The forecast for Sunday from the met office was a f3-4 with occasional gusts to f5 round headlands. Not so in Chichester harbour! We had f4-5 with a little more in the gusts, which made for an excellent opportunity to practice downwinding in the 300. We sailed from Thorney Island SC to the Emsworth channel, with a good 1.5 mile run from Sandhead to Marker, with plenty of awful short chop over the stocker banks. Anyway, as we started to head back upwind I had an equipment failure:
Coaches and the like discuss 'automatic sailing', where responses become a natural reaction to events. As a case in point, I've been trying to master the whole windward heel over the past couple of months, and sharpening sheeting movement : if the boat leans towards me, I sheet in. So when the main halyard fails and the main drops, and the boat falls toward me, I take several massive arms of sheet as if that will somehow get the main back up the track and the boat on its feet. Interestingly I make this response whilst looking at the main falling down. The instinct to sheet in overrides my eyes showing me that the boat no longer has a sail - I have the responses of a Pavlovian dog, and I hold the Boat Whisperer DVDs responsible.
On a positive note, spending 10 minutes swimming in 4 degree water attempting to rerig my boat gave a unique opportunity to feedback on the new SuperTherm Top and Longjohn
(with PolyPro base layers
), which I picked up from Rooster last week. I'm slightly hesitant to put a review of Rooster kit on the Rooster site as it seems slightly self serving, but given the nature of the incident I'm making an exception. In short, this stuff is warm. I'm always worried that I don't layer enough for winter sailing, as I rate flexibility in clothing important. But after 10 mins in the water I was still wasn't cold (other than hands), and had a great 2 mile beat back to the club, plus a little more downwind and gybing practice on the way.