Skandia Team GBR

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Proper Soul Sailing

Today I sailed for the hell of it; for the damn pure enjoyment of it and it feels damned good.

Let me tell you about my day... I've been thinking that in my present sailing circumstances that I don't know how long more the Enterprise "fun-trip" will be going for...hopefully ages, but I just don't know. Claire suggested that I get out on my dad's Solo, go for a thrash, have a sail.... so today thats what I did.

I went over to Draycote this afternoon the wind was good this morning but had died this afternoon.. plan was to go and do the second race in the Solo and then take my kids out for a little sail as well..

So we got there boat was rigged, dad had had a fairly good first race, my old mate/arch-enemy (Richard Pie) was also sailing so this was gonna be a good sail... as I sailed out to the start I sailed past 3 other Solo's, all being helmed by guys I sailed against/with or near 15 years ago, all of them with kids in the boat giving them a jolly between races, funny how life goes full circle!

So the race was OK, just about enuff breeze and I soon settled into not having a crew/James to tell me what to do, balance the boat, discuss tactics and have a laugh with, but for an hour I'll cope... Start was OK, some guy was deffinately over but didn't get caught, I had good boat speed and sailed fairly fast off the line breaking out of his shadow... things looked ok, but by 1/2 way up the first beat and I hit some crap breeze, did a bad tack and things starte dlooking less positive... Greg Irish (and son) crept ahead, Rich Pie (less son) was striking out a lead and the other 8 or so I mean Solo's were bunching up behind me.. managed to get some breeze and the boat moved well and I snuck into 2nd place round the windward mark with a pack of 4 or 5 boats chasing hard in the faltering breeze...

BTW it was great weather...warm, sunny and Draycote looks great in the sun (and actually when its F5 and snowing!).. the rest of the race was pretty much a procession... i was enjoying being singlehanded and sailing my Dads Solo, reminded me of when I used to do the Wednesday evening series in my lat years in an Oppy...great fun!

Looking at the picture in this post there seems to be a hell of a lot of mast rake..maybe its just my eyes... still boat speed was fine today...

So that was that, managed to catch a fair bit of distance up on Rich mid way through the race, but then he pulled out again and won convincingly and I was second and very happy...

So into shore, and youngest son (3) was ready for a yacht... poped him in and off we went... he sat in the bow for a while and then braved coming into the boat proper..

1. had a helm
2. did a gybe
3. banged his head on the boom (lightly)
4. trailed my dads mainsheet in the water to catch fish (and failed obviously)
5. played the mainsheet
6. had a great big grin on his face
7. trailed his hand in th water
8. leaned out over the water (and another big grin!)
9. Made me smile

So we had a great time, he had had enuff so in we cam... eldest son (6) was raring to go; off we went for a quick sail before the 3rd race... we sailed around for a bit, he wanted a helm so I perched myself mid-ships, played the main and he took the tiller extension and helmed..really well, for the first time ever... I was SOOO proud. He really got the hang of it quite well, gybing and tacking were challenging, but plain sailing he was great at and he loved there we are sub shining a gentle breeze blowing and I say... "right I'll take over now and we do the race".. he replied "oh noooo can I sail the race" :-)

So, we compromised, I did the start and first beat, he was going to practice pretending to be a crew, and then he could sail the other legs until he'd had enuff.... so we had a pretty good start, sailed a good fast first beat and to my sons great pleasure we popped out into the lead.. he loved telling my when boats were tacking and that we were ahead of them! So we rounded the windward mark about 3 boatlengths ahead of the chasing pack I bore away and then my son took the helm... he sailed pretty well, boats sailed over us but he was enjoying himself and even geting slightly competitive "why isnt it going quicker" he said! I could image my dad on the shore talking to Claire saying why the hells he doing this/that/the other... whys he letting those boats past....and I was right! I was so proud that my son was sailing like I dop on a bad day...and he's only 6... not sure it makes sense but I was proud! Anyway we did a couple more downwind legs and then gave up and we beat into the shore..smiles on our faces; my son's sailing careers starting, another generation gets the bug...maybe...

1. had a helm
2. had a crew
3. tacked and gybed
4. played the mainsheet
5. had a great big grin on his face
6. raced for the first time
7. laughed when my hat fell in the water!
8. enjoyed being in the lead / didin't mind being overtaken / wanted to go faster
9. leaned out over the water (and another big grin!)
10. Made me smile

I certainly won't push them into sailing, I plan to do lots more trips like today through the summer, let them enjoy their sailing, get into it if they want and go their own direction be it cruising racing, singlehanded, crew, helm whatever....

That was a soulsailing day... (thanks dad)...


Tillerman said...

Fantastic. There's nothing like sailing with your kids when they're that young. I used to take mine out on the Laser from when they were about 3 years old.

Anonymous said...

yeah its great to get out for your first sail i still remember mine it was in a solo too iv never looked back since hope your kids get as much out of sailing as i do

Tim Coleman said...

Good on yer! I hope that you have many more days like it. You might have to give up a lot of the circuit sailing and do more club sailing so that the family can be invovled but it will be well worth it.