Friday, 17 August 2012

Olympic sailing... 24 years ago

Over the last month I have been teaching a friend to sail in my Wayfarer. Today was the chance for her to 'go solo'. So I decided to take out one of the club 470s to sail alongside. She would have to make all the decisions, I would be close but not in the boat!

Well... she sailed off, with her oldest daughter as crew (I taught her daughter to sail a couple of years ago) while her oldest son and I took out the 470. All the sails on the 470s at the club had rips of one size or another on them and Tim and I had repaired them. The best sail, from a material point of view had a long rip along a batten and then perpendicular down to the next seam. We had stitched in two lengths of kevlar tape to repair it and although it will never be a world beater it is now the best sail we have for the 470s.

I should add that this is only the second time I have sailed a 470, which is a very lively dinghy and in even moderate winds needs the crew member to wear a harness and 'hike out' which means clip onto a wire from near the top of the mast and lie out horizontal with your feet on the side of the boat to balance the boat and keep it upright. (see 470 website to see what I mean)

Jacob and I were chasing the Wayfarer when a guy from our club sailing a Finn starts shouting and gesturing across the water. I had chatted with him some time ago, but never really got to know him. So we tacked round and when we passed he shouted 'That was my sail...'

Not knowing what he meant we tacked again and came alongside, when he explained that the sail we had just repaired and were sailing with... number CP500... was the sail he had used 24 years ago when he had represented Cyprus at the Seoul Olympics! The club had kept this sail (which was a beautifully cut and a high quality sail) only for top races so the material was in good repair, it was only last year that somebody ripped it capsizing and so ended up being repaired and now sailed by us.

Of course, sailing away on a 470 for only second time (I normally sail the Wayfarer) under the eye of an Olympic competitor was slightly nerve racking. But that is what Sheila said she felt sailing the Wayfarer without me onboard... oh and she and her daughter thoroughly enjoyed it, said it wasn't good, 'it was GREAT'.

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