Saturday, 28 June 2008

28 June 2008

11.5 nautical miles
Planned to go out with Trevor [someone I met at the club] but he cried off on Thursday, so took Alec and Aaron instead. Alec had been before and the forecast was for nice gentle Bft 2 winds, so I hoped he would get a bit of trying sailing. As it was the wind was Bft 3 and gusty so no chance. But we had a nice sail. Didn't go very far, but fun roller-coaster and wet.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

21 June 2008 - learning about the traveller

8.7 nautical miles
We have friends staying downstairs in our guest flat so I took them out sailing today. Paula as off doing something else so Neil took two of them in Blue and I took 3 of them in Galini... that is we each had one adult and I had two children and Neil one.

The forecast said the wind would kick up pretty high by lunchtime, but in fact it stayed low and so for new people sailing the conditions were ideal. We had a really gentle sail around the bay and then in for lunch. After lunch [cyan track on the image] I took Galini out single handed and did way better than last time when I felt somewhat over-stretched.

One thing I tried today was to pull the traveler over to the windward side of the boat and then bring the main sheet in till the boom was running along the centre line of the boat. The leech seemed to run straighter this way [which is what Christos was concerned about last week for himself] and Neil said I was pointing about 5 degrees closer to the wind than he could...

However... in the afternoon trying to change traveler position and genoa sheet at same time while tacking and sailing single handed proved to be a bit of a feat!

Monday, 16 June 2008

16 June 2008 - Regatta

14 nautical miles
Today was the Regatta, with racing before lunch at McDonalds [one of the sponsors of the Larnaka Nautical Club].

Nickos did amazing job in getting it all together... since I think sorting us out was a little like herding cats [we have 3 cats, so we should know!]

Anyway... Blue and Galini got on the water as soon as possible waiting for the other boats. Neil and Paula were sailing Blue. My crew for the day was my colleague Peter and his son Sam.

Tim joined us on his trimaran. He started off with us towards Finicoudes, but then retired.

As you can see from the photo, the floats were lifting out the water in the wind and so he retired early not joining in the racing nor the trip to our sponsor McDonalds for lunch.

Christos sailed past on the way to the racing.

Later in the day they had to retire from the racing as they broke a stay and had to jury rig it with the trapeze wire to save breaking the mast.

On the way back they ripped the genoa. So it wasn't a good day for them.

James did amazingly well, not only sailing round from the club but racing and continuing on as a stalwart soldier when others were retiring.

He even managed to beat us back to the club. He reckons that running with the wind an Optimist is pretty fast as the flat bow helps plane on the waves.

Ooops... over went the French girls.

And... was a horrendous job trying to get the 470 back up as they had forgotten to close the buoyancy tanks. Lucky it didn't totally fill up and sink.


Nickos was on hand in the rescue boat and got it up...


over it went again...

... OK it was up eventually and the girls carried on to race.

We were all invited back to the Larnaka Offshore Sailing Club at the marina in the evening for the award presentation. The two French girls won the 470 race, despite the capsize. James won the Optimist class... and surprise we won the 'General Class'.

It was great to sit and talk and show people the photos. It was helpful now as Christos is suggesting ways of pointing higher with the traveler.

Finally... here is the route I sailed for the day... the yellow is the morning outward trip and the return is the cyan. I'm particularly pleased on holding the training run and then turning into the goosewing run on the return trip so straight and direct. Its the tacking I have to work on. Last year it was the runs that I was not happy with. Still the rolling on a run concerns me slightly.

Sunday, 15 June 2008


Yesterday, Nickos was asking about how to enter waypoints into his Magellan GPS. I checked with my Garmin and found it worked similar. So he asked me to help today with setting the positions. We had people for lunch, so I couldn't come down and race, but decided to print out the Portsmouth Yardstick info and also help Nickos with the setting of the buoys.

Almost no wind - sunbathing on a sailboat weather! I did spend some time talking with Nickos about the GPS and the Portsmouth Yardstick, but since there was so little wind almost nobody had turned up to sail. Neil and Paula eventually came down and because of the light winds James asked to take out a Laser 4.7, which is the next step up from the Optimist.

We then talked about radio channels for tomorrow. Nickos thought it would be 21 and 72. Strange 21 is duplex and needs to work a land station to work, so he is sure it will be 72 in that case. So I set our radios to 72 in preparation. Tomorrow is the main regatta of the year.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

14 June 2008 - Racing?

estimate 8 nautical miles
Today was supposed to be the day of races for the club. Unfortunately I had not been able to find a crew for the day, but when I arrived at the club, Paula swapped from being crew on Blue to being my crew and Neil single-handed Blue.

The winds were very light and the GPS batteries ran flat so I have no map of the sailing. With Paula who is also a helm we spend about an hour on the water trying different positions for the genoa sheets. Nothing conclusive though... the new place for the fairleads on the forward seat didn't seem to set the genoa much better. Our conclusion really was we needed about 3/4 totally different fairlead positions to get a get setting at all points of sail.

We kept going back to see if they were ready to race as James was supposed to be racing and they had another commitment later in the day. Eventually the other boats came out and Nickos set the buoys for the race. We all gathered around the race boat. Instructions were shouted in Greek, which meant I understood one word in one hundred. Our hope was to follow the 470 which Christos was helming as we knew he had best idea for the race.

'Five minutes' and a blast on the horn. I sailed off for a couple of minutes, my plan was to be sailing back at speed to pass the start buoy at the start of the race... 'Three minutes' and a blast on the horn... we turn and begin to sail back... 'One minute'... we are well positioned I think, but half the fleet are sailing one direction and half the other. A total muddle of boats... '10..9..8....7..6..5..4..3..2..1..GO!'

Then multiple blasts on the horn to abort. So we sail off again and get ready again. Great, we are positioned next to Christos [who I thought was called Mike at that stage] and confirm the course with him. After the abortive start - I don't know why but the boats were all in a total muddle at the first start - five minutes laterwe were off again.

It was three laps round two buoys. There were Lasers, 470s, one Lasers 16 [Neil single handed], one Wayfarer [us] and one Optimist [James]. Christos was helming one of the 470s and had an experienced crew and was flying off with trapeze on the tacks and spinnaker on the downwind runs.

The first lap I didn't get the tacking turns great on the upwind run, so had to tack 4 or 5 times. Then got confused as to whether to bear off or gybe [bear off was correct] into the downwind run... and we got our whisker pole out and goosewinged all the way down to the next buoy. A smart gybe round that and we tacked back again upwind. Better this time, but still not as good as the others to get to the buoy. But beared off at the buoy correctly now and the downwind goosewing went well.

Final lap... tack changes perfect this time and caught up James [so we lapped him, but he was sailing an Optimist!] and did a photo shoot as we went by and were closing on the buoy. Quickly get the camera away, bear off round the buoy [nearly touched, but missed by half a metre - I guess that's pretty tight on the turn] and up with the whisker pole for the final downwind run.

Ooops... I forgot to mention... it was Paula on Blue who took the fabulous pictures of Galini on May 29th. She was telling me about the problems while crewing for me. Because there is a delay on pressing the shutter and the picture taking on her digital camera, trying to get us cresting a wave as a knack... press the button before we crest the wave to get the picture of us on the wave!

So... who won? Well... nobody was counting so I have no idea and back on shore people were asking is there is a way to calculate with different types of boats. I had the Portsmouth Yardstick spreadsheets on my computer so I will bring them down tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

8 June 2008 - choppy waves

estimate 6 nautical miles
Today was force 5/6 dropping to 4/5 while we were sailing, and one of the 470 helms warned us before we went out that the waves were approx 1 metre and choppy.

I have sailed in these conditions before about 2 or 3 times in the last couple of years. When I say choppy the distance between waves is between 7 and 10 metres and the waves are steep. It's fun sailing as the Wayfarer crashes over the waves. Yesterday Raed, my crew, spent his time laughing and enjoying the water splashing up over the foredeck like a white water ride at a water park.

The 7 to 10 metres between waves may be longer than that, it's difficult for me to estimate when I am sailing. But it's probably not very much more as you feel like you only have a second or two before the next wave is upon you. We sail in Larnaka bay and these conditions occur when we have waves rolling in from the south then hitting the shallow water of the bay and steepening up. Closer in to the land itself they seem to flatten again, so there is a patch from about 1 nautical mile from land out to the edge of the bay which is about 5 nautical miles out where we get these steep waves under certain conditions [but rarely, thank goodness].

But... sometimes when going about the next wave knocks you back before you have time to actually go about. So you end up not tacking but staying on the same tack. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 attempts to go about. I should say that the GPS is telling is we're doing about 5-6 knots when we try to go about, so we're not sailing too slowly I think.

I'm sure there must be a knack for going about in these conditions...