Living close to Hill Head Sailing Club has its plus points but the tide has a habit of disappearing when you want to sail. Having just picked up a new boat for the fleet my Dad and I were keen to get on the water. High water was around 18:00 h and we set out at 16:15 h just with enough tide to see us out.
Smoky is a RS Feva XL, I shall be using her to compete in various events at Hill Head, Hayling and open events, as well as sailing with my younger brother and sister for fun and pass on some experience to them, my RS Tera isn't as spacious as Smoky and having two extra sails will keep them busy.
As we were rigging with the sun setting a passer by asked if we'd had a good sail, to which we replied "not yet" he walked off somewhat confused. With a NW wind varying from 7 to 11 knots exiting the harbour to deeper water with a beautiful sun set over Gurnard was a piece of cake though we had the board well up. Within 20 minutes my Dad wished that Christmas had come early and Santa had delivered fluorescent kite and jib sheets, where as I had my blue with yellow fleck Polilite mainsheet that was easy to keep hold of. We headed out towards Hill Head channel marker on a broad reach and I ran through a few things about crewing a Feva to Dad, it is quite funny telling your Dad how to do things, I have been doing some Feva training weekends with James Peters and so I had some good tips to give the old man.
We hoisted the kite and in these dark conditions, we were glad we hadn't chosen a black kite the old man was able to see the Rooster red luff and we made the centre board hum heading towards Monkey Hill. Without daylight picking up the waves was not an option so I synchronized myself with the rhythm of the waves and created a mental picture of what I thought the sea was doing, funny though, some unusual patterns came through probably because of the fast cat ferry heading to Cowes or something bigger. Interestingly having a Rooster Snood on I was able to pull it down so that I could get a feel of the wind on my neck which is essential in the dark.We did a few gybes but decided not to roll excessively, as though we were well kitted out for December sailing with our hot legs, feet, top and hands we didn't fancy taking a dip.
Upwind we shoulder to shouldered lifting the bow up over the light Solent chop, with black tell tails I couldn't see the leeward tail (or are they tales) so feel and thought was what was needed. The old man experimented with the Cunningham, with it off, the boat wanted to round up lightly, as he pulled it on it was noticeably reduced and without being distracted by things you could normally see it was easy to focus on what the rudder was doing.
We rounded Jacqueline and headed up towards Gurnard and half way along we both looked up and spotted a shooting star it was only in the night sky for a brief few seconds but it was amazing that we both saw it, it gave us a chuckle. Having been out for 1 1/2 hours it was high water though neaps so we didn't have to worry about the channel, just the two start line posts nicked named the sail shredders by many a club sailor due to the over officious SOLAS covered steel spikes protruding at the optimum height to shred anything apart from an Optimist.
We are thinking that with tide situation at Hill Head, we might propose to the sailing committee a night series, seems like a lot of fun, I guess the H and S crowd would jump all over it but we will be out again some dark crisp starry night, you can make a bet on that.
We are off to Chichester Frozen Toe on Sunday and plan for as many of the Snowflake series races as possible, so Fevas get your kit on and get on the water.
As Far as who goes Farthest