Here's a bit of culture for you, folks.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed that they were not here.
Shakespeare, Henry V, IV, iii
Well, yes, basically the 2001 Nationals were that great!
Thursday's races were sailed in something vaguely northerly, anything from 12 to 25 knots, loads of shifts and big gusts. It was tricky out there! The course was set in Portland Harbour, which was probably a good call in the circumstances. Ace Race Officer Frank Newton ran things smoothly and efficiently. Plenty of speed with small waves, and plenty of swimming too - I think just about everyone went in at one time or another.
A slender majority of boats were post 97 rules, with 3 each Slugs and Paterson 7s, the Squid and the Velocipede. Most older boats are converted to a greater or lesser extent, with Domino being the only boat with the smaller sail area, though both Pistrix and Halo Jones had less than maximum area with big jibs but the old mainsails. Billy's Trifle was sporting a much more substantial looking snout after Weston. Phil Alderson trekked down from Aberdeen with his boat unfinished and sails arriving at the door just as he left. His boat has no flares, just tube wings, and really looks quite unusual. His boat has an alloy mast for now - Halo Jones had the only other one.
Green Slug took the lead near the first mark from Pasta Frenzy, just ahead of a tight bunch. Slug maintained the lead until they were flattened by a big gust. Pasta went on to win, with Slug second and Shiny Beast 3rd. Clare Warren timed one lap at about 8 minutes. If the course was the promised 0.6 of a mile that indicates (according to post race mental arithmetic - admittedly suspect) some 10 knots round the course, upwind and downwind, which is pretty fair...
Slug 3rd to windward, behind Pasta and Beast. Slug took Beast up the second beat, finding better wind and direction on the left. They then overtook Pasta on a downwind leg, while the latter was engaged in a de-spinnaker-twisting gybe or two, which resulted in a swim. Meanwhile Shiny Beast ripped their kite badly, which allowed Fizzy Shark through to take 3rd.
Friday started sunny and fairly quiet - around Force threeish, but built after the first race. By the time of the last race it was back to serious airtime again:-) The wind was more westerly and much steadier than Thursday, but with enough shifts and variation to make picking the changes essential. Left usually paid on the beats. With the regatta fleet joining us we didn't have the usual downwind gate, and this made the downhill legs a little more boat speed and a little less tactical as most folk just banged right.
The lighter airs suited the narrow boats. Shiny Beast basically disappeared up the first beat and took a good sized lead which they held to the end. Behind them there was a lot of place swapping. Little Red Number was running second for a while, and was right up with the leaders for much of the race, and only lost a place to Gigolo at the end. The two leading Slugs and Pasta Frenzy fought hard, with Pasta taking second and Robin 3rd.
More of a decent breeze for this race, which was sailed on a trapezoidal course instead of the windward leewards. This made life quite exciting for those with big masthead kites and a mark to reach... Shiny Beast led round the windward mark, but was overtaken by Pasta Frenzy and Green Slug downwind. They then lost a trapeze wire and struggled in to record a mid fleet position that I'm sure they hope will be a discard. Dave won from Robin with a reasonable lead. Simon's Slug was well placed until the kite halyard block failed and the rope started sawing its way down the mast...
Another windy race - a good force 5 and plenty of action. Not all of it good though. Team Scotland broke a centreboard [Robin last night "I can't understand how Team Scotlands foils haven't broken - they're exactly the same layup as my ones which broke"]. Smilie Jonathon had his boat quite badly clouted by a rescue boat, damaging daggerboard case, rudder stock and a spreader. Robin won this one handily from Dave. A glorious race for those of us whose boats survived: in Halo Jones we will long remember one storming reach duelling with Pistrix with both boats a few feet apart at what must have been something getting on for 20 knots...
A super day's sailing. Fully powered up and more for all the races, warm and sunny, what more could you want. There was a lot of close racing and a lot of infighting right through the fleet. The wind was 18knots plus for the first race, dropping slightly towards the evening,
Pasta Frenzy was a tad late for the start of this one, and a tad was all that Green Slug needed. Clear ahead at the windward mark in their favoured conditions they were never headed all the way round. Job Done. Meanwhile Simon's Slug was battling away with Pasta Frenzy, but a small bugette in the spinnaker system - they're steadily getting the boat sorted - was costing them about half a second on each spinnaker launch. That's an awful lot of distance on these boats at these speeds and the Pasta took another second place with Shiny Beast coming through for third near the end.
The start line had been getting increasingly competitive through the
series, with a lot of battles developing through the fleet and
everyone fighting for advantage. This one was particularly tight, but
Green Slug managed to come out cleanly and first to the windward
mark. One thing that's quite noticeable is that the masthead kite
rigged boats were sailing deeper on the runs, but were having trouble
getting height if they needed to.Close to the leeward mark Fizzy
Shark was coming in at a much higher angle than a couple of masthead
boats and looked like getting rolled. Tim and Una decided enough was
enough, pulled the sheets in and luffed... Little Red Number
attempted to roll over them anyway and failed. Apparently there was a
plaintive cry of "That's not fair" followed by a large splash... King
Tubby tried the same trick on Fizzy, got equally luffed and then
caught their mainsail battens on Fizzy's rigging with terminal
results for the mainsail... Una glanced back and surveyed the
"******* ****, you're playing dirty today!"
"Funny", says Tim, "Someone said that to me in the Protest Room at the NYYC last week..."
Still rejoicing in the conditions, Green Slug led all the way round. Pasta Frenzy was second with Simon's Slug 3rd and Shiny Beast 4th.
The last race of the day was notable for some vicious starting tactics - Pasta Frenzy was pushing Green Slug and Shiny Beast over at the left hand end with such enthusiasm that they ended up over themselves, whilst Halo Jones was pushing King Tubby over at the right end... Pistrix was seen considering entering the fray and then wisely backing off... A Merlin approaching the gate on port for his beat - to the *starboard* side of the commitee boat - was greeted with a line of Cherubs on starboard, some going very slowly and some rather quicker... Meanwhile a poor little Moth was attempting to get through the ruck on his way up the beat, was on starboard too, but had a great deal of difficulty in finding room to squeeze through. In the race Robin, his air suddenly clear as those around him hastily peeled off to recross, took full advantage of the clean air and departed to win the race, and, according to your webmaster's calculations (admittedly at midnight post curry) the championship. We'll see. Up the second beat Halo Jones caught Little Red Number on a port/starboard coming up to the gate. Little Red Number thought they could get across. They were wrong. About half a second before impact both boats simultaneously crash tacked and capsized - pretty much right on the line. We hope you enjoyed it on the Committee Boat. Again Pasta Frenzy was second, Simon's Slug 3rd and Shiny Beast 4th.
It was looking quiet on the beach first thing - and quiet out to sea as well. It obviously wasn't going to be another rip-roaring day like the previous ones, and there wasn't quite the same level of mad enthusiasm. However off we yachted, the fleet now augmented by Phil Alderson, with the boat in a suitable state of assembly to give it a go...
Mr Newton set a short line, but with a spectacular amount of port end bias. Troublemaker :-) Consequently the port end was the place to be, but the chances of getting away with an across the fleet start were going to be low. The resultant variety of strategies actually meant for less trouble than the previous day's efforts. Perhaps the reduced adrenalin factor -as it was barely two on the side of the boat weather - also helped. A tight first beat ensued, with lots of cross tacking, place changing and hails. Close that is, for all but Shiny Beast, who quickly established a spectacular lead and disappeared off into the distance. Pasta Frenzy won the duel for second place with Green Slug, but as Green Slug had already won, and Dave's discards were all seconds, it was really pretty much irrelevant. Phil found a snag or two and didn't start.
Another short port end bias line, and similar manouvers, but truth to tell a certain end of series ennuie had set in as the wind was still light (for this week) and the major places were all settled. And again the green hull and black kite of Shiny Beast was away ahead of the rest. Green Slug and Pasta Frenzy changed places a few times during the race, but Pasta came away second again. A little further back Phil got "Version One" out round the track to finish a race! They didn't beat many people - after all it was pretty much a first sail - but when you consider how much needed doing when the boat arrived... They were awarded one of the Fleets more eccentric trophies - "The Ashes", which is a jug containing the ashes of an expired Cherub and is presented for valiant struggles.
|Boat||Blunt End||Sharp End||Number||Design||R 1||R 2||R 3||R 4||R 5||R 6||R 7||R 8||R 9||R 10||Place|
|Green Slug||Robin Russell||Will Lee||2673||Slug||2||1||(3)||2||1||1||1||1||(3)||3||1|
|The Pasta Frenzy||Dave Roe||Clare Warren||2660||Pasta Frenzy mod||1||(2)||(2)||1||2||2||2||2||2||2||2|
|Shiny Beast||Andy Paterson||Alex Paterson||2676||Paterson 7||3||(4)||1||(8}||3||3||4||4||1||1||3|
|Fizzy Shark||Tim Dean||Una-Mary Colclough||2662||Pasta Frenzy mod||4||3||(7)||3||4||(17)||5||5||7||6||4|
|Geriatric Gigolo||Scott Kaczor||Mike Miller||2650||Paterson 6a||6||7||5||6||7||(17)||(17)||6||6||5||5|
|Pistrix||Joe Snawden||Natalie Butcher||2666||Pasta Frenzy mod||5||5||(12)||5||5||6||(17)||8||8||7||6|
|[Simon's Slug]||Andrew Kinchin||Simon Roberts||"247"||Slug||(17)||(17)||4||7||17||17||3||3||4||4||7|
|Halo Jones||Ben Brown||Jim Champ||2641||Italian Bistro mod||8||6||(11)||(17)||6||8||6||7||10||10||8|
|Born Slippy||Neil Cardno||Ken Scott-Brown||2674||Slug||7||8||9||4||(17)||(17)||7||9||11||9||9|
|Hong Wang Pao||Billy Wood||Iain Everett||2654||Trifle mod||9||9||8||(10)||8||7||8||(17)||9||8||10|
|Squid Pro Quo||Mike Rolf||Tom Payne||2677||Squid||11||(17)||13||(17)||10||5||17||10||17||17||11=|
|Little Red Number||Patrick Cunningham||Mark Turner||2678||Paterson 7||(17)||(17)||6||17||17||4||17||17||5||17||11=|
|Domino||Dominic Barker||Craig Johnson||2656||Platypus||10||(17)||(17)||17||9||9||17||17||17||17||13|
|Other Way Up||Ken Appleby||James Collet||2661||Italian Bistro mod||(17)||(17)||17||17||17||10||17||17||12||12||14|
|Fuzzy Logic||Martin Hurst||Jon Garfitt||2675||Velocipede||(17)||(17)||10||9||17||17||17||17||17||17||15|
|Version 1||Phil Anderson||Dave Carty||2681||Paterson 7||(17)||(17)||17||17||17||17||17||17||17||11||16|