It was a fairly bleak affair on Sunday with the weather gods not shining on our sailing at all! The morning looked promising, but I was tied up with family duties till 12 noon, racing starts at 1 pm, so I only got down to the club at 12.45 just after Bill Gillham, Ian James and Clayton Erwin all arrived. Bruce Lee had rigged up, but with dark clouds rolling in, Rob Hermans our RC Sailing, agreed to delay our first race to see what eventuated. There were only 2 or 3 Lasers, a Spiral and a Mirror making up the fleets for the day.
So we all got rigged in quick time and headed out in rain showers, light winds only, swinging between West and South West. It was a combined fleet start, two windward and return legs through the gate/start/finish in the middle of the course. In my rush to get down to the club, I had left my watch at home, so no problem, I figured that Clayton would be right up at the start, so I just tracked him, stayed to windward, got a little puff as a gap opened up at the boat end on a starboard start – Clayton could have pushed me up off the start line, but graciously let me in, so I had a lucky break on the Sabres who were all well down to leeward. Some more lucky swings to the West allowed me to get to the top mark just behind a full rig laser, with Clayton right behind me. I was passed on the run by Clayton, then Bill and Ian – note to self: “must lose more weight.”
The order stayed the same until the last leg. I was still just behind Bill and Ian, held on to port tack a little longer than them, worked out to windward more, then got another lucky Westerly shift to lay the finish line behind Clayton, just ahead of Bill, then Ian with Bruce Lee fifth.
Some mark shifting by the start boat to allow for the westerly bias was followed by ever reducing wind strength and steady rain for the second race. The start was a drifter, with the out flowing current pushing Bill (I think) over the line early. I was late, but it didn’t matter, I was drifting faster and drifted up to Clayton, but Ian had the best start and drifted around the top mark first. I was starting to drift past the mark, behind Ian and Clayton. Bill passed me and at that point I decided to let everything off and wait for any breeze. A zephyr came along from the East after a long wait, but everyone else got it first, so a frustratingly slow race of sorts ended with Ian first, then Bill, Clayton, myself and Bruce fifth again.
Rain fell steadily the whole time and Bill borrowed my sponge to remove ever increasing water levels in his boat – sails make great rain catchers don’t they? I got that sponge back ….. After the race that is! But that’s ok, Bill needed it more than I did.
It was great to have the PDSC visitors down at the club, and although it was not a great day for sailing, it was a most unusual experience in light weather sailing and sailed in good spirit too. Better than staying home and watching the Dockers anyway.
Chris 1671 Estoile