Friday, 17 April 2015


A few thoughts.

Being on the helm through the race last Saturday was suprisingly restrictive. I thought it would give me a better feel for how she was moving through the water, as it would with a dinghy, but it actually confined my overall tactical perspective of the race and Calstar's performance. Not least, I couldn't see the plotter from the helm's position; a combination of bright sunlight, distance and polarised sunglasses, I think, so I was reduced to a best guess as to the most appropriate line to a mark I couldn't see.

I couldn't get a real feel for the set of the genoa. In part because my position at the helm on the windward side of the cockpit meant that most of the sail was obscured by the main. Likewise, I found it hard to get a feel for the conditions, despite being keenly aware of the wind direction. But it was only in relation to the wind as it met us. In a dinghy, my head would've been out of the boat whenever I wasn't consciously trimming the main, and I'd have been watching the water, judging the swell, anticipating the gusts, looking for the patterns of the wind as it was on its way in. Funny how you overlook the basics when the game scales up.

We need telltails on the genoa and on the leech of the main. Trying to set a sail without telltails feels like a game of blindman's bluff.

We need a better tiller extension. Calstar is not especially heavy on the helm, even when overpressed. But the simple dinghy-sized tiller extension currently installed feels inadequate and uncomfortable. It's a funny thing, but in a dinghy the rest of the boat can be virtually falling apart around me, but if the tiller extension and the mainsheet are good, I'm happy. That said, the mainsheet seems less of an issue with the bigger boat, as it spends most of its time cleated.

Each time I look at the photo of Calstar from astern, locking back into Portishead after the race on Saturday at the end of one of the posts below, it's surprising, but I still don't immediately recognise her as ours. And then when I do, I get an unexpected thrill of delight that paints a silly grin on my face. That's quite at odds to the comfortable sense of familiarity I feel now whenever I step aboard her. The "new boat" honeymoon isn't entirely over it seems.

"Calstar" was originally called "Calastra". The last owner, who admittedly owned her for half her life and whom I've never met but instinctively like for the way he's set her up and looked after her, changed her name when he took ownership, because he wanted something a little less of a mouthful, but seemed uncomfortable changing the name entirely. So "Calstar" is, as far as I can tell, entirely made up. I wonder if we should change her name back?

Not something to rush at. Not least because, in my head for the moment, the two names seem interchangeable when I think of the little boat. The original name has a more feminine feel to it, which I think suits a boat better. But it's just a feel. A bit of digging around on Google suggests its continental, perhaps Latin, but I can't find anything definite.

All that said, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Or, for that matter, a spade a spade.

This weekend we're expecting more wind. Ben's last weekend before he heads back to Uni, so I've told him he can race Buffy at Frampton. Hels is around, so she'll crew for him. If I can find a spare boat, I'll sail, but odds are I'm going to be beached. Which is fine, as I'll take my camera with me, and my sewing kit. Buffy's boat cover is desperately in need of some repairs.

No comments: