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Another windy weekend
By Rooster Sailing
Hi, it is Sophie here again and I sail with Rachel Mawer in the 420.
We had another squad training at Cumbrae last weekend. It was rather windy on the Friday and after looking at the forecast we all decided to take only 2 out of the 3 boats on the water and share them on the Saturday for safety reasons. Rachel and I didn't take our boat out so we donned some borrowed oil skins from the centre and went on the rib first with our coach.
We learnt load from watching the others and having our coach, David, talk through what the others should and should not be doing. Soon we got a go after difficulty removing the oil skins which was partly due to David not stopping long enough for us to finish and kept on driving over waves! By now we were at the north end of Cumbrae which had some nice waves. We worked on our upwind boat speed with me trying to improve the speed of trimming the sails to keep the boat flat with the waves and the steering over the waves. Rachel got to test the new spliced rope on the trapeze and found she could get much flatter more easily.
On our second go on the Saturday we had a good downwind leg. Unfortunately the boat we were in had an improvised main sheet from their tow rope as the main sheet had fallen apart on the water. When we were told to hoist, a loose end of tow rope got caught in the spinnaker sheet meaning Rachel couldn't get the pole on. We quickly dropped and were surprised we didn't capsize as the waves were quite big and tricky. After sucessfully hoisting and not capsizing a second time we tried some pumping on the waves which seemed to go ok and we were surfing! After a while we had to stop as the other boat had capsized. The girls in the boat couldn't get it upright so the boys in the rib had to jump in to help. After they were upright we sailed in thinking the day was over but the events on the slipway were eventful! It was so windy it took at least 2 people to hold the boat to stop it drifting and as we weren't in our normal boat we couldn't figure out how to get the main sail down and the angle of the slipway meant we had to drop the sail. The other boats spinnaker was tangled around the shroud which made it very difficult to hold and their main halyard was in a knot! Eventually (with lots of teamwork) we got the boats out.
The Sunday had perfect winds, sun and waves. If it was warmer it would have been the best conditions possible but you can't have everything! We tied elastic around the rudder for a lot of the sessions to try and get the correct weight movements around the boat to minimise rudder use. We paid special attention to how much the crew needs to hike out when the spinnaker gets pumped.
Overall it was an amazing weekend with lots learnt. Our next day on the water will be the Selector event in Pwllheli after 2 weekends of boat prep.
Thanks for reading!