Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: capsize, jellyfish, Laser, race, sailing, South Shields, Tynemouth Sailing
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.
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.
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.
Remember to help me come up with a name for my boat and I’ll knit you something. Probably not a jumper.
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: event, sailing, South Shields, traitor
As I’ve said before, the best place in the world to sail is obviously Kielder.
But as part of my commitment to 3LT, (Look, learn, listen, travel, turn up and take part!) I started the year at an open event at a much more local club, sailing in the mouth of the Tyne. It ended up that despite turning up a lot, I only got to sail once. However it was such a lovely sun kissed, steady breezes, beautiful and scenic sail I did something a little foolish.
I joined the club.
I do have a plan and in essence it’s a good one. South Shields sailing club is only 8 miles from where I work. And they race on a Wednesday. So my genius master plan is to race there on a Wednesday night in my Vareo and do more cruising at Kielder. This makes perfect sense when you analyse that my very favourite Kielder sailing involves puttering up the lake to the pub for a pint and a bowl of chips – something that can be achieved in a particularly civilised manner in our Wayfarer.
I am as yet uncertain as to how this will go down with my compatriots at Kielder. So far it’s been very quiet. Particularly when I have extolled the virtues of the sailing area and the fact that you can swing a very large cat in the ladies changing rooms. The only downside so far seems to be that I’m the only one in there.
So I’m waiting for the horse’s head or a black spot to appear.
Note to self, 3LT is all well and good, but you aren’t meant to join every sailing club you visit….
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.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: event, racing, sailing, sea, South Shields, Vareo
It was the second week of the Spring Splash. It was snowing. It was cold. I didn’t want to get out of bed. But I forced myself and having pontificated about, got my arse in gear and found myself launching my boat with the snow full in my face.
The wind was behind me so it was an easy get out this week, and I headed out for the start line! There was another Vareo waiting for me – along with a few familiar faces from last week. The wind was steady at around 12 knots – with huge swell coming in from between the piers. If only the snow would stop.
Miraculously – it did. And then the sun came out – and more importantly stayed out. South Shields obviously has magic weather.
I worked out where the start line was based on where everyone else was sailing (turns out I was nowhere near the only one who had no idea what the course was – it was set on the back of the power boat in letters, but I think most of the visitors were guestimating around the buoys the patrol boat had dropped) and I even got my watch sorted to do a race countdown. I had listened to my own advice this week and put on my SMALL sail. And I could already tell that it was making a huge difference to me on the boat – my handling was much better than last week and I was definitely feeling more confident in the boat. The whistle went and the countdown began!
Now – in a total aside – what is all this about a 5 minute countdown? All the club racing we do is three minutes. That is at all of the clubs who had people there (Kielder, Derwent and South Shields). But because it is an ‘open’ we move to a five minute start. I can understand this if there is a huge fleet which needs more time to get positioned etc, but this seems a little crazy otherwise – is it just me? I bet someone will go all RYA on me and tell me why I’m wrong……!
My aim for this race was to get round the course and get a finish – but I generally reckon that you can lose a race on your start. So I was underwhelmed when the whistle went and I had a Topper to Winward stopping me from pointing up – poor positioning on my part and I hadn’t been keeping a close enough eye on where everyone was – it was also a good reminder of why transits are a good idea – I was obviously a country mile off the line if there was room for a Topper between me and it!
So I tacked round the back and started to work my way up the course. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day and me and DiagoNelly were getting along famously! After my first tentative lap I suddenly realised I was in front of the other Vareo – or rather had been as it smoothly overtook me on the winward beat. Now I had my little sail on and he had a big sail, but there is no difference in PY. My sail shape was horrible as my outhaul was too short – so I had no adjustment in this area at all. And I obviously wasn’t paying proper attention as I hadn’t even realised I was ahead.
I felt sick. With adrenalin and excitement in a good way. No way was I going to let that pass, and I made a little time back on the downwind leg. It was still close but on the last lap there were three of us at the mark – myself, the other Vareo and a Laser. To say I had a poor mark rounding would be an understatement and I mournfully watched them sail off into the distance as I untied the mainsheet from my toe straps.
I finished sixth. That’s actually out of a field of eight, so not too bad…. BUT BEHIND THE OTHER VAREO. In fact I had watched him over the line and worked out based on my finish I was about 9 and a bit seconds behind him per lap. That’s huge.
Second race they moved the course – I had of course only just got used to the first one, but this time I got a good start as one of the first over the line. I was however heading for the wrong buoy. I corrected but lost some of my early advantage. My mantra was keep it simple. Keep the boat flat, use your sail settings quickly and get tight to the marks. It seemed to be working as I got round the course, but I was fighting neck and neck with the other Vareo. He got the inside line on a mark at the beginning of the second lap and I found myself behind him for the rest of the race. Not by much. Shouting distance (we shouted! In a friendly way obviously!). And by the last beat up to the finish line I knew he was ahead. I took a different path up towards the finish line – and must have got an advantage – as we came up to the finish line neck and neck….. and he beat me by 2 seconds. 2 SECONDS!!!!!!!
There’s only one thing for it. This means war. In a nice way. Kind of.
You will notice there has been no mention here of our gennakers. This is because neither of us used them. I have wanted to focus on getting my elf back in my boat, sailing on the sea etc etc without worrying about this one too. But it has become obvious that the next round could be won by whoever gets up the nerve to do this first.
I am also getting my outhaul extended so that I can correctly set my sail, and replacing my main sheet, which is a bit ‘sticky’ – it seems to be too thick.
It all feels a bit OK Corral. And I’m liking it! It’s great to actually have another boat to class race against and I really enjoyed racing, for which I have to say my enthusiasm had waned – there’s only so long being last is appealing for.
Roll on next weekend – and watch out – I’m coming to get you!
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: event, sailing, sea, South Shields
So last time I posted it was with the disaster that my boat was missing vital equipment (something to steer it with). But I didn’t give you a full post – sorry – and I’m really impressed with the detective work (DEREK!). Turns out you can find out anything on the internet…..
So to get to the South Shields six week event, the Boatfixer had brought my boat back from Kielder. This had then been follower with the Mr helping me get the boat from Newcastle to our place and spending Saturday re-rigging to make sure everything was A-OK.
So Sunday came. It was a perfect sailing day – actually better than pretty much all the sailing from last year which had been cold wet and miserable. My boat was quickly rigged, and there were lots of other enthusiastic people about. The boat was ready – and so was everyone else’s – easily a dozen of mixed class… and there was another Vareo! Wow – someone to copy off learn from!
It was 14 degrees, the sun was shining and me and the winter cake layer had even ventured forth in my wetsuit! At the briefing we found out about things like shipping, tide, the channel, rocks on the entrance / exit to the club and big floaty things to mark the channel – which you could sail round as well. I had no idea what the course was, but that’s never a problem as I just follow everyone else anyway.
And we were off. Everyone dashed down the sand to get launched. Except me. Who was missing a tiller extension.
I don’t know how I had left it – I hadn’t put it on the boat the day before as it just flicks around and gets in the way when you are doing other stuff. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone else left. I sulked a bit.
There were some other people about the club so I asked about spare extensions (I know – any other ideas!?!?) – and we found a couple… but none with the right attachment.
It was about this time at the point of maximum peed off-ness that my brother arrived. He had come to watch. (or mock – I uncharitable thought at the time). And the next thing I knew he had jumped back in his car and sped off back to my garage to pick up the tiller extension!
I stopped huffing about now and instead felt guilty that I had doubted his motives. I also realised I was going to have to give him the £3.20 for the Tyne Tunnel toll.
So I spent the time taking a few photos and trying to identify the course (no joy).
By the time my brother got back the second race was well underway. But I didn’t care. I fixed my tiller and boldly marched my boat into the water. And after much to-ing and fro-ing got out of the club (I only ran into the underwater rocks once). I was sailing on the sea!!! In the sun!!!
I headed up to the area within the harbour that everyone was sailing in and sailed about a bit. I felt a bit like one of those baby lambs when they have just been born – I was wobbling a lot and totally overreacting to movement on the boat – who says sailing isn’t like the Hokey Cokey? There were what I originally was calling waves but apparently were swell and you could go whizzing along with them. There were birds sometimes coming and shouting at you and the views were amazing.
I was completely tentative and I wasn’t out long before everyone was heading for home. But had I enjoyed it? Totally. And my little bro even took a few pics to prove it.
So this was a very different experience to my previous sea sailing – and there are definite advantages in how ‘solid’ the wind is – Kielder is a myriad of shifts, puffs, shadows and gusts around a hilly and diverse landscape – whereas I really felt that once I had figured out the other stuff the level of consistency that you can get from this would be of real benefit.
I also need to remember to use my SMALL sail all the time – I am always tempted to put my BIG sail on for the POWER. The power is no doubt great, but far too much for me to handle. And no – I didn’t get the kite up!
So – only another 5 weeks to go. My goal for next week? Find out what the course is. Turn up with all the correct equipment. Start a race.
Oh, and pay my brother that £3.20.
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: 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?