Yeap! You guessed right. Today I had my first experience in dinghy racing. But let’s start from the beginning. Today I wouldn’t sail with Kelly, because she would be racing. So I went to the club and was hoping that either someone would be looking for crew, or I would sail on my own. It was decided that I would sail a Laser.

The Laser class is one of the most successful in international sailing. The Laser is the most basic form of a boat. A hull and sail. That’s it.

Right that moment someone came who was looking for a crew to race. They introduced me to her and the only thing she asked me was if I had my kit with me (until that moment I was in jeans and t-shirt). Within minutes we were rigging her Merlin Rocket. A really nice boat, all made of wood and very well kept. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side. There was hardly any wind. At moments no wind at all and if you add the fact that the Harp has some “dead spots”, it was a nightmare. While we were racing, at some point, I said: “It’s painfully slow”. And it was. The Merlin doesn’t have enough space for the crew. For someone big like me it was really painful. Kelly who was crewing in another Merlin, told me that it was difficult even for her (and I can assure you, she is not big at all). My help decided that she could not be bothered to finish the race and we dropped out.

At the second race, things started looking better. The wind had picked up a bit. We push the boat out get in only to realise that we had lost the racing watch. A racing watch helps a lot with starting a race. After a bit of a panic we managed to sort it out by using my wrist-watch’s stopwatch. Ten minutes into the race and the wind slowed down again. An hour and a quarter after we started, we found ourselves in a dead spot of the lake with no wind at all. We were so frustrated we decided to drop the race again and paddle back. Racing wasn’t as exciting as I expected it but I learned how to use the spinnaker.

Later in the afternoon the wind got stronger and I went cruising with Martin in his GP14. This time I helmed. I did quite well actually and Martin gave me instructions and explained to me how some things work, little details, helped me improve my tacking and gybing, etc. I enjoyed it quite a lot. After we finished we pulled the boat in, had a shower and bought Martin a drink.

I sat in the bar for a quite a while to wind down since Lydia, my other half, was working today and she was not waiting at home in her own. Everyone was chatty and giving me advice. I know I say it all the time, but the people at he club are very nice. They all make me feel comfortable. At some point we talked about the BTYC incident and most of them said that it doesn’t have anything to do with the club, but those few people that approached me. Anyway, I don’t really care.

On Wednesday I am meeting Kelly, again at the Harp.