Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I think I have mentioned before on this blog that Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI is about the only place in the world where my wife will actually come sailing with me. No amount of logic will convince her that sailing with me in Minorca, or even in Rhode Island in the height of summer, would be just as warm and enjoyable. Must be something magical about BEYC.
So it should be no surprise to learn that when we went back to BEYC last December I took every chance I could to go sailing with Tillerwoman on every occasion that she was interested in doing so. More on that in another post perhaps. But I did manage to fit in five half-days of Laser sailing too.
When we first went to BEYC back in the early 90's the Laser seemed to be the small boat of choice for visitors who sailed many different kind of craft back home. There was always a good turnout of Lasers for the Sunday races. But the Hobie Waves and Getaways seem to have taken over that niche at BEYC now. Maybe they are easier to handle for folk who sail keelboats back home? Maybe the clientele is older? Whatever the reason, nobody (except me) was interested in racing Lasers on this trip. So it was an opportunity for some solo practice.
On our first full day I took Tillerwoman out for a spin round the bay on a Hobie Wave in the morning and then went down to the Watersports Center after lunch and said I wanted to take out a Laser. The first member of staff I asked simply told me that it was too windy and they weren't letting clients go out in any "boats with booms" that day. (I later discovered that someone had suffered a nasty head injury from a boom in the previous week.) But it didn't look too windy for me. So I argued. Don't you know who I am? Just Google "best sailing blog on the planet." (No, not really.) Eventually a more senior instructor who remembered me from previous visits relented and allowed me to go out and die on a Laser if I really wanted to.
So I had a blast around the bay for a couple of hours, getting used to sailing a Laser with 1970's vintage rigging. A Classic Laser as I wrote about a few years back.
After a few days of hiking (hills not Lasers) and catamaran sailing with Tillerwoman (all the while thinking how much fun Lasering would be in the relatively heavy winds on those days) I got back into a Laser again one afternoon and did a practice session concentrating on proper hiking style which god knows I need to improve, trying to remember everything covered in the webinar from Coach Rulo a few days before our trip.
The next day the winds were light, so for my 62nd day of Laser sailing in 2012 I went out and practiced light air gybes and tacks and mark roundings, all of which god knows I need to improve too.
Then there was a lazy Saturday of swimming and sunbathing with Tillerwoman, followed by Sunday racing on a Hobie Wave (about which I will have to write about in another post so I can brag a bit.) On Monday morning I even tempted Tillerwoman out for a sail on a Rhodes 19 and then went Lasering in the afternoon. More futile attempts to improve hiking technique and downwind technique. Played around trying to do gybes by crossing the boat before the boom like I saw Brad Funk do in a video somewhere. And more futile attempts to improve how I time the hand swap in tacks.
On our last day we had a good breeze in the morning so I went out for a final blast in a Laser and tried to practice a bit of all of the above. One of the resort photographers came out in a boat and started shooting me so I started posing for the camera and hiking as hard as I could.
"That's impressive. I can't do that!" shouted the photographer over the noise of the wind.
"Neither can I for very long. Hurry up and take the bloody shot."
The least bad photo he took is the one at the top of this post. God knows I need to improve.
And so to the Crawl Pub for a lunch of fish tacos and a few cold draft beers, during which I managed to injure my thumb on a chair.
It was kind of ironic that after 10 days of watersports my worst injury was suffered in a pub.