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Thought for the day - Delicate hand required to keep the boats balanced

The Emsworth team gave me their usual warm welcome for a mornings sailing in a warm 4-8 knots southerly breeze, perfect for the Slipper pond.

I arrived late and rushed the tuning of the boat. It all looked OK with the leaches parallel but even though I checked the mast rake with the rig stick, the boat was not pointing high enough and I had to keep intervening with the transmitter. The situation was compounded by the fact that I picked up weed in the first two races. It is frustrating to approach the windward mark in the hunt and then sail progressively backwards through the fleet.

Between races I was able to sort the balance out with the minutest of adjustment on the kicker and backstay, easing both to create slightly more draft and tighten the main leach.

From race three onwards the boat really picked up its skirts and flew although there were times when Malcolm Appleton's Kantun seemed to have an outboard motor on on the tight reaches and sailed past to windward first and then just to rub it in sailed through to leeward. We did have some great races and it was nice to get the lowest points for the day.

One learning point for the day was that if you approach a starboard boat on a windward leg and bear away sharply to avoid them, watch the rigs, because as i eased my sail bearing away, the boat came upright and whilst the hulls were well clear of each other the top of the masts connected and I had to do my turn.

There are only 15 or so days to the nationals and then a ranking event so time for lots of practice.

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