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4th Sail 22nd May

Well WindGuru predicted some dreadful winds of 5-7 knots right up until the day before the sail, when it was suggesting 10, progressing to 14 in the afternoon.


Today is novice race day!! Hooray!! We were definitely up for some racing; and having mastered the gennaker in very light winds, felt sure that slightly better winds would add pace to our big boat with a helm and 2 crew, giving us the advantage we needed.


We spent a couple of hours in the morning again practising with the gennaker. Winds were a bit gusty, with a prevailing wind of maybe 9-11 knots and gusting to a whopping 12-14! Hmmm. So we went from pulling some speed with the gennaker to having a floppy deflated balloon draped stylishly across the front of the boat!


Stopped for sandwiches in the sun! Then had the race breifing, got back to the boat to launch 15mins before the race start. Put up the main, sweated it a little to get some tension in then- SNAP!! Yep the line running up the mast pulling the main up had snapped!! How blooming typical! Luckily (aways a silver lining) the rope had snapped maybe 6inches from the end, meaning the line was still useful and wouldn't need replacing, however we would need to rethread the line and tie it off on the halyard again. No problem, except the the line runs to the top of the mast and we only have now 10mins to the start of the race!!


We needed to get the mast down first, but didn't think we wwould have time for a full derig, so we just took off the boom, lower shouds, dropped the jib but left it connected, then dropped the mast. Once down we now had about 5mins until the first flag went up (indicating 6mins to the start), so in realtime we had a spacious 11mins still to go. We then tried to thread the line up the mast- not easy when you're in a hurry, but eventually with a handy sailing pen knife/pliers we got it through (time to start horn- 5mins), retied and then got the mast backup (Horn went). We launched immediately, trying not to be too short with the well meaning passers by who were making conversation! And we joined the pack at the back! Phew!!


One thing to watch out for, of you have the jib furled on launch (as we did) take care as the gennaker line tends to get wrapped around it when unwinding. We had to re-furl a couple of times before the line was free.


So off we went. The first strech was a beat, then beared right around the first bouy on to a beam reach. We thought we could risk the gennaker on this stretch and launched...worked very well, made up some time and as the wind was s0-so there wasn't too much drag at all. we then hit the next leg on a down wind run. Again the gennnaker was pretty good. Not so wisely we then decided to see if the wind was kind enough to use it on the next leg which was braod reachy/runny, but the drag was great and although there was power in the sail we were fighting it and the sailing wasn't as effecient. We discussed bearing away to get better use of the gennaker, but to do this would have meant beating to the next mark, whereas if we dropped the gennaker we could make the next mark with ease on the broad reach.


Running out of battery life on the laptop, so cutting long story short...we didn't win.