My main racing dinghy is a National 12, so it is slightly odd that I'm starting my first blog about a different dinghy! However, last Saturday, with the temperature rising above 20 degC, it was the perfect time to dust off the 4000 (which has sat lonely in the dinghy park for nearly a year) for a fun blast. Not only was the weather perfect - with the wind forecast to gust over 20kts, (we didn't actually see above 15kts) but I also wanted to see how much I'd learnt from competitively sailing my National 12 for the past year.
Once the boat was rigged, I remembered just how much the new radial cut 4000 main sail by Rooster gives the boat a modern look. The 4000 I sailed hasn't been upgraded with the new ropes & stickers yet, but it doesn't look dated. Anyway, we were quick to launch and started off by going upwind. Wow, I had forgotten how fast the 4000 goes through the water! I was crewing for once, but I soon began to get a feel for the boat, especially fore/aft trim, something I hadn't really paid attention to in the 4000 before as we'd been focusing on trying to keep the boat stable.
We'd just got the hang of gybing and enjoying the kite again when suddenly, after a very loud bang, the tack of the gennaker flew up in the air. I hadn't heard a rip, so knew the kite was still ok and the pole hadn't broken. However, the tack line which obviously receives a lot of pressure from the kite, after 17 years had finally given up. I was happily surprised we managed to keep the boat upright!
We had learnt a lesson - it is crucial to check everything before going out. If we'd been racing, we certainly wouldn't have returned to the shore feeling so happy.
So aside from the small breakage, jumping back into the 4000 for a fun sail was very rewarding and it reminded me just how great these boats are!