Summer is Here

Today was a fantastic day. Nice, sunny and warm. I am sure there are going to be some rainy and horrible days, but I think that the cold weather is over. Today I sailed in shorts and t-shirt and I even took off my buoyancy aid, because it was too hot. I had to use sun-cream too!

I arrived at the Welsh Harp nice and early. There was some talk about Pete’s obvious absence. He was celebrating his 25th birthday, yesterday, and he had more pints than he could handle. It all started early at Hyde Park with a picnic at around 1 in the afternoon. I was arrived there at around 2:30 and the drinking was already under way. I ended up drinking a bottle of wine by myself and I don’t think that I was the heaviest drinker there!

Anyway, Pete wasn’t there but we still managed to get 11 Lasers on the water. I ‘ll be glad if we manage to get the fleet size to 15! Very light wind but I had a quite good start therefore I finished 4th!

On the second race, Pete had arrived, hangover, and he joined us. This time I had really bad start. I was on starboard at the pin end, which wasn’t the favoured end, but the wind had shifted and I didn’t have time to change my mind. I could just lay the line and as the gun went off, John came on port. I hailed, but it didn’t help his broken tiller extension. It definitely wasn’t his fault, but still it messed up my start. I tried to recover but it wasn’t easy. I was aiming for Charmian and two boys ahead of me. I manged to catch up with them but later on one of them slipped away and I was just chasing him. At some point there was an incident where we had just rounded the windward mark (number 2) on starboard and half the RS200 fleet where coming on port to round it. They had definitely seen us but they just charged towards us. I didn’t even have time to shout because I knew they had seen me and I didn’t expect them to ignore me.

Anyway, I managed to avoid any collisions and I went straight for number 1. As they were coming behind me, one of them shouted “starboard” to two Lasers who were coming behind me and as they panicked and got out of the way, they just laughed and cruised past. That’s bullying and I didn’t like it at all. I had a word with them after the race, but there was no conclusive result. Yes, I should had shouted “starboard”. The fact that I didn’t doesn’t mean that they should get in my way. It’s just that people will try to get away with it. That pisses me off. They will talk about gentleman and sportsman like behaviour, but they will try to get away with it.

I made it clear to them that I am not going to tolerate this any more. I have been sailing for a year and I am not going to be intimidated. I will stand my ground and if turns out I am in the wrong, I will happily resign from the race. I will not be pushed around by bullies.

Finally, I defended my position and finished 8th out of 12. Not a great result, but I think that during this summer because of the light winds I won’t be “sailing for survival” as I was doing during winter, so I will have time to improve my technique and climb up the fleet. Then again, maybe everybody else will improve with me and I will end up in the same position. I don’t know, we’ll see. What I know is that last summer I was capsizing in conditions that I shouldn’t due to lack of experience. So, I learnt how to avoid the simple mistakes during the summer and I could sail better during winter. Now, I think I will have the chance to work on tactics and boat trim, since I won’t be fighting to keep the boat flat. Time will tell.