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2nd Sail: 5th April 2010

Went down to Bewl Water on bank holiday Easter Monday. Me, my brother and my dad were going to do a bit of sailing in the morning then catch up with the family to take part in the afternoon Easter events (face painting, egg throwing, Easter fancy dress, Easter egg hunt etc.-must point out that between me and my brother we have 4 kids)!


So the three of us headed off fairly early expecting a good sail. Winds of about 15knots with gusts of 21knots were predicted by As always, while we get the trailer hooked on the car before leaving, we look at the tops of the trees and grumpily remark on the fact that they aren't moving, why aren't they moving, will they be moving later? and as always we conclude, I'm sure there's more wind on the water!!


We arrived at Bewl, the slipway was pretty deserted which we are always pleased about- lots of water to ourselves and no one to see us if we turn the boat over! Rigging was pretty slick if I do say so myself. Last time with the lowers we used the metal shroud adjusters (similar to the ones that come with the uppers), but this time to give a little more play we added the D shackles on, which gave an extra 2cms each side. This worked a treat, but didn't leave any room for adjustment, so we've decided if we get hold of some longer D shackles of 4cm, this will give us plenty of rooom for using the fine adjument on the shroud adjuster.


As predicted, wind was feeling alot better than it was at home, there was quite a breeze building (around 15knots). We decided not to ring the gennaker as the winds were looking to be a little strong and unpredictable so we bottle out of that. Allthough we did note that there is a novice race on 22nd May 2010 at Bewl Valley Sailing Club so we maybe a little out of practice with the gennaker when that date comes around. Incidentally the novice race is for anyone that hasn't won a race at Bewl before, so if any fellow Xenon's wwould like to turn up it woould be awesome to have some like for like competition!!


We decided to rig the main on land (we tend to usually do this on the water as per iinstruction when we were starting out, but it seems fairly standard to rig on land and as long as you make sure the boat is head to wind the massive sail area isn't too much of a problem).


The wind was AWESOME! The boat was AWESOME! It was a fantastic morning of sailing. I don't know that we got the boat plaining, I think the winds were too inconsistent to get a steady speed with the boat flat, but we really were going some at times! The Xenon is a very responsive boat and when we were new to it last year (having only sailed Laser 2000 club boats and the odd other brand here and there) the boat felt a bit lively at first appearance, but the more you get to know the Xenon the more enjoy the fine control you can have over it- pulling in the power, gently spilling the wind to maintain a flat boat. Something fellow Xenoners (my word - sorry) will probably have come up against is weather helm. Basically, when the Xenon begins to keel over in the wind, the boat unavoidably turns into the wind regardless of your tiller use. The only way to avoid this is to keep the boat level and therefore spilling the wind to lose the power is the only way to rectify this. To improve our performance in the strong winds we bought my dad a trapeze kit and harness for Christmas, so we'll hopefully give that a crack on our next outing and see how that helps things- hoping for more speed! We've also noticed at speed a slight hum caused by vibration possibly from the rudder, possibly from the centre board- we're not worried yet, but I like to know where the noises are coming from!


We've found that the cleat on the main sheet is a little on the sticky side. My dad had a run in with it when a gust came along and the cleat just didn't want to let go, we heard the familar panicked cry 'It won't uncleat! It won't uncleat', fortunately this time it wasn't followed by a splash!! He just managed to uncleat at the last minute! We VERY nearly went in a second time and I won't embarrass dad by pointing out that it is bad practice to let go of the main whilst sailing in high winds!


Apart from legs aching from a good deal of hiking out, the morning sail was spot on! I was slightly dissappointed not to be able to get back in the boat for the afternoon! But with exciting Easter events that included my brother throwing eggs in my face (an accident apparently-just like me dunking him in next time we sail...can you have premeditated accidents?)!


We'll certainly be sailing on 22nd May 2010 in the novice race, but maybe will get another one in before hand. I'm looking forward to it already!