Skandia Team GBR

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bank Holiday Bashes

For once I have actually made great use of a boat and my Draycote membership during the holiday season... so I can start the New Year with a double-post and some great memories already!

Boxing Day Pursuit Race:
Initially the forecast was looking dire, but Santa fancied some cobwebs blowing off after the Sherry and mince-pies and I managed to prize my eldest off his Christmas presents... unfortunately we were late to the club and after rushing to get on the water the breeze died slightly and we missed the start..Arse... but it was a nice light breeze, crew doing a little exercise keeping the boat flat and me trying to catch the other 3 Miracles that were ahead of us...

We popped the kite up fairly successfully, especially it being the first time we had properly raced the boat and been "under race pressure", and by half-way down the first reach we had caught the tail-ender Miracle and sailed nicely under them (they weren't flying the spinnaker for some reason!), the rest of the race we made decent headway on the other Miracles, but didn't manage to quite catch them.

The wind was light, but with enough puff to keep things enjoyable, it was a great sail and my lad was really enjoying himself... it wasn't good conditions for the Miracle to do well in the pursuit race (not sure whether there are good conditions??) but we were having a good time... up the lat beat, not long before the 100 min pursuit race would be over, rapidly catching the 2nd place Miracle, sailing really well together.. son in great mood....

"Look dad I can lean out without my feet under the toe-straps..." ....[Ant] "..No..!" (son goes heels-over-head-in-slow-motion)


Oh crap, eldest son was now in the water (went right under!) being dragged along by the Miracle, holding on to the jib-sheet for dear life. Grabbed his life-jacket and hauled him back into the boat, soaking wet, my hat (lent to to him 'cus he doesn't have a warm sailing hat) sinking slowly behind us, the "mustard-yellow" furry beanie almost glowing as it sank...

So, son safely back into the boat, he was a little shocked (to say the least) but after a couple of minutes was back in sensible-land, ready to finish the race, the dunking made sure that we didn't catch the 2nd place Miracle, but it was such a funny moment, and overall a great race that we didn't care...

Think we ended up about 24th out of 45 boats, but that's irrelevant when you have had such a memorable sail does it?

Memorable moment: [after the race, eldest Son and Crew said] "...the water was a better boxer than me dad..."

New Years Day Pursuit Race:

Another last minute decision, Christmas had passed, too much to eat and drink and not enough fresh air... a "warm-ish" day and light breezes greeted us on New Years Day, celebrations had been great and life in 2008 was good... so after a good lay-in it was agreed that sailing was the right approach to getting into the New Year so off we went, rigged up, signed-on and legged it out to the start-line in a disappointingly dying breeze!

Well, after a much needed tow-in from one of the rescue boats, to the start-line we drifted around, worked out the course and when we were starting (15 mins after datum)...  Only two Miracles were out which was a dissapointment, but better than one!

So we had a good start, the first race my boy and I have actually started properly, there was next to no wind so a well timed roll-tack on the gun "helped" get us up the race track.. the Cadets had started a while before us, but the boat was performing well and it wasn't long before we were with them (and my lad was able, briefly, to join in with their game of eye-spy!!), Greg Irish in a Solo, did some slightly more effective roll-tacks off the line and being only a few mins behind us in the sequence soon passed us, but after passing the three Cadets, we were in 2nd place overall in the pursuit race as we rounded the windward mark..

We did a slightly dodgy spinny hoist and my shouting didn't help (it's a Clay-family trait I've gotta get out of if I want to keep my crew!), but we were soon on our way, my lad doing really well trimming the kite and after a while actually understanding how the race was working and that actually being in 2nd place (albeit for only 2 legs) was a big deal for us... after a half-decent gybe (me leaning forward to do the pole is in some cases easier than him struggling) the Solo passed us and we had dropped into 3rd place, but first Miracle and happy yachters... again while the breeze held up, the spinny was trimmed well, by the next mark the RS300, Phantom and a couple of RS200's passed us and were into around 6th place, still bloody good I thought...

The wind was so light, and the legs so long that this final fetch/one-sided beat was the last leg... boats were bunching up and we (in a Miracle) were racing and keeping pace with the Laser and the RS300 :-) and, by the time the race-time was up (100 mins or so) we were in tenth place, first Miracle and happy bunnies, we had both sailed well...

So after putting the boat away following a successful sail, we showered, beer and some grub (thanks whoever laid the food was definitely needed) and some New Year chatting with our friends etc. Then came the prize-giving, and, as part of a club initiative to get more "fleets" sailing regularly, and because the Miracle fleet is up-and-coming with a resurgence of members and activity, they awarded us a prize!!!!!!!!!!

So me, and my great crew and eldest son (accompanied by youngest son / lightweight crew) went up to receive our DWSC Whisky Tumblers from tut Commodore... Eldest was sooo happy, he had a huge grin on his face and reckoned it was one of the best days of his life (nearly 8 years!)...

I was soo chuffed for him, he'd done well, enjoyed it and won his first sailing prize... hopefully the first of many...well done son..

Memorable moment: [Commodore of DWSC to my son] "...That's the biggest grin I've ever seen at a prize-giving...!"


Well, Happy New Year to you all, and I hope your 2008 sailing season starts as well as mine, and make sure you blog about it whatever happens :-)

1 comment:

Fuff said...

What an enjoyable post. So chuffed your little'un got his first prize. No doubt he's got loads more to come! Must have felt great :)