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First Sail of 2011

Temperature 11°C sunny but fierce winds average 19 knots with gusts in excess of 30 knots. The water was very cold at 4°C with the largest waves I have seen on the reservoir.
Not possible to easily launch stern first as is usual. Instead pulled trolley into the water and turned into the wind to keep boat stable.  The wind strength determined that we set off with a reefed mainsail

Sub Zero win for Xenon 5859

Day started cold (-4°C) and later warmed to +1°C.  Wind was very light at 4 knots with very little by way of gusts.  Light wind sailing techniques were all important, keeping as much weight as possible forward when going upwind.

Racing with a GPS tracker

Racing again although our speed made the term one of misrepresentation. One of the lightest wind sailings I have done. Difficult to launch the gennaker and difficult to keep it flying..  It was a relatively cold day 10C, and the lack of physical jumping about encouraged the cold to seep in during the morning.
 
In the upwind sections we concentrated on keeping our weight forward.  In the first two races in the morning there was no hiking needed. Indeed for some of the time we were sitting opposite each other simply keeping balance and doing our best to tilt the Xenon to reduce the wetted area.
Notwithstanding the poor winds we looked to be very near to the front, although we have yet to see the official results.
In the afternoon the winds increased to a max of 12 knots and this provided a little more excitement and we may even have won the afternoon race amidst the pouring rain.

A race a crash and a collision

Started sunny and cold 4C. Wind gradually rising through the morning reaching a max of 12 knots but with strong gusts up to 23 knots.

Set out to race.  The course set was relatively short with a windward leg and downwind run. The reservoir was a little choppy and plenty of light wind flurries sprinkled with some stronger blows. Most difficult was the downwind runs using the gennaker. No problems in launching but wind changes in strength and direction required concentration by both helm and crew..

First race initially went well but on the end of the downwind leg we gybed with the gennaker in fairly strong wind conditions. The gybe appeared to be successful if a little vicious. The Xenon was almost stable when a strong gust and change of wind direction took us over.  No time to react. We both ended up on the centreboard discussing who was to get into the water to free the gennaker!

Big Brother is watching you !

We tried out an interesting little iPhone App which tracks your path as a set of GPS points while you are sailing. The app is called motionX GPS and there is a free version from the App Store. It allows you to record your path to the phone, then email it to your address including the points as an attachment.

Unfortunately Saturday was an extremely light winds day but we were able to track the line you see on this map.

Saturday Afternoon Pleasure

Lovely afternoon, initially very sunny and warm (11C). Light wind 10 knots fairly consistent although plenty of wind shifts. Intention was to practice Gennaker handling.

 

First hurdle was rigging the gennaker. This gave rise, yet again, to some discussion and a few changes but in the end we were content that we had it right. When I have found the perfect method I will publish it on the site but until then I will lay low.

Another lesson in racing

The long range forecast (Windguru) promised Force 6 winds and consequently we made arrangements to cancel our racing if necessary. On the day the wind speed was a 9 knot maximum!! We may be better off using pine cones! Last weeks provisional results showed us 1st and 2nd in the two races, beating some RS400s both on handicap and physically. The Xenon Dinghy is a force to be reckoned with. Two Xenons were on the Start line for this race and we hoped to repeat last weeks performance.

 

More Gennaker practice and a Man Overboard

Wednesday sailing. Lovely sunny day but a relatively cold 10°C.  North Wind max 11 knots but very variable sometimes by 180°.
3 of us sailing. Morning sail went well, practiced running the Gennaker which worked well. Also practised sailing with Jib tell-tales flying parallel.  All agreed this worked extremely well. We also took the opportunity to re run the race course of last Sunday as the wind was almost in the same direction. During the afternoon the wind both strengthened and began to veer westerly. We sometimes reacted too slowly to a sudden beam gust, failing to turn the dinghy downwind before the gennaker pulled us over.   Plenty of righting practice today all due to our gennaker handling. 3 capsizes in total including a man-overboard pick up that suggested another area where more practice is needed.

A trio of Xenons

We were particularly looking forward to todays racing as we knew that there would be three Xenons on the Fast handicap start line.  Taking advantage of several Xenons on show we planned to take some pictures from the shore and do a bit of filming. Some of the photos etc will appear in this blog and the site gallery but disappointingly the wind direction forced the Start line far away from the camera position and this prevented us from getting the action shots we were hoping for.

The Commodores Trophy

Commodores Trophy Racing Day is an annual event at Bewl Valley SC. Entrance fee £6 per boat and all proceeds go to the RNLI.  The race attracted both very young and very old and a variety of dinghies. The day was overcast and rather cold 10C. NNW wind 12 knots average but gusting to 23 knots. Some rain showers. Total of 3 races. Two in the morning and one in the afternoon. One discard.

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