Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, kielder, sailing, South Shields, wind
Over the last few weeks sailing has gone from one extreme to the other.
From glorious light wind, sunny sailing at South Shields
To blowing crazy amounts of wind at Kielder.
I’ve not actually finished a race at South Shields in the new Laser – this is primarily due to things like not starting the race, not completing even one one lap of the race (we all got towed back) and spending too long tinkering – so far the new boat has been the lucky recipient of a new (*ahem* E-Bay special) tiller and tiller extension, some new rope and a clew strap. She is feeling very loved.
She is sailing very nicely, but I have yet to have her knocked over to have a go at capsize, and haven’t really had enough wind to feel like I am really getting to grips with her. I was however deeply gratified when a club member commented how well looked after she was based on her shiny hull – that four hours polishing was obviously not a waste….
I’m also getting to know a few more people – when I was out on the water I have had comments about my pre-loved boat and also from a fellow sailor form Tynemouth who obviously reads the blog – Hello Chris!
Up in Kielder its been a totally different picture.
This was the start line for the Dam to Dam. I love this race series as it takes you from one end of the lake to the other – but it wasn’t to be.
It was so windy when I tried to put my sail up my boat actually blew off my trolley. I decided this was therefore possibly not the best time to sail. Alec the mad Engineer decided to press on.
I even sat on his boat to try and keep it in one place while he finished rigging it. There is a photo. I’m not showing you as I look like a house in it.
He eventually got out, but after much swearing came back. He wasn’t the only one – out of the three boats that started one came back like this.
The mast had been ripped out, smashed in two and holed the boat. It’s the Boatfixers, so we all feel super bad as he is so busy with other peoples boats goodness knows when he will have a chance to fix it.
I was however very proud of myself to have even had the bravado to rig the Supernova.
And I have had her out a bit more properly this weekend – she is a lovely boat and goes like a crazy thing on any sort of a reach – there are some extra things to think about in the mast rake, and pointing is going to take a little practice (common thing for newbies apparently), but when you are screaming along to the next mark on the plane you really don’t care about the next beat anyhow!
So two beautiful boats, two fabulous locations – what could be more perfect? Well neither of these boats have names. And I can’t just keep calling them ‘boat’ forever…. so tomorrow I will be opening the Nelly Name Challenge. There will be prizes so watch this space!
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: kielder, Laser, sailing, South Shields
That my blue laser was being polished at Kielder. Not South Shields.
So this left one last piece of the puzzle – to get the boat to South Shields. We pondered this. It had a road trailer which the Mr was convinced we would never get out if the ‘stacking’ system in the trailer park – apparently it would take at least half a day.
Twenty minutes later the road trailer was out at the expenses of only several bruises, nettle stings over most of my feet (sandals really aren’t a good sartorial choice) and a couple of gratuitous oil stains on hands, legs and skirt (skirt?!?! What was I thinking).
And we had brought out beautiful van to tow it! Hooray!!
Only not quite.
Apparently the bearings were shot. All I know is that it involves grease and is not good. I suggested we get more grease. I don’t actually know where the local grease retailer is up by Kielder, but it couldn’t be that far… Could it?
I suggested we asked some other people at the club if they had grease. This was not an option primarily due to it being a man who was dealing with the grease and as everyone knows you can’t ask for help when a man is already doing the job. That’s insulting their man-ness. And it didn’t matter anyhow as the suspension was broken. I didn’t even know that trailers had suspension.
I did moot the point that as we only needed to move the boat once, did it really matter?
From the silence this received I assume the answer was yes.
This then led to protracted discussion amongst the club about how we could fix it. New wheel units from eBay, using the trailer from a different boat, kicking the tyres a bit, car topping it. This looked like it was going to take some time. Several hours later talk had moved to coming back and looking at it some more next week.
I went away and sent a quick email.
This is my boat being delivered to South Shields by the Boatfixer (and family) as well as tangible proof of why women should rule the world.
I’ll worry about the trailer later – and tonight? Well tonight I’m going sailing.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: kielder, Laser, refurbish, South Shields, Supernova
I love it when a plan comes together.
Meet part two of my plan….
That’s right, it’s a Laser.
And I spent a WHOLE DAY polishing its hull to make it look like this.
Think how much faster it will go!
To be fair I think spending the four hours on getting some water time might have been more productive on this front, but in my defence there was no wind.
And it’s got a pink and purple radial sail! Obviously a class winner…
But why would I need a Laser when I have a Supernova at Kielder already (and yes, actually came out first in the fleet on a recent race – I haven’t told you as I was so stunned I’m still not sure I believe it, but that’s another story…)?
Well this is so I can now sail at both sailing clubs without a 60 mile + tow between the two, and in both venues I will now be class racing against other boats the same – which we agree is a good idea and will help my sailing. Moving between different boats at each club will be a challenge, but one that I see no reason not to take on as you can be last in anything!
So in simple maths 1 x RS Vareo = 1 x Supernova and 1 x Laser!
So polishing the hull was part one of my refurb plan. I will also be changing the rope for pink rope (and to be technical, thinner and better rope) and at some point will need to think about that XD stuff. Currently as I am mean and poor this is not an option however so I will instead be keeping an eagle eye out for stuff I can ‘procure’ to jerry rig something similar. Or knit something.
South Shields… here I come!
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, eBay, kielder, sailing, Supernova, Vareo
If you remember my cunning genius plan was to sell my Vareo and buy a new boat – and currently it’s well underway. Its getting picked up at the weekend, having been sold on eBay. Some people can be a bit sniffy about this but the bottom line is you get your boat sold quickly for what the market is prepared to pay for it, so you can get on with the rest of your sailing season.
So I went to look at a new boat this weekend. This didn’t go so well in that this quickly changed to touching new boat, stroking new boat and identifying that new boat and I were always meant to be together, swiftly followed by buying new boat.
It’s on my drive. I am very excited.
I am just as excited as I am suddenly ‘one of the gang’ people with the same boat are excited about it too and discussing when we are all going to go sailing together and how we are only one boat off our own class start. We are messaging exciting news about the boats and our sailing, texting and facebooking.
I’ve never been one of any gang, ever! We are all going to a coaching day next Sunday and going to inspect each others boats and do tinkering! We are going to stand around and talk about it all together! We might even get them wet! It’s we and not I!!
So far so good. Only problem is, I’ve bought a boat to sail with a fleet at… Kielder! Looks like I’m back racing there again! So I am still on the lookout for a cheap boat (for cheap boat read floating wreck based on the pennies I have left…!) to join a Wednesday fleet at South Shields.
And the boat? Well someone has to encourage the Mr onto the water – I’ve bought a Supernova, the same as him.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: capsize, children, Eurovision, kielder, sailing
So what did I do on the weekend? I did magic things. I taught Childers to sail. How old? About 4ft.
They were all boys and I am starting to get a little paranoid – I feel like starting a ‘your sex needs you!’ campaign to get more girls and women involved – although ironically the majority of the instructors (in fact all bar one!) on the day were women.
This course has not had a good run – we have been down on Oppies, waiting for new ones so for the first two days of the course we ran the session in Wayfarers and in pretty strong wind.
You’ve never seen the fear and exhilaration on a little persons face as when you give them the helm on a boat with two other kids and an instructor in it and tell everyone else to lean out to balance the boat. Small fists grab the tiller extension and knuckles whiten as the wind gusts into the reefed small sail.
I decided to stop if one of them cried.
None of them did, but there were a few wobbly bottom lips, and a degree of peer pressure coming into play!
The weather for Saturday had not looked much better throughout last week, blowing 18 gusting through 38 – with rain all day. I had visions of theory all day. So the surprise was arriving at Kielder having driven through torrential rain (a months worth fell on the North-east in the one day) and finding mist, drizzle and … No wind.
It was about the only thing I hadn’t planned. Well when I say planned, I mean thought about with a
glass of wine cup of tea during the preceding week.
There were however brand new Oppies to unpack we actually unwrapped them from the plastic!
I would love to say they were quickly rigged, but of course they weren’t – not helped by myself and the AI actually having only vague ideas on this – note to self – really need a crib sheet. But we were finally ready to go with boats lined up, helmets on and a lot of shivering – it was freezing, still damp and really overcast.
So we started on sending them out like little ducks one after the other pushing of boats towards a patrol boat – asking them to tack (or in childers speak ‘push the stick away and duck)’. Some got the hang of it quicker than others, but with expert coaching from the patrol boat we soon had the whole group rotating through the boats. Some kids had got the hang so well they went round and round and round for some time.
The only problem with this was the direction of the wind. There wasn’t much, so there was a lot of sitting around, it was also an onshore wind which meant that we had to send them across the foreshore to keep them on a reach – with the added complication of trying to stop small enthusiastic not-very-good-at-steering boys from running the brand new boats aground or clipping the foils by coming in too close to the shore.
The thing with seven small boys as well is that the second your back is turned they are off doing something you don’t want them to do. Like swimming in the lake, checking what holds up the jetty, playing ‘splash the other kids and only by mistake the instructors’. I was a little unamused.
Got my own back by explaining to everyone we would need to do capsize before we finished for the day. Apparently the lake was cold. I really hadn’t noticed having spent the day up to my chest in it catching and returning boats.
As always they delivered the goods and they went to get changed having had ‘the best’ day.
They were happy. I was cold. And wet. Turns out my drysuit had a leak. I drove home with no socks and recovered in front of Eurovision.
Bonnie Tyler was our entry – famous of course for ‘Turn Around‘ – maybe she had spent a lot of time up to her chest screaming at kids to push the stick as well.
So I’ve bitten the bullet and stepped down as membership secretary. I feel pretty bad about this, but time was becoming too much of a pressure, and sailing was starting to stop being about sailing and only being about shouting – at people to pay!
So here’s where we need your help.
We have a in-house system that one of our members put together, but our big plan is now to sort a new system. With this we’d like to be able to do online payment’s (PayPal?) our E-News, membership and boat park spaces. Ideally we’d like it online so that more than one person can use it – and possibly interface with the website so that members can keep their own details up to date. It should also be really easy so that as peoples roles change its simple to pick up and learn for those new to the job.
Oh yes, and we’d like it to be free…(ok, ok, cheap…!)
What do you think?
What do you use at your club?
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: kielder, kwsc, May Open, prize, sailing, topper
So after 5 years of trying…. I finally won an actual proper bona-fide sailing series in a proper club event and at prize giving on Saturday got a real life proper prize.
This is significant as I have frequently received the pity prize at the club.
Now I appreciate the understanding that I am an achievement junkie and like to have prizes to keep forever and ever (yes, I still have all of my Brownie badges and certificates for every half assed training course I go on – I mean who actually keeps these things). But it had been getting a little ridiculous.
My first full year of Sailing I won the Best Improvers award. I was very proud to have won this award. It was voted for by the club. I might not have won anything, but I was IMPROVING. Having sailed a club Comet for the year I thought this was a good start. And I got a funky pottery bowl to keep illustrating this important point.
Second year, I raced a lot in my hubbys Laser (I say it was his – he bought it, refurbed it and then didn’t even put it in the water once – his type of sailing) but wasn’t getting so much better….. in fact I had made a season out of getting capsized and not being able to get the boat back up. This was not the case when sailing other people’s Lasers. We sold the boat – it was obviously not me, it was the boats fault and that it was 100 years old and very heavy and therefore I wasn’t very good.
The club obviously thought I was doing good too. I got the Best Improvers award. Again. At this point I was still suitably touched about the fact that people cared.
Third year I got a new Laser. It had go faster Orange and yellow stripes on the bottom of it. It had a pimpy sail with lots of patterns on it.
This was going to be my year. Sure enough, third time lucky….. Best Improvers award.
Now by this time I have to admit to getting a little peeved. Just how much better did I have to get to actually win something?? Or even just get a place?!?! GRRRR!
So that was the obviously the reason that I made the thoroughly sensible decision that what I needed…. Was a faster boat. I took this decision over a long period of about three hours in the pub and promptly went home and bought a faster boat off E-Bay. The logic was impeccable. Now there was an itty bitty little problem with this. I bought an asymmetric boat. I have always wanted one, and in fact had previously owned a baby one (no PY though, so couldn’t race it). The itty problem was that pretty much no one who was racing regularly had an asymmetric, never mind anything of the same class or type. So no one to learn off. And it turns out, handicap racing round the cans, well not so great for asymmetrics. A lot of fun, but no cigar. At committee last year I was one of those who thought it would be great to encourage those who were racing, but not being very successful, so we came up with a new prize – the ‘Doing lots of racing but never coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd’ award’. I thought this was a great idea. Until come prize giving, I won it. On the plus side at least it wasn’t the Best Improvers which, let’s be honest if I had won would have had to be renamed in my honour. This was all particularly embarrassing as series’ were by now being won by people I had been involved in training in the first place. You know, people who couldn’t sail at all six months ago.
So that brings us to this year. I haven’t raced much. This is in some ways down to truly horrible weather which means we haven’t stayed at the club so much, and also due to truly terrible performance putting me off a little. But I did take part in a few events, and triumphs this year include ‘Not being last in the May Open’ and coming third in the Little Americas Cup. That’s right I got an honest to God third. In a Topper. In the rain.
So at the prize giving on Saturday I dressed appropriately and proudly received my first ‘proper’ award following five years of sailing prowess.
It needs a little plaque to put it on now – I have yet to add my previous triumphs…
The moral of this tale? I’m just out to buy a Topper…..
Oh – and in case you are interested my brother won this year’s Best Improver.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: beer, commodore, finished, kielder, kwsc, sailing, windsurf
The year has definitely turned, this morning there was frost on the garden which was covered with fallen leaves – the end of the year seems to be creeping ever closer.
Today was also an important day for us as it has been the day that my husband’s time as Commodore of the sailing club came to an end. Following the AGM he stepped down and handed over to the new incumbent.
Having held the position for two years, it is obviously the end of a period in which we have both been heavily involved in all aspects of the management of the sailing club – from the glad handing and prize giving, to the politics and procrastination that goes with any volunteer role.
I don’t really think either of us had any real idea of what it was all about in the beginning, it was the job nobody wanted (and were a little nervous of, given previous events) and it was only with commitments of support from many others that the Mr felt able to step up. We felt very strongly that the future of the club was uncertain without leadership, and the club was important enough to us both that I encouraged him to take the role – but really, I was unsure as to how he would cope and what it would mean.
Over his time he has brought his own stamp to the role – accessible, approachable and down to earth, he has shown a completely different side of himself than that I knew, and his time has seen the Club continue to stand firm in a difficult time for sailing in the North East. He has encouraged new blood onto the committee and ensured the inclusive nature of the club is maintained as well as juggling relations with the water authority and the legal entity we operate via.
There have been lots of highs -
- the annual prize giving – always went well despite the run up stress of making sure all the prizes came back and that everyone knew who won what
- the rib replacement program – a long drawn out process but working with the treasurer we have a shiny fleet of fantastic boats at our disposal for rescue and patrol
- celebrating 30 years sailing at Kielder along with the Yacht club – bonus points that we remembered!
- encouraging Windsurfing and supporting the enthusiasm of one member who has now developed a full program complete with equipment mostly gained from grants thanks to the support of the committee
- getting approval for the new bar – and financially supporting it by drinking the stock!
- getting the Water Authority on board with a new boat registration system to make members lives easier
- actually doing some sailing! Although obviously this threatened his title of the None Sailing Commodore!
The lows? Well let’s not dwell on those – but I bet he would say that it was that only a couple of weeks ago a long established member still identified him as ‘Vicky’s Husband’ – he threatened to get a badge made at one point.
His action, hard work and commitment have meant that we still have a thriving club to be a part of, that we are coming through the recession strongly and with some new revenue streams open to us and some great people to take us on into the future. So it’s an ending of sorts – but also a new beginning too.
So from the bottom of my heart – thank you for wearing the big hat Mr.
This Sunday while everyone was standing around talking about it (as there was no wind) and enjoying the gormet lunch I had prepared (bangers and mash with gravy) as I was on duty, and the water authority who runs the resovoir was busy with the marathon, we has a visitor.
This landed on the lake, taxied round, pulled up the foreshore and stopped for a cup of tea. The club was fascinated – even if it had broken the speed limit on landing!
The sea plane was home made and flies from Ravenglass every weekend visiting Scottish lochs, southern lakes, and now us!
It’s a first – I’ve never seen anything like it and hopefully the water authorities didn’t see it and its fly past once it took off and headed for home!
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.