There are days when nothing can go wrong and there are days where just about everything could go wrong, in todays case in my head.
The day was beautiful with a 3-8 knot breeze albeit a little bit shifty. The race team led by Dave Allinson set great courses which they had to adjust as the wind veered through the day. There were 18 boats so we sailed as one fleet.
The highlights were that Peter Stollery gave a master class in the conditions in his Isotonic. Sometimes he was so far ahead of the next boat it was embarrassing. Craig Richards gave chase in his home designed and build Chimera and the rest of us fought for the lesser places.
What happened to me. Last week I picked up my first cold/fluey bug for 2.5 years which my wife and I have our daughter to thank for. I found it very hard to concentrate with a clogged head and feeling slightly nauseas. As a result, I often found myself on starboard some way after the start having watched the fleet tack onto port wondering why I had not done the same. I continued in this vein to miss most of the shifts of the day The mind plays all sorts of tricks when things go wrong and you are a bit off your game. Thoughts that went through my head, Is the boat slow? Have I got weed? Why when I go to one side of the course the wind goes the other? Why can't I go home? Where's the scotch?
Clearly I was not feeling the wind. I texted my wife at lunch to say I felt crabby and un-focused and unusually for me not feeling very sociable. The afternoon continued in the same vein and I was on the verge of giving up in race 12 and going home when the thoughts of my late Dad went through my head. "Never give up, however bad the situation might look". A thought that has won me yacht races when last by over a mile at the half way point. Well as you can see from the results there was no miracle (however see next para) and the last two races were mid fleet at best.
After what I considered to be a disastrous day, Dave Allinson read out the top six places. After he got to fourth place, I felt I was out of the top six but was gob smacked to hear I had snatched third (results below). Clearly others had their struggles during the day.
I left Chipstead with a spring in my step but still feeling crabby. I have a gap to fill in my sailing skill and that is to read wind shifts when a shoreline is quite close (and concentrate when feeling off colour). Clearly the shift reading skills are developed for the top sailors but I have some work to do to get better. It was similar at Manor park at the ranking event last year and I struggled most of the time.
As I write the the bug is still having its effect so fingers crossed it will be gone by next weekend for the trip to Bournville.
Hats off to Peter Stollery. He was able to sniff out most of the wind shifts and sail fast all the time. His son Oliver is starting to put in some good results too and I sense it won't be too long before he's as competitive as his dad. I hope he moves into dinghies.
Finally my thanks to Chipstead and the race team. Not only do they provide a great day but they also put on a great lunch and tea and cake afterwards. If you haven't sailed there, it is well worth a visit, so put the final of the District champs in your diary for 19th November.
One bright note for the IOM class was the appearance of David Hope's home built 3d printed Alioth which showed a good turn of speed all day and looked lovely. When the sun was on the hull you could clearly see the sections.
There is a lot of activity on 3D printing across the globe right now and from monitoring the various sites on facebook, progress is being made on finding the right plastic to build a competitive IOM. At the moment the hull is made in sections but at least one printer who makes 1.3m musical instruments is attempting to make a hull in 1 print.
The design is good and finished fourth in the Spanish Nationals. If the manufacturing process is successful and boats produced by the dozen, this would unblock the current lead times for competitive boats. In fact I have heard that some existing IOM suppliers are not taking on new orders at the moment. No wonder the DF world is thriving.
Even if the boats have a relatively short life (and there is no evidence to say they will, they should be produced at low cost and be replaceable like the DF boats
If you are interested, the link to the Alioth site is below:
Dragon racing are now manufacturing the Alioth in the US and shipping to customers
Paul Barton has shipped boats to Customers in the UK and the link to his site is here
Whatever you sail, enjoy your racing and above all have fun