Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, castles, Dulux, Ecobuild, holiday, knitting, scarf, South Shields
So its been a while!
Since I last posted I’ve been to Ecobuild – great fun as always, and I even got to get there on the new Emirates cable car – its amazing so go visit if you get the chance!
I survived the dual of the gennakers at the Spring Splash, primarily because I never got mine up. The third week at South Shields was glorious. The sun was out, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky -in fact it turned out the weather was so good there wasn’t enough wind to sail against the tide. Racing abandoned. So we all tinkered instead!
I fitted my new thinner main sheet, an extension to my outhaul and in a final touch of knitterly excellence some fine laceweight camel hair yarn to my shrouds – excellent tell tales and super attractive. I discussed this as I was doing it with my rival Vareo sailor. He seemed a little disinterested….
After a cup of tea I emerged from the clubhouse to identify why. HE WAS LEAVING! I literally chased after him only to discover that he was finished and heading back to his home club – despite there being another 3 races.
I was – quite literally gutted. And therein lies a lesson. Don’t tell people how you are making your boat better – you will only scare them off.
The week after, everything changed – the wind howled, it rained, it was freezing. Racing was abandoned.
Week 5 I couldn’t go as I was at Kielder for a committee meeting, and sailing did take place – damn!
Week 6, well between the snow and the sub zero tempratures and the artic wind… racing abandoned.
So effectively I sailed two races. On the plus side? I beat a topper!
On the downside? Everything else beat me!
So not a roaring success, but holding up there with last years significant development (not being last).
You might be wondering what hardy geordies are doing wimping out of sailing in too much wind. Honestly – the weather has been horrific. It’s been across from Siberia and basically meant everyone is sitting in their house eating chocolate (ok, maybe that last bits just me…)
In other news, the NSRC (Non Sailing Rear Commodore) has bought a boat.
He’s even sailed it (once!)
We went on holiday in the middle of the worst weather for as long as we can remember to north Northumberland. It snowed every day at least a little and we used the time to tour lots of castles. We came to the conclusion that not building these any more was why Britain is not so great anymore. Couple of castles would sort it out.
I also did some knitting, finished a shrug, knit a headband to keep the wind off and knit and then pulled out a hat. I don’t want to talk about this too much though as you will identify that they are essentially all scarves that I have sewed together….!
There’s a lot of other stuff gone on in the world, the Boston marathon, factories collapsing in Bangledesh, earthquakes in Sichuan. I’m not qualified to talk about any of that stuff, other than to say that it makes you appreciate what you’ve got.
So I’m off to reknit that hat, and polish my boat ready for the May Open. It won’t change the world, but it makes me happy – and life’s too short to not be.
Anyone see what’s wrong with this?
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, event, sailing, South Shields
So essentially I’m pretty much all out of excuses.
This is my boat.
That’s right a combination of the BOATFIXER and my Mr has got it down from the Lake and delivered it to my drive. Friends are all you need.
The weather is looking totally reasonable. It doesn’t even look like it’s going to rain.
I’ve checked my boat over and only found one small issue (a hole in the deck – I fixed it with some Pritt stick. To be fair it’s not actually fixed. Pritt stick doesn’t actually fix boats) – but it’s good enough to sail tomorrow.
My kit is in a heap in the kitchen. It’s all there.
I have had Facebook advice.“Suss out the tide before you launch, STAY UP TIDE before the start, when sailing to a mark look behind as much as forward or take a good transit and STAY UP TIDE of that line, when nearing a mark STAY UP TIDE until you are clear or you will hit it. It’s easy to dive down tide but takes forever to claw back up.”
I love this the helm of Frakka… how do I admit I don’t understand it??? I know it will be wise advice – this is from someone who goes to Europeans and all sorts. Tide? Really? Oh dear.
Turns out no one else I know is going. So my first travel of the year is solo – although it’s also only 20 miles away.
My aim tomorrow? Turn up. Rig the boat. Get round without drowning.
So thank you (I think) for making sure I have no excuses!
So wish me luck – Fingers crossed I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: advertising, boat, fixing, racing
Got a boat that’s bothersome?
Do you find your trailer troublesome?
Can you just not be arsed to pick up your own boat?
Then why not call….THE BOATFIXER!!!!
At reasonable rates and with the ability to make your life seem much more perfect, then who you gonna call – THE BOATFIXER!!!
(have I done enough to justify my boat pick up yet?)
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, cake, event, racing, sailing, South Shields
Things I have done in preparation for going sailing on Sunday
• Asked on facebook if anybody else is going
• Thought about it a bit
• Checked the weather forecast from my desk – this involved both checking a website and looking out of the window, so a lot of time went into this.
• Done sit ups at least twice to get myself in peak physical condition
• Eaten some cake to make sure I am warm on the water with my extra layer of winter cake fat
Things I haven’t done in preparation for going sailing on Sunday
• De-grot and chase mice out of my boat
• Collect said boat from the lake
• Work out how to fix the tyre on the road trailer that has got broken over the winter so that I can collect my boat from the lake.
• Check over and re-rig my boat with kite etc.
• Pulled out my sails and inspected to ensure they are nice and sparkly
• Worked out how to get to the sailing club involved.
• Entered the regatta
• Read the sailing instructions
• Gone through and sorted out my sailing gear
So I am obviously SOOOO prepared!
Anything I’ve forgotten?
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, event, sailing, South Shields, wind
There’s that moment when you finally get everything right, your boat is running smoothly up on the plane, you have a good line, enough room from others to think and your boat is flat and you’re working hard enough to know and to feel the water hit your face and your legs are straining, but you have it and its perfect.
And then you see it.
The grey wind shadow moving down the lake which you can’t quite see from your angle over the side. But you know the terrain, you’ve been here before and you know that any minute now it’s going to slap into you’re boat and you will have to react, you don’t know how – it might be something or nothing, but every part if you is poised for it, ready to make a move, haul in or jump back in the boat, knowing that even then it might not be enough.
I can see that shadow right now. Between work, sailing and personal I can feel my hand tightening on that sheet already and I’m holding my breath. There is so much about to hit this week – I have team meetings which I am not fully prepared for due to a number of unexpected gusts of other things that have popped up on the work front, I’m away in London the end of the week and then have two days on a safety boat course over the weekend. I know it will be fine, but I’m panicking a little about fitting everything in and managing anything successfully.
Worry about this is the first sign of needing to get back out on a proper boat, where actually it is as easy as just trying not to fall in. So my boat is coming back with me next weekend and I am going sailing at South Shields in their Spring event the weekend after. Definitely. Without fail. Regardless of weather and the fact it’s on the sea. And I don’t know anyone. And I haven’t sailed for ages so I’m setting myself up to be embarrassed in front of strangers who will then think I am incompetent.
Strange – this week isn’t looking so scary all of a sudden….
I understand that it’s no Superstorm, but it’s not stopped raining for pretty much three days now.
We aren’t flooded, but most of the rest of the country is, and it turned into the reason I didn’t go sailing yesterday. I was all prepared. I was going to take my little boat out to play with. Not to race, not to teach, not to end up crewing for somoeone else because you feel guilty that they can’t sail without crew who hasn’t turned up, not going in someone else’s boat because a Vareo is not really a cruising boat (and you get dizzy sailing round and round the front and back of the fleet as the cruising boats make their way to the picnic point over several hours – a distance DiagoNelly is capable of in mere seconds (especially with the kite up and even with the inclusion of the inevitable swimming).
No, I was going to take my boat out and sit in it for a bit and maybe survey the lake. It was the last ‘official’ day of sailing, so there would be hot lunch after and probably some banter.
It was raining. A few of the roads on the way were already closed. It was too windy for me to sail, going from the forecast.
I went to the beach instead.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, Great North Run, kielder, medal, running
Having ran the Great North Run I thought I would never run again. Ever. Not even for a bus.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself back on the start line this weekend. I don’t really know how it happened – well I do – it was a really clever marketing mail about two weeks ago suggesting I might like to take part in the Kielder 10k. Well it was Kielder and we were going to be up for the weekend as we were both on duty for the Sunday – so I thought why not?
Having signed up for this it was then patiently explained to me that this route was basically made up of hills. Lots of hills. This made me a little aprehensive - I know from the GNR they aren’t my strength, but as I had signed up now I decided I just needed to man up and get on with it. So I’ve actually gone and done some hill training – running up and down the banks off the beach, and even going to Hexham to run up Causey Hill ( got lost on the way, ended up running up and down and through the park about 47 times followed by finally finding said hill by the time I was already totally exhausted and deciding by the time I got half way up that it was a stupid idea anyway and going home for a nice cup if tea and a giant sit down).
It was ‘only’ 10k do I reckoned if I could do it in comparable time to the GNR I should be looking for a 1.15 finish time. And if it got really tough then I could always get the bus like last years Kielder marathon winner!
So Saturday dawned, bright and cool, and I got changed into my kit. The idea was that competitors went a parked in a local village and were then shuttle- bussed to the start at the main visitor centre – Leaplish. But it tuned out that I felt a much better idea would be to save myself the hour or so all of that was going to take and instead abuse my position and get a lift in a rib instead!
So 500 competitors turned up in buses, and I turned up in running gear and a buoyancy aid. It was a good look.
I shouldn’t have been scared of the whole thing, but I was starting to get very nervous. In addition to the 10k there was also the run, bike, run starting at the same time (individual or team, run 11k, bike 26, run 6) so the pace was packed. Lots of people had come with me to cheer me on though which was great – and their plan was to go and sit in the pub while I was running – which kind of felt a little unfair.
For the start we all just piled in – I hung back so I was right out of everyone’s way. The waiting was the worst – I was doing it on my own, so you just start to worry you wont cope and wondering how come everyone else knows how to do stretches and stuff.
And then we were off. It was very hard to try and get going as the paths are only 2-3 abreast and it turned out that I wasn’t the slowest there – I actually needed to run past some people. And then the hill started. I had been warned that the first mile was rough – straight up and it just kept going. But I was managing. In fact I was still running past people. Actually – some people were walking already! I was a running god!! Until I hit the mile. And it was still going up. I had been lied too! I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep it up for and I could see more and more people in front of me stopping. I pushed through, got round a corner… And it levelled out. I have never been so pleased to see some flat in my life. It’s amazing what a bit if achievement can do to push you on though – because all of a sudden I wasn’t at the back any more, I wasn’t walking and the kick I got from it was amazing. I started watching my pace and trying to improve – every mile I managed a little faster, overtook a few and started to think that I was actually doing OK. I did have a wobble – it was around the 7-8k when we rounded a corner and I saw the waterski club – and by water that is a LONG way to Leaplish (you tend to have to beat all the way too) and my heart just sank – but before I knew it I was past the 8k mark and realised I’d nearly finished!
As I got close to the finish it was clear everyone was stepping up their game – but I didn’t want to push too hard incase I couldn’t finish … I rounded the corner, saw the finish line, heard someone shout my name and just decided to run like billyo – and I did – I took 5 places in that last 200m and sprinted over the finish line.
I was thrilled – I felt I’d actually ran a race, with the the GNR I was just happy to get round. And my time? 1.03. Like I said – thrilled.
I think it might be the first time ever I have actually enjoyed running.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, event, kielder, ood, race officer, racing, sailing, topper
So this weekend was packed at the sailing club – we had visiting T15 windsurfers, cruising, racing, BBQing and the clubs Little Americas Cup on Monday. It was probably the busiest weekend the club has seen for a while – despite appalling weather – veering from no wind and sunshine, to torrential rain with anything from no wind to really strong gusts coming in.
Now the Little Americas Cup is one of my favourite events – in homage to the original yacht racing in which our Olympic Gold Medal winner Ben Ainslie is competing at the moment. Sorry – promised I would drop the Olympics didn’t I.
You’ll notice I said ‘Little’. So don’t think this
It’s a one day series ran in those infamous Toppers…… yep we’re back to those again… and the whole club match races against each other in these tiny craft, all on the same course in back to back races ran really close to shore for maximum jeering. It can be a long day as you need to race everyone in your group and then there are semi’s between your group and the other groups and then up to a finals.
Having not done enough sailing this year I really felt this would be a great idea – especially in the sheeting rain with promises of big winds and gusts of up to 38 knots. What I actually thought was ‘what the hell, I’m always knocked out early doors and at least I’ll have shown willing and with any luck I’ll be able to justify some cake if I’ve been sailing’.
So after an evening of preparing in the bar we were all ready to go.
Following my recent posts about Ood’ing it’s also a really complicated one to run. This year our Rear Commodore was back in the chair having ran this for a number of years. And he did something I have never seen before. Set up a course with a running start.
What this means is that the start line is DOWNWIND, round a P course and then a beat UPWIND to the finish. I only worked out what this meant as I wasn’t in the first race, so I could watch how to do it, but the course looked a little like this -
Actually the wind and rain were a bit more wonky than that, but you get the gist!
So the clubs six Toppers were rigged and tied to the jetty and the racing began. Each race is between two people from a group – and three of these races take place on each start. So you get a hoot to start the countdown – which is two minutes and at the end of this two minutes the first pair set off, followed a minute later by the next pair, and the third pair go a minute after that! Added to which to keep it fair you must change boat every race – so that there is no tactical advantage from one of the very high quality boats being set up better than another (i.e. having all its bits in working order). The boat to avoid has usually been Jester – with a slow leak, but after some remedial work prior to last years race he went from zero to hero becoming the most favoured boat due to his racing orange colouring.
It’s not confusing at all.
On top of this watching the adults trying to climb onto these ridiculously light boats from the jetty is a sport all of its own… I wasn’t the only one who had my only capsize while trying to swap boats between races.
But the unusual course and start were not the only oddity. This year we had the tightest racing the club has seen in at least my time. People were doing tactical maneuvers, ‘covering’ people on the upwind leg, positioning themselves for mark overlaps, stealing wind on the downwind and generally doing things you would not expect to see. And as its so far into shore and ran from the jetty – there are always lots of spectators waiting for their next race – cheering – and it turns out… taking notes.
So what started as a few people who had worked out some tactics, became a few more people who had also got tactics, followed by lots of people who had tactics and the tightest racing we have seen for ages. Both the semi finals and finals all went to sail-off’s the results were so close.
So why am I telling you all this?
Well firstly because I thought you would be interested in what is in our club an unusual and fun event, secondly to tell you about an exciting downwind start, thirdly to share what a great way of running racing this is for raising the standard of racing across your club and get more people involved, and lastly
I actually came third in a proper race event.
I still don’t believe it.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: beer, boat, holiday, owl, wool, yorkshire
Ten reasons why Yorkshire is great
1. No parking restrictions
2. A somewhat relaxed approach to Health and Safety
(That right – giant saw, no helmets, glasses, gloves, shirt hanging out, and I was too scared to photograph when he was stood on top with one leg either side of the blade pulling the wood through – while it was still running)
3. An inclusive and welcoming approach to people from all across the globe
4. Great night life
5. Wool Shops
6. They support the traditional British holiday
7. Enthusiasm for the local wildlife
8. They have pride in their inventors
9. They can make you walk on water
10. And most of all… they serve great Beer! (Really? You need a photo of it?????)
Go visit – and tell them I sent you!