The Knitting Sailor


Winning
April 24, 2014, 5:49 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Everyone likes winning.

I frequently deny that it’s all about the winning, purely because I spend a lot of time not winning.

Because in any competition there can only be one winner – so that means for every one winner there are many non-winners. I have been very good being a non winner. I have tried not to be grumpy about being a non-winner.  Despite the fact I am indeed very grumpy.

Since the beginning of last September I have not won the Great North Bike ride.

I have no idea why I am wearing yellow glasses.

I have no idea why I am wearing yellow glasses.

 

Not won the Great North run (although I knocked 10 mins off my time – and yes – there was still a queue for the toilet).

Really, never again....

Really, never again….

 

Not won the Kielder Run, Bike, Run (I did the first running bit!).

Yes we did arrive by boat again - epic.

Yes we did arrive by boat again – epic.

So I was thrilled when this arrived.

2014-04-22 16.51.49

Because I had won something! A ‘name that bay’ competition by Menorca Cruising and I got a hat.  To be fair I had REALLY tried to win – going to Menorca about 47 times has finally paid off.  And it has proved to be a lucky hat… When I went sailing the Sunday after, I finished two races – coming third and second (and yes there were more than three boats on the water!). It was the influence of the hat.

In fact it is now feeling so lucky I may have to wear all of the time.  It’s even making me want to do big boat sailing in Menorca – when what we usually do is this.

Yes, you do sail faster if you wear funky shorts

Yes, you do sail faster if you wear funky shorts

Making me win is a genius marketing ploy.  I think now I might want a go in this.

I think it might have a kettle – click on it to have a look at what Menorca Cruising are all about!

As everyone likes to win, in my next post I will also be sharing who the winners of the boat naming competition are – and an update on the knitting prizes!



“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd
March 5, 2014, 9:23 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

It’s taken me a while to write this post because in some ways it has nothing to do with this blog – in others – it has everything to do with it.

So many of us are treading a fine line and trying to find a ‘work / life balance’.  I’ve never really been sure about that – I mean surely your work is part of your life too?  And for a little while I have been feeling that maybe some of the makeup of my life is wrong.  Not in any evil, crimebaron, serial killer type way, just, wrong.  It’s felt uncomfortable and itchy, something I can’t quite put my finger on, and the more I have tried to ignore it the more it seems that certain events have happened to thrust it in my face.

So I handed in my notice and as of last week I no longer have a job.  If you say it really quick it’s fine!

I’m not really sure what that means – I am now completely outside every frame of reference I have.  I’ve had a job since I was 13 – and I understand delivering the papers isn’t running a multinational, but the disciplines that go with that have been consistent ever since.  Equally I think so much of our self image and values about who we are is tied up in our job – but possibly that was the itchy feeling?

My new plan is to work for myself.  Now while there are inherent advantages in this – I know how my boss takes her coffee, what she’s going to moan about and I can get an answer to any important question immediately – there are also disadvantages – turns out high expectations and a lack of taking no for an answer just being the start of them!

Everyone else thinks this is a genius plan.  I, on the other hand, feel a bit like a kid who has just had the stabilizers taken off her bike.  Wobbly, scared and sure that I am going to end up with scabby knees down the line , but with people behind me who can see exactly how it can work and know it’s just a wobble and then it will be fine.

In the meantime, I think there might be more knitting.  And sailing.  And possibly, if you’re really unlucky there might even be more blogging about it.  Thanks for reading x

Keep Calm and REMEMBER WEEBLES WOBBLE BUT THEY DON'T FALL DOWN Poster



Sailing like a dog
August 15, 2013, 5:51 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , , ,

That’s what I did last night.  In fact its possibly an insult to dogs.

So back at the Wednesday sailing at South Shields with my nameless Laser.  Since my boat had arrived a few weeks ago I have sailed every one of these and did a couple before I sold the Vareo at the beginning of the season.  But I had a goal. A mission.  I was going to both START and FINISH a race.  So far I have not managed that one with the Laser at least, so I felt this would be a great achievement.  It was light winds – lighter than forecast, so in a fit of over ambition I popped the full rig on rather than my pretty Radial.

Sallying forth off the shore I got myself settled at the front of the deck and faffed on with setting things nice and lose for the light wind.  Brilliant – I was making good progress up into the bay, and nearly looked like I knew what I was doing.

Then a giant jellyfish swam past.

Yes, it looked just like this

Yes, it looked just like this

I thought it looked quite pretty.

Up to the start line and with a bit of sailing around the flag for the laser class went up.  I was very impressed that I had identified this and actually had my watch started at nearly the right time.  There were lots of other boats.  And other Lasers.  In fact as I looked around there were many others (in Geordie that means 4 or above – a couple = 2, a few = 3, many = 4 +, millions = 10 and above).  the start line had a bias and as we got down to the last 20 seconds I was right in the thick of it.  How the hell did that happen.  And I have a boat on each side and a boom in my face and I’m trying to keep in between the two boats without hitting anyone and I really wanted to close my eyes as the start horn went and … I sailed straight into the committee boat.

I had been so busy worrying about the sailing boats I really hadn’t seen that coming.

Well I pulled off with as much dignity as I could manage and sailed off up the course – there was a little wind and as it came over the course I did my penalty turns to ensure that I had shown the proper contrition.

I wasn’t last to the Winward mark – SCORE!

It was a run down to the Channel marker now and off I went – board up, sail filled I was thinking I could turn this around.

The wind came up.  From nowhere.  I know this as the boat lurched up onto the plane and I watched the boats ahead of me hit the mark.  It was a gybe point.  It wasn’t looking very pretty.  Ok – I needed a plan.  First thing, I needed to look at the light wind setup on my boat.  Crap.  I have no XD kit and pretty much might as well forget that.  Now I need to think about gybing at the mark.  The boat in front of me capsizes trying that.  OK – I’m tacking – my tiny confidence now totally gone.

It’s a bit messy, but I got the boat round, managed a little on the outhaul and kicker and headed up to the next mark.  By this time I have also realised that one of the first things I should have spent time on with the boat is setting up the toestraps.  Hiking is an interesting experience without anything that you can hook into.  And I can’t stop thinking about the formerly attractive jellyfish.

I am sailing like a total idiot.  Jumping all over the place because I am scared of the jellyfish, don’t trust my toestraps as they are hanging limply out of the other side of the boat and am still trying to get any extra kicker on.  It turns out I am now sailing tight to the mark at the end of the start line to get down to the Groin.  It’s tight but I make the mark… and capsize on it.

I am now in the water with a jellyfish that is going to eat me.  I have never righted a boat so fast in my life.  If there are jellyfish then there are probably other things that could eat me too.  Like Sharks.  Or Seals.  Or Lobsters.

Fortunately the patrol boat have seen all of this and come over to shout some friendly encouragement.  Like ‘why are you going round that mark?’.  Turns out I was going round this mark for no good reason.

There were another two laps to go and I manfully got my arse round them – on the last lap the Groin even put on it’s pretty red light to encourage me.  By this time the patrol boat was also offering occasional shouts of encouragement.  I think they thought I was a little inept.  No idea why.

I finished.  Last out of all the Lasers.  If nothing else I am consistent….

I had a lovely time – but I couldn’t help but feel I was on the walk of shame as I pulled my boat back up the beach.

But I had achieved!  I had started and finished a race!  I had capsized the boat for the first time and got it straight back up!  I had met some new people on the committee boat!

And ONE DAY those people will see me NOT BE LAST.

No rush.

Postscript

I have just horrified myself even more by trying to find a photo of the evil jellyfish on the internet for this post.  

This has confirmed that not only is this a very dangerous jellyfish but also that it can grow up to 40 METERS (Lions Mane – the info is here).  And it normally swims with friends.  I’m never going in the water again.

Post-Postscript

Giant well done to Tynemouth Sailing club who race with us on a Wednesday on their Sport England grant!  Hope you are going to spend some of it on jellyfish proofing the sailing area.

 

Post-Post Postscript

Remember to help me come up with a name for my boat and I’ll knit you something.  Probably not a jumper.



Extreme Sailing!
August 12, 2013, 9:05 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , ,

Over the last few weeks sailing has gone from one extreme to the other.

From glorious light wind, sunny sailing at South Shields

Nearly no wind, but lots of sunshine!

Nearly no wind, but lots of sunshine!

To blowing crazy amounts of wind at Kielder.

That's really very windy

That’s really very windy

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.

One half of the start line

One half of the start line

DSCF2426

The other half – three boats made it out

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.

Just call me Bananaman!

Just call me Bananaman!

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.

It used to be a Miracle

It used to be a Miracle

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!



You might have noticed….
July 31, 2013, 8:37 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , ,

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.

It's on a double stacker and everything
It’s on a double stacker and everything
The Laser in its new home - with thanks to the Boatfixer and family!
The Laser in its new home – with thanks to the Boatfixer and family!

I’ll worry about the trailer later – and tonight? Well tonight I’m going sailing.



I’m back!
July 5, 2013, 7:45 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: ,

So the holiday was amazing. Sailed, windsurfed (badly), water skied (terribly), drank beer (like a professional).

Only one thing. The false advertising.

20130705-074016.jpg

There wasn’t a lobster in it.



Midweek Regatta
June 19, 2013, 4:50 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

So here are five reasons why sailing the midweek regatta is not such a good idea.

1. Its sunny, so a force 5 looks TOTALLY do-able. Its a force 5 – of course its not. Especially when you are sailing with your husband from whom you had a sailing divorce some years ago.

2. Having put this aside – after a capsize and a blood injury the honourable thing to do was to retire gracefully.

20130618-164855.jpg

3. Hearing the phrase ‘I can’t move as fast as you can talk’…. Well yes, but that just means that you need to move faster…

4. Realising that the second best thing about sailing is retiring to watch sailing with this.

20130618-165414.jpg

5. And being able to nod sagely and talk about it when everyone else is doing this.

20130618-165754.jpg

And this

20130618-171618.jpg20130618-171502.jpg20130618-171542.jpg20130618-171636.jpg

And being recovered in bits by the safety boat.

Sometimes the better part of valour… is retiring and talking about it!



Where am I?
June 18, 2013, 4:40 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

So everyone runs these competitions. Where am I?

Well I don’t think many people will get this, but I am here –

20130618-163950.jpg

I know!!!!
And look at this!!!

20130618-164132.jpg

Mwahahahaha!!!! I can do little other than cackle at the moment.

(there is no point to this post other than to let burglars know we aren’t at home… but just for the record my tall, muscular brother is dog-sitting at ours – good luck…!)



Round the Cans
June 6, 2013, 9:21 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

This Sunday I went sailing with my Dad. As I’ve mentioned before, my Dad windsurfed rather than sailed, and did his best to encourage me in this pursuit. I never got far, preferring to use the board as a canoe for exploring the lake.

Recently I gave it another go, but found that as I have no coordination or balance this wasn’t as easy as it looks. Essentially I spent short periods of time wobbling on a board, followed by much longer periods of flying through the air and landing in the water.

So a few years ago when my Dad started to sail and come up to the lake it was really nice to have something we could all talk about and share.

This year for the first time we are doing a series together – him helming and me crewing. I’m not bad crew usually, the ‘bottom of ballast’ is a key advantage in a boat like my Dads (Flying Fifteen) and at key moments I do indeed deploy the bottom to tactical advantage. Pass me another pie.

So this was the first race – and the weather was lovely – really hot with a 3 with a few gusty bits in it, so it was always going to be a slower race with plenty of time to chat and pontificate about how much better than the rest of the boats we were doing. Well we could dream…

But as the countdown came to an end and we got over the line we weren’t doing badly following Ernie (the fastest milkman in the west) on the beat up the course. The wind was patchy, but we had headed for the right hand side of the course where there was definitely a little more wind. Our first concern was where the first mark was – we had a vague idea but with some of the recent weather the marks are all over the place – and as we overtook Ernie it became increasingly important we worked out where it was. We sighted it and got on a good line – just as a couple of bothersome future-Olympiads in a Laser 2000 called starboard on us. We tacked and had to follow them round the mark – our only consolation being that we were still holding position in second. Catching the wind as we headed off across the lake we sailed straight for the next buoy. I don’t mind telling you we were a little stressed – we were second – ahead of four other boats (I know – poor turnout. A lot of people weren’t back from the away cruise at Tighnabruaich) – and we realised there was only one way to keep our position – get to the gybe point and get the kite up!

Little nervous about this – last time we’d done it I’d ended up spending slot of time crawling around on the foredeck in windy weather.

But against all expectations we got it up smoothly enough, and without me braining my Dad with the spinnaker pole, and with a bit if tinkering the boat took off – closely followed by Ernie and Rob (the newly incumbent sailing commodore) in a race rigged Wayfarer who had also managed to cleanly hoist and were bearing down on us!

But we made it to the bottom of the run, and with only one adventure on the foredeck got the spinnaker down, hardened up and tacked up through the gate, beating back up the course.

At this point we remembered to breathe and looked at each other going “Really?!? We’re still in second?!?! “

We lost some water on the way up to the mark, but were heartened to see the children swimming rather than sailing around the mark – but the Wayfarer was gaining – we pointed up and made the mark as the Laser 2000 took back off across the lake. With a bit of wind we were pulling away – only to find ourselves being overtaken to leeward by a bright pink Dart 18 which was steaming past in our dirty air – and glancing back Ernie and Rob were hoisting the kite – that’s right they were going to reach across and then gybe it round the mark.

With one thought my Dad and I prepared the ropes and… didn’t hoist as we plainly knew there was no way we would get it through a gybe – and besides we were nearly there – we came round the mark a little enthusiastically and did a perfect hoist at which the boat lurched up onto the plane – I was just hanging on to those sheets as we held the line right down the lake, brought it down, rounded the mark and made it through the gate in third.

We both looked at each other and started to breathe again – while being vaguely hysterical as we watched Ernie, my brother and the boat fixer finish. We even did a cool hand like we were down with the kids!

We knew we would be reshuffled with handicap, but it felt good – it tasted like victory.

And you know what? Even with handicap we came third – 32 corrected seconds behind the fastest milkman in the west and the sailing commodore – with those irksome kids in first.

So if we can just learn to gybe with that kite up….!



“So cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a fox…”
June 3, 2013, 10:41 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Its not a car, its a boat.  Honest.

0 to 60 in not very much time




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