Thursday, 28 May 2009

28 May 2009 - Regatta training

15 nautical miles
OK, so here's the buzz... having done well last year in the Regatta, of course I want to do well this year. So... there are two new youngsters in the area - Josh and Jacob - one the son of a friend, the other son of a colleague. Both of them are interested in learning to sail. Today I took them both out together as my trainee crew. One of them in particular is very competitive ['We have to win'] which is not a bad attitude to start racing with.

First order of the day was to practice tacking - so that we can do it smoothly and quickly. Also control of the genoa for best speed [having a GPS that tells you if your SOG is improving is a definite help] and opening bailers etc.

Then move on to running before the wind... goose winged... which requires the crew to get out and rig the whisker pole. Now that is trickier, especially as it requires going from beating up to the buoy, rounding the buoy as a broad reach into a run and at that point getting the genoa to the other side and rigging the whisker pole. Similarly coming out of a run, removing the pole has to be learnt.

I was surprised we did as many miles as we did - 15 in total. Some of the runs were great - we were surfing down the waves. The GPS says we maxed out at 8.6 knots, which was surfing pretty well.

Good day. Hopefully one more training day before the regatta. I suppose I should go by my middle name of James, then the story will be the three Js go sailing!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

16 May 2009 - Second family sailing

14 nautical miles

This weeks family was seven - two adults and five kids, though the littlest one being a baby was too small to go out.

So Neil and I each took an adult and two kids so that they could all come out together. Galini and Blue sailing in formation - what a wonderful sight.

Katie (she's the little one in the photo) was thrilled that the wind was light enough (Bft 2) that she could come out with her Dad (Jörn). She was worried she would be left behind.

However, five minutes out and she was wanting to know when we were going back and one trip was enough for her. I think she was happy to be back on dry land.

I let Jacob take the helm and having handed over the helm it was difficult getting him off. I think we've found another sailor here!

During the day we swapped crews around... but every time we went out Jacob wanted to go... and wanted to helm.

When Jacob spots Blue just ahead with Marie at the helm, family rivalries come out and he is desperate to beat her.

The winds are light so it is possible for Galini to beat Blue in light winds - when its stronger the planing hull of Blue lets her pull away. The sense of competition is high - I think Jacob will make a great race crew... and maybe eventually a great helm too.

But Blue holds her own and keeps ahead.

Never mind, we're not really racing... and if you look at the tracks on Google Earth you see how wiggly the helming is anyhow!

We did let the adults have a go too. Jörn loves the water, Sheila the mountains. But both were keen to try this sailing thing.

Of course, we had to put up with cries from the one member of the family desperate to do more of 'Can I take the helm please?'

Yes, buoyancy aids and Crocs really do help you to float! No, this wasn't a man overboard, this was just floating around in the surf.

In the afternoon the wind came up a little to Bft 3 gusting 4 so I took out Sheila and Jacob to show them what its like with stronger winds.

Oh, and I've discovered a new photographic effect. Its called the salt filter, and creates a slight glow around highlights and a softening of contrast ratio. You try to get an even coating of salt crystals over the front of the lens - too little to entirely stop the light, but enough to create the effect. You can see this in the photos of Jörn at the helm and Jörn and Katie together. Actually I'm not sure I like the effect.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

9 May 2009 - family sailing

6 nautical miles
It looked like a gentle sailing day - Bft 2 - so I invited the family that are just joining us at work out for a day sail. There are three kids in the family so took them out in two relatively short trips.

These photos are from the second trip.

It turned out to be a little more lively that Bft 2 - the chart showed Bft 4+ later when I got home. Still it was great fun sailing and a good way to introduce people to the fun of sailing.

If you get cold from the spray, the best thing to do is snuggle up under the deck with some cushions for padding... and sleep?

I gave David, Nicole and Josh a chance at helming... Josh seemed to really get the hang of sailing and enjoyed it.

Have I found a new crew to train this season?