Wednesday Sep 17, 2008

Helford River

So I got the boat down, and managed to go sailing in and around the Helford river in Cornwall. It was absolutely awesome. On the day the picture was taken, the wind was pretty light and so I decided to brave going out single handed. Even got the asymmetric out on the downwind leg.

Sunday Aug 17, 2008

No, I haven't stopped sailing

I've not blogged about sailing in some time. Its not that I've not been Sailing. Its more due to me not blogging enough. I'm going to try and do a weekly recreational blog. (Watch me fail).

Since my last post, I've been helping out at my local Sailing Club (Burghfield Sailing Club)
with their Oppie Club. My oldest daughter got quite into it, and I got her an old wooden Oppie called Major Tom. Here's me sailing it.

As you can see, it's for kids, not adults. (And yes, I did eventually pick up the kid swimming behind the boat).

I've gotten a lot better sailing my Laser 2000, and have been trying to take part in the Wednesday Evening Pursuit races that take place during the Summer at the club. (On Wednesday evenings, funnily enough). I actually came first in one of them this year, and pretty happy with my progress.

Last week we were doing pretty well in quite windy conditions (I think we were 4th or 5th with 15 mins to go), when my main halyard broke, resulting in me having to DNF. The bigger problem was that we're taking the boat down to Cornwall on holiday next week, so I had to get it fixed pretty quickly. This weekend, I spent Saturday morning down at the Sailing club taking the mast down, and feeding a piece of wire up the inside of the mast, and rerunning the old main halyard. (This is harder than it sounds) The Chandlery at the Sailing Club was closed (the owners had a day at the races at Ascot or something) so I couldn't get a new halyard. Felt I might as well run the old rope, and once it's in, its easy enough to replace without having to take the mast down. On Sunday, today, they were open, so I was able to replace the old rope with a nice shiny new halyard.

It's also the first time I'll be towing the boat anywhere, so I also needed to get a couple of towing essentials for the trip. (Fortunately the family car has a towbar). I've decided to play it safe and get a new Jib Halyard as well, as it is also about 8 years old. A trip to the LaserDirect and £100 pounds later, I've got a bunch of stuff coming, hopefully by Wednesday this week, which will give me enough time to fit before setting off on the weekend.

It's also the first time that we'll be taking the L2K onto the open water. The place we've rented is in a sheltered cove, so we don't HAVE to go to sea, but it might be fun to go out for a laugh.

If this is my last ever blog post, you can guess what happened.

Tuesday Sep 06, 2005

Summer Sailing

How to Kill a Burgee

I've spent the last half of the summer learning how to sail a Laser 2000. I used to sail a lot in my younger years, both on dinghys and on larger boats, but never with an asymmetric spinnaker.

Its hard....

Well, it takes a lot of getting used to. Basically, with a standard spinnaker (which has a pole that you can move a full 90 degrees between the forestay and the mast shrouds), you can sail with the wind pretty much anywhere from behind, all the way to kind of on the side. With an asymmetric spinnaker, your pole is NOT adjustable and sticks out the front. (i.e. kind of like a normal spinnaker with the pole against the forestay.)

This reduces the effective angles that you can efficiently sail with the asymmetric spinnaker. Then you need to add the complication of apparent wind (which windsurfers know ALL about), which means that once you start planing and moving faster, the apparent wind moves forward, which means you need to pull in more spinnaker, or bear off or both. (Normally you want to bear off because you are typically trying to get as downwind as possible on most legs when you are racing.)

If there's 2 of you on the boat, there's one person on the main and tiller, and one person on the spinnaker, and it requires an almost unspoken understanding of what to do to make this work well, especially if the winds are .... brisk.

If you're sailing with your 12 year old daughter who doesn't quite understand spinnakers yet, then its often easier to do the main, tiller and spinnaker yourself. (Advantages: no need for communication between the spinnaker guy and the tiller guy. Disadvantages: Its almost impossible to let out the spinnaker AND the main AND bear off when a gust hits you. Result: Dirty Sail

Yes. We capsized, and then because my daughter insisted on clinging onto the boat because she didn't want to get wet, the mast went under, the wind blew the hull and the mast sailed downward, and we spent a pleasant 10 minutes sitting on the centreboard with the top of the mast happily burying itself deeper and deeper into the mud. We eventually got pulled out by a rescue boat, and then spent the next 30 minutes sailing back to the clubhouse with globs of mud dripping from the mainsail onto our heads.

In the picture you can see the remnants of the mud sticking to the top of the sail, and a very limp burgee which is not in its normal position. :-)

(I've now got a purple one which matches the colour of the hull, the owner of the chandlery at the Sailing club does a very brisk trade in them as the water in the lake is pretty shallow)





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