Sunday 12th Feb the Race Officers Perspective

Up early and the forecast is F4 gusting F5 north-easterly, temperature 2 degrees feels like minus 4 degrees and on the webcams and weather station I can see the forecast is correct and its raining. Set off for the club after telling the family I might be home for lunch.

At the club there are already quite a few eager sailors in the wet bar who wish to race and we decide on short courses to keep everyone warm and a single start to minimise the time between races although the asymmetric boats would like a windward leeward. Time to get the committee boat afloat which takes longer now as it has a nice new cover which needs unstitching before we can bring all the kit out of from the coxswains shed.

Afloat and as we leave the jetty and have our first clear view of the dinghy park there are 15 club boats rigging up. The Course is set a windward leeward for the asymmetric boats and triangle sausage for the rest of the fleets. Course length set for about six minutes per round. Committee boat set nearer to the leeward mark so sailors have less distance to sail out and return to shore. Setting the line and notice the anchor has dragged and we need more chain, options are move the committee boat and delay the start by 10 minutes or leave it as it is. We decided to leave it which made for some interesting tactics later as boats behind forced leading boats to over stand. Top tip from RC Ian; always let out all the chain on the anchor. As always; in the middle of the start sequence there were the usual on the water judges giving advice on the courses

Three laps or six rounds in the first race and the first leeward mark was very exciting as everyone, including the 4000’s, arrived together and were faced with a short tactical beat to the start finish gate.  Everyone stayed for the second race where one eager sailor was actually over the line and the course was shortened to 2 laps or four rounds. We had some good views of the sailors as they passed very close to us. The 4000’s called it a day for race three (I still do not know how some sailors manage without gloves) but the single handed boats still wanted to play. The mist was closing in and there were a few sailors saying keep it short so race 3 was a simple three round race.

Almost everyone appeared to enjoy the short courses and from the committee boat the sailing seemed very competitive (I should have brought a camera). The places kept changing and we didn’t even have time for coffee as we kept track of you. I still cannot believe we had 15 boats out in these conditions and most of you sailed three races – WELL DONE.

Thank you to colleagues from the Laser Fleet Mike and Stewart on the Committee Boat and a very special thank you to the mark laying and safety team of Ian, Przem, Pip and Sean for supporting us all today. They were on the water for longer than the competitors in bitingly cold conditions and without them racing would not have been possible or so competitive.

If you are sailing on a Sunday Barry always welcomes reports from on the water.