Safety Boat Duty & Boat Tests

Today I was on safety boat duty. I took my camera with me to take some photos. The wind was just over 10 knots, so there were no dramatic life saving scenes worth writing about. It was a bit fluky, though and pissed people off. After the races I rigged Bubble to take her out for a spin.

Steve and Pete would coach James and I thought that I could benefit from that too. We talked about it with Steve and we decided to do some boat testing. We took our boats out and we did a short race. Then we swapped boats and we raced again in order to see how much my tatty sail slows me down. The result was quite interesting. On the first “race” he charged ahead and I couldn’t catch up with him. On the second “race” (after we swapped boats) I could follow him close behind although I was on his dirty wind. It felt quite uncomfortable though. His boat was to twitchy and I couldn’t relax in it. The slightest move would make it change direction. It was too stiff.

When I told him he said that Bubble seemed to him too “soft” and flexy. He said that the problem was the tiler extension. Mine is not stiff enough and the joint is too shaky. So I suggested we stay on each other’s boat, but we swap rudders, tillers and tiller extensions. So I had my steering and he had his steering. We had another “race” and I felt like I was back in Bubble and he felt like he was back in his boat (strange, for a man that likes to name things he has a boat with no name). This time I was even faster.

On the first race he finished 38 seconds before me, and on the second race that came down to 24. I am sure if I was in Bubble with his sail I could do even better. You see, his control lines (cunningham, outhaul) are on opposite sides compared to mine. So for the short course we had, I needed to make adjustments quickly and I ended up doing the wrong things. His boat has small deck cleats which are almost unusable for a 6mm sheet. Mine are medium and I use them all the time. Anyway, later on he told me that my gudgeons were worn out and the rudder had loads of “play” in them.

So, I have ordered a set of gudgeons, and I had bought already a tiller joint. I had also ordered an aluminium tube for tiller extension. Hopefully they will arrive soon, so I can put them together and test everything on Sunday. I’ll let you know how it goes.

On Saturday I am going to be at the Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace.