Monday, March 24, 2008

How Many Times I Have Fallen

Fri Feb 22

On day 5 of the Masters Worlds the Radials were due to race first so around 11 am Tillerwoman and I wander down to the beach to watch the Radials launching.

Huh? No Radials launching?

We walk a bit closer to the beach.

Huh? No beach? There was a beach here yesterday.

Yup. The beach from which we normally launched isn't there any more. The combination of an unusually high tide and even larger ocean swells than yesterday means that our launch area is covered in breaking surf. The winds are very light from the SE and so the race committee is apparently waiting for the expected stronger NE sea breeze this afternoon before launching.

Tillerwoman and I head back to the apartment for lunch of sausage rolls and bread and cheese. Life is good.

No, wait. That's how I usually sign off these reports. I haven't sailed yet. Don't go.

After lunch we head back to the club and our group starts launching around 1:15 pm. We have two races in big swells and confused wind-blown chop in winds of around 15-20 knots. It is not one of my better days of racing.

So what went wrong?

I am going pretty well on the first beat in the first race and am on port tack crossing an Aussie sailor. I am sure I can cross him. Well, pretty sure. Uh oh. He does a crash tack and hits me. I learn some new Aussie curses and do a 720. Now I'm way back in the fleet. Damn.

Lesson #1: It's harder to judge port/starboard crosses in big waves. Don't forget to allow for the fact that he's going faster down a wave and I'm going slower up a wave.

In race 2, I am starting to get tired and not hiking as hard as I should. That Guy sails right past me to leeward on a beat.

Lesson #2: Fitness counts.

Lesson #3: If one of your competitors invites you to a mid-regatta cocktail party it is probably not a good idea to drink a bottle of wine at the party and then go out to dinner and drink several more glasses of wine and some after-dinner drinks. Alcohol causes dehydration. Dehydration sucks.

I overstand the first mark (along with a bunch of other boats) in a big left shift and come into the windward mark on the port tack layline in a crowd of boats coming from both directions. I close my eyes and tack. I survive. Geeze, this is just like Tacticat.

Lesson #4: Sometimes it helps to be lucky.

I am not doing well on the first reach of race 2. Heavy air reaching is not one of my strong points. Just as I get to the mark where we round on to a run one of the Aussie sailors surfs past me to windward. He then decides it would make sense to bear off across my bow on to the run. In doing so he catches his sheet around my bow and capsizes us both. Don't ask me how this is possible. It happened.

I comment loudly and remark
sarcastically in my best plummy British accent, "Smart move!" I have found that Aussies generally respect such treatment.

Anyway, after we pick ourselves up. I point out as succinctly as I can that if we were still rounding the mark when we collided then he fouled me under Rule 18 and if we were past the mark then he fouled me under Rule 11. Either way it's his fault.

He mutters something incoherent about "proper course" and sails off without doing his 720.

Proper Course! Does he know who I am? Is he saying that he likes my blog?

Probably not. I guess he's saying that he expected me to bear off on to the run, what he think should be my "proper course", and that because I didn't bear off as quickly as he did then somehow the collision is my fault.

Ahem. Do you know who I am? I do know a thing or two about proper course my good man.

First of all I would only be constrained from sailing above my proper course under Rule 17.1 if it had been me who had established the overlap to leeward of you from clear astern.

Secondly, even if I were constrained by the rules from sailing above my proper course, I would argue that I was actually sailing my proper course because I have discovered that the fastest way to break away from other boats on the run here is to stay high and ride the waves to the right of the rhumbline.

So there. Of course I am only communicating these arguments telepathically to my Aussie friend as he sails down the run ahead of me. Apparently this works because half way down the run he stops and does a 720 and I sail past him. Ha.

Just before the leeward mark I look back and I see a huge breaking wave that comes out of nowhere and picks up my Aussie friend and tosses him high in the air and capsizes him again.

Lesson # 5: There is a god and she loves me.

I struggle along to the finish line and beat a handful of boats. I end up with two results in the mid 40's, my worst of the week so far. Surely things cannot get any worse?

It's Friday so off with Tillerwoman for fish and chips at the Fish BoneZ Cafe. Life is good.


Menchuvian Candidate said...

I can empathize with #5; yes indeedy.

Team Gherkin said...

How on earth... sheet around the bow...? oh... right, you asked not to ask! Hahahahaaa.

Welcome to Australian offshore Laser sailinng - not for the fainthearted - nor myself either! heh heh

But fresh fish [and chippies] are Aussie traditional staples, surely!

Mal :)

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