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.