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Thought for the day - A grand day out

9ish Marbleheads at Guildford Radio Sailing club near Thorpe provided a wonderful days racing run by one of the M and clubs greatest enthusiasts, Roger Stollery.

The wind was Easterly straight down the lake at 5 to 10 knots with a few holes just to spice up the proceedings. Top end swing rigs were the order of the day. Overall, the day was just won by James Hadden sailing Roger Stollery's Up which proved just too quick for me downwind. Great performance by James as this was his first time out in a Marblehead. Two points separated us after 16 races with 3 discards.

To me this is what model yacht sailing is all about. A bunch of people lining up against each other for good racing. It did get a bit tense once and a while as 5 boats approach a leeward mark with unsighted overlaps. After some heated discussion things quietened down. It was clear at times that people were uncertain of the rules. I hope to help them by releasing a series of scenarios which we frequently encounter on the MYA web site, working with a rule judge to help with interpretations.

The GAMES series are set up and supported by Roger Stollery and I offer a huge thank you to him and Keith Parrot who organised and supported our day. True stars of our sport. Without the GAMES series we would have little racing.

So how did I do. I managed to get round the windward mark 1st in many of the races but just lacked pace downwind. Whether this was design or skill or an overweight weight boat, I have no idea at this stage but what was telling was when James Hadden with the Up, or a Paul Tickner with his Grunge, got round the windward mark first, they opened up a gap of thirty yards or so on the run. When I rounded the mark ahead I was regularly passed. I was quick on the beat though so it was not all bad. I suspect the slightly heavier rig and heavier hull limits my performance downwind and I am not looking forward to sailing the boat in a chop as the extra weight will cause pitching. Somehow I have to loose 60 gms in the hull and a lot in the rig.

The Swing rig mast mid section is too long and extends close to the top of the mast which means the mast bend does not match the mainsail luff curve. There is also a lot of carbon tow on each joint which probably makes it heavy. There is also a metal fore and aft boom at the base that could be replaced with carbon. Suspect a new rig might be in the offing at some point.

The other observation was the bow was out of the water quite a lot of the time downwind so I was losing waterline length.

There was the opportunity to practice sitting stationary on the start line. It is never a case of just letting the sails out and sitting. The harder it blows the more you need to sheet in to hold the boat into wind and watch other boats blow away down the line. This is a useful skill to have if you want to control boats around you on the start line.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is an exercise in making an older design as competitive as possible against the latest designs. I still have only sailed a few races and it was a shame I missed the Lincoln ranking event as I could have learnt loads about the boat sailing in a breeze. It is not about winning but sailing well. There are several more events this year after which I can take stock of where I am.

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