Monday, 27 October 2014

Just goes to show ....

..... what a difference it makes when you keep the boat pointy side up.

Raced with Patricia again yesterday, as Hels is still a little poorly.

First race was a blustery F4, felt good. Fitted a ratchet block to the
mainsheet, which made a terrific difference to the sail control in the
gusts. It's supposed to be an auto-ratchet, so the locking should only
trigger once the sheet puts a specific loading onto it. That bit works
fine, but somethings gone wrong in the mechanism that stops it from
releasing once the load is removed.

Which was a real pain in light conditions, which is why I removed the
block in the first place, and then just got used to sailing without it.

Now realise that was a mistake. I will, some point soon, replace it with
another once, especially if we get another run of light, drifting
conditions. But it's £30 + P&P or so to replace it. Which is nothing
really, but the miser in me still resists dipping his hand in his pocket
unless it's utterly essential.

But I digress.

The difference is, in that first race, we took 3rd place out of 23
boats. I'm rather pleased with that.

The second race saw the wind fading; a few gusts still rolling through,
but lots of shadows and holes on the lake. And just goes to show what a
difference it makes when I don't concentrate, especially in marginal
conditions. 10th place out of 17 boats, and lots of people beating us
that shouldn't.

Which isn't to detract from their achievement in doing so.

Lousy start. Caught up in the pack rounding windward, and didn't really
break away till about halfway through. And after breaking away, clipped
a topper following an unfortunately timed tack, and the penalty turns
but us back amongst the scrum again.

It was great fun sailing with Patricia however.

I mentioned a while ago that Dad was thinking about trading Ondine up
for a Coaster. He called last night to suggest an alternative would be
to keep the Lugger for playing about on the lake or the occasional
trailaway to Cornwall and the like, and instead find something like a
Westerly Centaur.

The thing is, with the premium the Coaster attracts as a trailer sailor,
you could spend half as much as a 22' Coaster would cost, and pick up an
old 26' Westerly in pretty much prime, restored condition, if you picked
the right boat.

Of course, that would mean finding somewhere to keep her. If we were
somewhere less tidal, then a swinging mooring that we could come and go
from at our leisure would be ideal, but the only options locally are
gated harbours like Sharpness or Lydney. Which is all well and good, but
removes the option of day sailing, as you essentially lock out of the
harbour on one tide, and have to wait for another before you can come
back in.

Because of our other commitments, well, mine at least, the vast majority
of our sailing has to be day sailing. So the risk is that the boat
becomes not much more than an expensive, floating shed.

On the otherhand, a Westerly Centaur is a robost, tough little boat, the
kind of thing you could take anywhere, as long as you did so at the
boat's own pace. I can't say the idea of having one isn't attractive.

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