Longham Lakes is a superb sailing venue and the Poole team put on some great races for us on a weekend blessed with fantastic sailing conditions. Warmish and windy.
Racing took place along one side of the lake and we were able to walk up and down a path 15 feet or so above the water giving great visibility . The starts were near the shore and the wind variable enough to keep everyone on their toes. A lead was never a certainty at this venue.
Conditions on the first day were mid B rig with a few lulls and on Sunday were a solid B rig all day.
Nearly all the starts were nicely port biased with the odd flick of the wind to make the line occasionally square. Each start as you would expect were hotly contested and if you were a boat length behind the line you were dead and buried.
There were 27 boats on Saturday allowing the race team to operate 2 fleets with 6 being promoted or demoted to keep us all on our toes and I think nearly all visited B fleet at some stage or another.
What was so interesting about the racing is you could not plan far ahead. You had to watch the next puff coming down the lake and this would give you an indication as to what might happen. This was especially true on the starts where you might have everyone lining up for a starboard bias start only for the wind to flick at the last minute to a heavily port bias line.
It was a pleasure to watch Tony Edwards thread a route through the weekend to end up first on Saturday and then joint first but second on count back on Sunday, Craig Richards taking the win.
As for me, the weekends results exceeded my expectations but the disappointment was my inability to keep the boat out of trouble which knocked me back a few places overall on Sunday, however it was great to be involved at the front at last and I can see a pathway to getting to the top but it will probably take another winter of hard work.
Observations from the weekend
It was such an advantage to be able to work a gap to leeward at the start to accelerate into the space at the start, even to the point of allowing one to tack away onto port if the wind was right.
One of the challenges I had on Sunday was the boat started taking on water. When the boat was on land the hull warmed and the patches bulged outward. When on the water the patches were sucked in as the hull cooled and I think water was sucked in through the rudder stock and radio pot. The problem seemed to ease when I found a better seal for the radio pot.
I now remove the radio pot lid between races to let the electrics dry if there is any condensation inside the boat.
The boat setup was exactly the same as normal although with the chop on the lake I ran with a bit more foot depth in the main and jib and sailed with a relatively loose mainsail leach upwind.
I need more practice sailing at high speed and may lengthen the steering arm on the transmitter to reduce the sensitivity.
Following a windy weekend I will give the boat a thorough going over and make sure that it is dry inside. I have a blower that circulates air through the hull
There are no IOM events until the next ranking event at West Kirby so it is back to golf for a while and training at the local pond, Emsworth and Gosport when the weed is cut.
Have a good summers racing. If I think of anything I will put it on the blog.