kind of cycles just short or just over a
week. It's a far from scientific observation, with no real fact to back
it up other than casual observation.

Through most of November, the weeks were characterised by high winds in
or around the middle of the week, followed by a weekend of almost still
airs. It's not my favourite kind of sailing weather, but as they say, a
pants day on the water beats any good day in the office, and being the
relative lightweight that I am (5.7' and about 10 stone) and having had
lots of practice with drifting aimlessly, it is the sort of racing I
tend to do well at, and it's been reflected in our results.

But as the weeks have trundled by, the violent stuff has been advancing
on the weekend, and the drifty stuff moving out into the week. Last
Sunday was the first real wind we've had since the very beginning of the
series, and, as I've previously mentioned, it's been reflected on our

Today is Tuesday. And outside, all is calm and still, with a light mist
laying in the valley obscuring the sun above and making everything feel
dank and somewhat uninspired. Looking at the forecast, the week carries
on pretty much like this before winding itself up for a blow on Sunday.

Which is unfortunate for my results, and makes it very unlikely I'm
going to manage to cling to our present lead. Between a certain couple
of Lasers and a Comet, it seems quite likely a more relistic end to the
series will be in the top five rather than the top three.

The way a sailing series is scored, lowest points win; again, a bit like
I understand golf.

Just checked last year's result for the same series. I finished in 4th,
with 32 points, short of 3rd place by a single point. The 3rd place was
taken with 31 points. I'm currently sat on 32 points, so have thus far
done as well as I did last year.

My worst qualifying score in this series is currently 6th, followed by a
couple of 5th places. So for any of the next three races to count, I
have to finish better than a 6th. Ideally, I want three finishes of 4th
place or better. That seems like a bit of an ask.

The bottom line however: I do care, but I'm a quiet bad looser, and not
finishing in the top three won't completely wreck things. I'm actually
just really looking forward to the sailing.

Away from Frampton and racing Buffy, my last adventure of the year out
on to the River is planned for Saturday 21st.

One of the members of Lydney Yacht Club is a very nice man called Steve,
who has a sailing canoe called "Green Bean". A pretty little two-man
boat, with a single mainsail and a couple of outriggers for stability,
it's a rugged, versitile craft that he built himself and has taken to
all sorts of places within the estuary, up river and out into the
Bristol Channel.

The plan for the Saturday is to launch from Lydney Harbour early with
the tide, and head up through the Noose (an interesting bit of water,
and not accidentally tagged with so sinister a name) to land at Frampton
for breakfast on the bank, before heading back to Lydney for lunch.

Steve kindly invited me to crew for him on Green Bean. We may have a
couple of Wayfarers along to keep us company, depending on the weather.
I can't wait.

There was a slight twist. Steve would normally take the boat down to the
Club to rig the night before, but he's got a Christmas party with his
company, and I've got a gig on the Friday night. So instead of rigging
the outriggers and mast, we're going to paddle. I find the idea
strangely even more appealing than sailing. Though I've not paddled a
two man canadian type canoe since I was a kid.

It'll then be back to Frampton the next day for the final race in the
Winter Series. My son Ben (boy_v1) will be back from Uni by then, so
will hopefully find a crew to race Penny against us. Will be good to
sail against him again.

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