I think this event should be re named "personal challenge" after six excellent frantic races with some of the friendliest fleets I have ever sailed in. Sailing fast is easy - so that's why I felt pretty wrecked on Monday morning - we were not sailing that fast!
The kicker Proder - a good place for a halyard bag
We changed our sails on Saturday morning to a much fuller set of Norths and stupidly assumed that our original mast set up was going to work. The key difference was that we now had a sail with some luff curve and fullness - which is OK as long as we were able to de power them. After much huffing and puffing at the back of the boat on Saturday, it was clear that they were not easy to de power without some serious changes to the rig. So between a team quiz and jigsaw competition, boat bimbling was the top priority to enable me to focus on the race course rather than the rig.
I managed to increase the mast prebend to 10mm from 0mm (with the sail off) by winding the spreaders aft, but I still had issues with our kicker. We have a kicker 'prodder' which is an excellent invention to try and stop the kicker from bending the mast as there is a strut that takes all the compressive loads. It is also a great place to put our halyard bag!
With the prospect of another day of battling, I opted to make the kicker do some mast bending and so we moved the kicker boom attachment aft by 2 inches.
Pics from ChinkyPics.co.uk
Scorpion sailing on inland waters should be renamed gybing wars! Perhaps it was the course, but when racing in large numbers on a small course, the gybe and the resultant Star Wars lightsaber spinnaker pole work that is required to make the quickest and highest exit from the gybe mark certainly improves your teamwork. You might think that you can take a low course from the gybe mark - but you would be wrong. Low is death, at least in these courses. Sarah and I went out for an early training session on Sunday to tighten up our boat handing. Some of the key factors to making it easy for re attaching the pole were - making sure we had squared the kite fully into the gybe and ensuring that any pole height adjustment prior to the gybe still enabled enough slack in the system to re attach the pole. Simply easing the sheet and guy was not sufficient in gusts of 15 knots. Everything is aimed at making the moment after the gybe as easy as possible to swap the pole over so pre setting the jib on the new side and pulling the new twinner on and squaring the kite as the boom goes over is standard practice, but practice was what we needed to do. Largely the practice worked as we were back in business more of the time.
pictures from the weekend available at ChunkyPics.co.uk
The huffing and puffing at the back of the boat was reducing and we started to feel the Scorpion way of sailing - under powering the boat slightly so we could put the bow down to get some speed, which seams to then generate height from the foils. Apparently this is similar technique to sailing a fireball which is why good fireball sailors seem to make good Scorpion Sailors. There was certainly a number of excellent Scorpion sailors on the water who were keen to show that they were ready for the coming season. The full results are here
- but they must be taken with a pinch of salt as the first two races on Sunday were handicapped. A great idea to turn the fleet upside down. We were only handicapped by a couple of minutes as our results on Saturday were pretty bad after I had fallen out of the boat when my toe strap came undone and we had sailed over our spinaker sheets in the third race of the day, which gave us a good staring position in the first two races on Sunday. The first and last races count for the travellers, no handicap there, except for ourselves.
Although we had met some trying challenges, worked hard to solve some boat and crew work issues; ultimately the weekend was put into perspective with the sad loss of one of the sailing committee who was driving a rescue boat whilst he suffered a suspected heart attack at the conclusion of the racing. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and club members.