If you don’t have a boat, buy one! No, really, if you are into dinghy racing or even just sailing and you don’t already own a boat, go buy one now. Today I felt so comfortable in my Laser, that made the whole thing feel so much better. I know that it’s mainly psychological but having my own boat, means that I rig it the way I want it. If there is something wrong, I will fix it and make sure it works OK and the controls is where and how I want them. But let’s start from the beginning.
This morning the weather didn’t look that great. It was cloudy and windy. It looked like it would rain and I was quite worried because I don’t really like gusts. It turned out that it didn’t really rain, at least not while we were racing, and the wind was quite constant with not many gusts. I arrived at the club at around 9:30. Having my own boat means that I can do that. Before I had to arrive earlier. I even had time to replace the mainsheet on my Laser. I bought a new mainsheet, because the old mainsheet was made of natural fibres it was absorbing too much water, and in light winds it would pull the sail in. On top of that it was too thick and worn out in places. I replaced it and I put the old mainsheet in the other club Laser that has a very short mainsheet.
I went out towards the start line and apparently there was a problem with the Marlin Rockets’ start. There was a general recall but they didn’t realise it, so they had to be called back and the whole process got complicated. They decided to initiate the start sequence from the beginning. My start, once again, wasn’t great but not bad either. I was second before last and the boat behind me was closing on me. I was fighting hard and I was doing quite well in keeping him back.
As I rounded the leeward mark destruction struck! After the gybe the transom blocks got stuck again on the windward side of the boat. It’s the duck tape that holds them together. It is worn out and the two blocks get stuck there. By the time I got them unstuck he had sailed past me. That was it. I didn’t manage to recover. I even fell further behind. I got quite pissed off with that and it happened twice more, so I didn’t really have the patience and mind to sail well enough. Anyway, I finished last.
On the second race things started a bit better. I had a really good start and I was within the fleet. I rounded the leeward mark third from last. On the upwind leg I lost a place and at some I capsized. It was a dry capsize and I managed to recover quickly. I got back a place on the downwind leg and I managed to capsize once again after I rounded the leeward mark. Once again I recovered quite quickly but I was last again. I wanted to regain the place I had lost but I was too pissed off. I finished last again. I was not very happy with the results but generally speaking I was happy.
We had quite a laugh today. A certain Merlin Rocket helm, while watching his crew sorting out a spinnaker that was wrapped around the forestay, managed to wrap his boat around the committee boat. I know it’s not right laughing with other peoples misfortunes and maybe I had more then my fair share of them, but shouting at the race officer is definitely not right. I mean the committee boat is anchored and during the start sequence all boats are in that area. You have to keep your eyes open all the time. On another equally funny note, in a column in the local newspaper that a club member writes, mentioned that the Merlin Rocket fleet has been small because people have families and are being on holidays, etc. but the Laser fleet is big because Laser sailors are single! Can you believe that?
My answer to that is: There is a certain part of the Merlin Rocket fleet that behaves in a very arrogant manner towards any other class sailor, and unfortunately some of them have reached a point were they should realise what they can do and what they cannot do. It’s not a bad idea to slow down if you have to. Needless to say, I understand why people call the Merlin Rocket the boat with the Zimmer frame.
Although, I finished last at both races, I was feeling quite comfortable in my Laser. The controls are all in the place you expect them to be. At some point during the second race while I was beating I was trying to pull the outhaul but it was impossible to pull. I thought that the best time to put the outhaul on would be while tacking and after I had the kicker off. So, while I had the mainsheet full in just before the tack, I let the kicker off and as I got into the tack I got hold of the outhaul line and pulled as the sail was flapping over my head. I completed the tack and this time I had managed to de-power the rig and keep the boat more upright and point higher. I hadn’t thought anything like that while I was sailing club boats. Simply because the boat is always different, the rigging is different and the while rig is different.
So in case you didn’t realise what I said, here it is again:
If you don’t have a boat, go and buy one yesterday.