Wednesday 29 February 2012

Still Waters

Pretty much spent the entire weekend on the water. Helped with the running of a powerboat course on Saturday, and then sailed the Ent for the first race of the season at Frampton.

First race started at noon, and to say that there was but the barest whisper of wind would be a gross exaggeration of the conditions.

Twentyish boats started on a line that, with what little wind stirred, was so hugely biased as to essentially be a downwind start. Needless to say, there was pandemonium at the windward mark, which we navigated with good grace only to get caught out at the hook mark and forced to take a 720 after hanging ourselves between the gunwales of a couple of Lasers.

The drifting conditions persisted throughout the rest of the hour long race but, despite everything we still managed a not disrespectful 7th place.

The wind picked up literally as we crossed the finish line, as always, but uncharacteristically held for the start of the second. The line had significant port bias on it which we used to our advantage at the start by ducking the other two Ents on port then tracking over the line to take them both on starboard. The one cleared ahead but the other was forced to tack under us, so followed us around the windward mark.

Take your victories where you can. It didn't last and, despite keeping in touch with them both for the remainder of the race and, briefly, pulling ahead of the other for a leg and a half, they both crossed the finish ahead of us.

Overall, we took 10th place, literally stealing it from a British Moth in the last couple of seconds which is always fun. Not as good a result as the first race which was surprising as drifting conditions are so much more demanding. Guess the rest of the fleet finds that to be the case as well.


Friday 24 February 2012

Windy Plymouth

As feared, sailing was blown out last Saturday by a badly, badly timed cold front blasting through the Sound in the  afternoon. We did get to play with a big MCA coded offshore RIB though, so something new and at least I got on the water.

Started off with being called over to rescue a hapless  jetski. The guy was having trouble with the engine, the thing was shipping water and he was getting blown into the big boats moored against the outer breakwater of the nearby marina.


Fished him out and dropped him and the ski back at Mountbatten slip. Turns out it was his first time out on the ski. Interesting choice of weather conditions!

Live and learn I guess.

We then spent an hour practising slow maneuvers as the weather blew through and then took  the RIB out for a high speed, wave skipping blast around the Sound.

Very good fun.


Wednesday 22 February 2012


Late adopter me as always. I have belatedly discovered that, as far as keying words into a mobile is concerned, Swype is the dog's bollocks :)

Friday 17 February 2012

Hello Weekend

Happily ensconsed in a B&B in Plymouth, awaiting supper and looking forward to sailing tomorrow.

Slight dread inspired by the forecast, 23mph WSW gusting 40ish plus. Not worried about the wind, just worried they might decide not to let us sail .... :)

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Big Thaw

Okay, it's only been a couple of weeks of ice-lock, but already beginning to suffer severely from cabin fever. Sore throat, incessant, dry, hacking cough, congestion, mild fever AND I've pulled a hamstring. Though I think the latter was more from over-extending a kick whilst sparring at karate last night rather than consequent to being deprived from going afloat for any length of time.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Club webcam not only gives the impression that the water is now clear of ice, but there is actually somebody sailing on the lake as I type. Sucks that it's not me, but fantastic proof that the waters are liquid once more.

Actually, it's promising to be a fine weekend. My eternally patient, long suffering wife has given me leave to head down to Plymouth with Dad on Friday evening. There is an RYA Instructors Conference at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday. Conferences and all the socialising they inevitably involve are not really my thing, but after spending the morning drinking coffee and listening to all the dry stuff that the Conference is really about there are some afternoon on-the-water workshops planned.

Dad's signed up for one of the powerboating ones, and I've put my name down for the asymetrics session. No idea what it's going to involve as asymetrics are not my usual toy; if I'm sailing it and it's got more than two sails then the third is probably going to be a mizzen. However, it'll be a fun challenge to stretch myself with something I only so far have passing familiarity with, and I love sailing on Plymouth Sound, so any excuse will do!
The forecast for Saturday looks like it's going to be interesting however .....

I'm sure we'll cope. I'll be gutted if we travel all that way and then DON'T sail. I'm sure that won't happen, but there's always that little nagging doubt at the back of your mind, and whilst I'm quite happy with what a F5 looks like on our little lake here at home, quite what that translates to out on Plymouth Sound I have no idea.

So Friday is supper and a few pints with Dad at the Clovelly Inn in Plymouth, Saturday is bashing about in, presumabl,y Laser 2000's or Bahias on Plymouth Sound, then head back home Saturday night, ready to head down the Club for Sunday to get the Enterprise out for a play on the lake.

Which will be a step change from last Sunday at the lake, which was all dogs and no boats.


Blue meets Rocket Dog

Rocket Dog

Clearing the ice in preparation for next Sunday!


Friday 10 February 2012


And there it is, my lake, frozen and still, not a chance of that thawing out in time for Sunday.

Briefly toyed with the idea of trying to tempt Dad out onto the estuary with Ondine, but high tide is around 10:44am so it would be an early start and the forecast is suggesting cold and next to no wind, so I'm guessing that idea is out the window. Would have been different with an afternoon tide, but there you go.

So Plan B is to settle for a walk around the lake again. Only going to take the puppy, Lilly, this time however. She's at an age where, combined with the weight of our other dog (her mum, Jazz) they're big enough to pull me over. Add to that the fact that Lilly hasn't yet worked out that not every other dog approaching wants to play or be greeted by an over-enthusiastic adolescent German Shepherd, all the barking, pulling and lunging that then ensues unsettles Jazz and, to be frank, must be terribly intimidating for the strangers walking towards us.

So the end result is that I'm going to have to walk them seperately for the forseeable, until Lilly settles down and learns her place.

Snow on Snow

All this white stuff means my lake is still going to be frozen over this weekend.

Getting twitchy.

Not good.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

February on Ice

February. Not a fan of the month myself.

Sat on the cusp of another bout of man-flu and twitchy because the lake was frozen over this last weekend so I didn't get to sail the Ent. Mind you, if I'm twitchy, then I think my crew is positively rebelious with frustration.

I say crew, but actually our roles have been reversed since the last race on New Year's Day. She's been put forward by our Club for a place on the RYA Dinghy Instructor course they'll be running at the end of this coming summer, so I've been tasked with getting her boat handling up to scratch.

The outcome of this is that I'm playing crew and she's practicing on the helm, and she'll helm two out of the three Spring series coming up at Frampton. She'll do fine, but meanwhile we need to take every oportunity we can for practice, which isn't such a hardship as she's absolutely addicted to being out on the water and the cold, bleak midwinter is no deterent to her enthusiasm, so in that respect we're kindred spirits (and therefore equally bad for each other!)

So the freeze of last weekend was nothing short of a personal disaster. With luck, the water will thaw through the week despite the sub-zero evening tempretures, otherwise, I don't think we'll hear the end of it!

That said, even if the ice does draw back, the forecast is currenty suggesting the weekend wind is going to be pants anyway. Perfect excuse to go play with the Lasers perhaps. If our messing around with a Feva the other week was anything to go by, she needs a lot of centre-main practice, but there's every chance that anything stiffer than a light breeze will prove very, very wet!