Well it apinnahe annual end of season Lobster regatta held here, nice and early this year, I seem to remember doing it almost in the middle of October one year in force six and more.
Before the Race…………..
Decision to race springs to mind. The spreaders looked a little out of line and the mast was squint to one side when I sighted up it, so that has to be addressed. Then I need to put a full stop at over 25 knt gusts due to the mast being a big wood twig, and my crew potentially being one inexperienced sailor.
Then there is boat prep and checks. Firstly scrubbing along the keel foot and around the aft waterline. The boat was hummng at max speed in light airs, so something is not right on the keel. The boat wants to wander to windward with a centred tiller, suggesting that also may be an issue.
Jobs and Thoughts On Boat Set Up
Tie Spinne Bag down
Bail her twice this week
Move the antique bronze jib cars back
Check out Jib position and cunningham
Check out the backstay operation
Have a hauling line ready for the kite with a timber hitch in mind
Forecast and Strategic Thinking
So far the forecast is for a middle to bigish wind from the east, which often trains along the coast a little to be a ENE, but since it is blowing harder then it maybe an onshore due east right enough.
This means a potential for a lift on port near the islands, but more importantly there will be a massive favoured tack out to the NE where the marks lie.On return it is likely to be the same , a long gybe which is the shortest way.
Despite the biggish wind, tide will still be crucial because boat speed is just 5 knots up wind, and tide can be 2knts. Despite a paltry 40 cm or so tidal range last two weeks, the fjords funneled it up to a whopping 2 knts or even more in the key funnels. I would suppose after a look at wind agin tide that ebb and flow funnel differently
An easterly then favours a long porcession with a flood tide or slack, on a single tack, while against tide it makes for a middle route perhaps over the shallower ridge there. The gust pattern will also make for a RHS bias as they will reach there first.
A tight reach back will mean no spinnaker work until beyond the sound if they set a sensible inside the island belt leeward mark. There is no point trying to hold and falling off onto a much longer course.
Getting off the start on time and out of trouble will be the biggest deal for me, and than means a combination of burn time and getting a lane with 1 minute to go. Eye on the clock and burn time out, lane in, go! The jostle for position is 45 seconds out, a line behind the line and then it is power on at some point there after. Despite more wind these boats take time to work up to speed and max pointing.
The Race on The Day
Always say you are learning and believe it!
I was eminently happy to hand the helm of C110 over to the Owner, only to have him do exactly the same mistake I usually make, getting too far ‘south’ of the start line and working back up to the fleet rather than being in the fleet.
It was blowing 18 to 28 somewhere around top of 5 to 6 in the gusts. We gained on the fleet very well starting at a good point on the line, it being a super biased permanent set line. Soon we were nipping at their heels, there was an odd wind-tide effect at the ‘narrows’ north east of the town, which would repeat itself later. Hmmm, somethign to learn. Funny winds. A divergence LHS going down?
We continued to gain on the fleet up beyond the narrows when the going got bouncy. It is ‘innaskjaers’ inside the mini hebridean belt that is to say, but there was lumpy chop and some wind against tide in places. Enough to render the boat wetter than a laser!
We made a tighter rounding which took in yet more boat lenghts and got us uip in the fleet, with only the best boat really streching its legs on everyone by this time. The coast along the north looked a poorer bet than the main channel from Grunholmen so we went out to see if it was better and it was. More even wind and a series of lifts with the gusts and more wind in the lulls. Now we were mixing it with three or four boats possible scalps. There is an angle beyond which convergence/divergence does not work the same. Nearer right angles, and an on shore wind lifts off the water ahead of the land.
Then they all but one got away and we were left chasing on the longer run now down to Finnoya. Spinnie not set we took time to get it going but to no loss what so ever, but it did add to our speed and we crept closer.One learning here, the kite is small enough to ‘right side’ it round the forestay. STB roundings you see, silly me rigging it for the Port Handers they had promised shore.
Ahead of two boat perhaps, good rounding and off to Little Denmark- no not 67 nbautical miles over the sea, but part of our mini hebrides. We lost our placing on the rounding and hesitating with spinnaker and where to go. The wind was funny towards the narrows, why? I dont know, ask Kevin Turvey. Probably divergence, we may have slowed up because of the tide I wasnt paying attention to in the forecasts.
Tide was actually not much of a feauture I believe, high tide being about 1345 or so, end of the flood helping us up the sound. However even in a blow, the great bucket carrying you is still worth considering.
So securing last place bar one Maxi 77. But this time we were no slower than most all the fleet and apart from the start good positioning. Okay the compass was not in use.
Good to get a sail in, glad he huckled me to come
Well starts are a lot of the gamne and this was an aweful 45 second late job. But we had speed and free wind so gained on the fleet.
When disucssing tacking on shifts, a realisation came to me. These boats are just not tactical boats. They demand so much to just keep them going, that close tacking and match racing is crazy. They need so much to just get going and keep going, That is the game.
Is that my game? Well it is a bit like HC racing in fact. You need to sail in your own wind. Is it my game? Well not really, but I have enjoyed my sails a lot, and it is all learning, tidal strategy being good, looking at wind strategy and so on.
I also see this in a lot of classic racing I have been out in or spectated at. The boats take a long time to get to speed and need working up and down from the wind and the gusts. You need to get off the start and sail in your own wind, and know each boats quirks and your own weight , style and so on. We sailed high and it paid, where as if I had been helming I would have sailed lower for the waves and actively sheeted. We sat rather nicely with a slight pinch and speed was ok, pointing was really good. However gain was not that fantastic.
So my bkeyblearning is to drop the ‘tactical strategy’ of boat on boat match racing, and get used to a free lane on the start and maintaining free air, min or max tidal current and keepoing speed above keel fly speed. the tactic is then placing the boat in free air or putting the boat between the fleet or follower and the mark or finish line.
I enjoyed it but I have a realisation about this classic style and keepoing the keel -fly speed going.
longer jiub sheets by 50 cm each side
Loctite on grub screws for rudder stock
Spinnaker pole bungee replaced with an eye or ring for down haul
( longer down haul spinnakerr pole)
Thicker spinnaker sheets.
Scrub base of keel
Rudder stock gland fix
Rudder blade exa ination for wharped trailin edge.