What do you think is the sort of weather that best suits introducing first timers to sailing? Do you think it’s one of those perfect lazy sunny days with the wind steadily wafting in from the north east at around 10 knots. The sort of day when there is time to point out the finer things of sailing, where all the ropes go and what they do, what a cleat does and how to us it, which way a winch turns and how to tie a bowline, why you cannot sail straight in to the wind and how to set sails, the type of conditions that allows a person time to gain their sea legs.
Sounds good doesn’t it? But when you think about it that description of perfect conditions does not happen very often, it’s rarely just right. As I have been reliably informed (by the PKSC table of knowledge brains trust, which is where I get most of my important decision making information, sailing isn’t about only going out in perfect weather all about adapting the best you can to the conditions on the day (at least better than your competition you hope). Conditions often change during the course of a race anyway, so why should we think otherwise.
Getting back to the point I was hoping to make, I reckon that the weather on Saturday could not have been much further from the mythical perfect conditions. Starting off drizzling with rain, temperature maxing out at 15 degrees and wind gusts up around 30 knots from the South (according to Holfuy). It was an important championship race as well so there were no doubts about heading out into it. Added to that mix was Jess and Allen, brand new people to the club and new to sailing that we were about to expose to the “joy of sailing”. Rossterered Off with the experienced skipper Jim and accomplished crew of Richard, Shaun and Oscar aboard taking on Alan for his first time sailing, and Frou Frou with Stephen, Andy and me aboard taking on Jess for her first time on a TY.
Spare a thought also for Barry and Ray our duty boat crew for today’s race. Conditions were particularly challenging for a duty crew and they were in the middle of it laying course marks, setting the start line (a very good one I would like to say), keeping an eye out for our safety, rendering assistance to upturned boats and generally getting soaking wet bouncing around in the waves. Thanks Barry and Ray for you dedication. It is much appreciated.
There were waves across Frou Frou’s bow as well plus some less than perfectly planned and executed tacks and jibes, and, a few exciting reaches and downwind runs that stretched our combined sailing skills. The good thing is that Frou Frou’s very considerate crew blocked most of the white water and wind thereby keeping me dry and warm.
On the second last work of the race Rosstered Off decided she had had enough of the nasty conditions. Her gooseneck failed leaving her boom flailing around the heads of those aboard. That was the end of her race. Frou Frou continued but decided to retire before finishing. So there you go, another Saturday race without finishers.
What amazed me was that Jess and Alan thought it was all great fun and have committed to returning for next Saturdays race . Perhaps ignorance is bliss, but I think sailing is contagious. Jess and Alan have been infected by the sailing bug and the experience can only improve for them from here.
The end Trev