It was a pleasure to return to Frensham Pond Radio Sailing Group yesterday. They are the embodiment of what radio sailing is all about. Enthusiastic for the sport, with many building their own boats and often sails, racing DF65's, IOM's, Marblehead's and 10 Raters and in fair weather, some beautiful classic yachts.
In many ways racing with the team reminds me of my youth, where we all sailed second hand or well used boats and sails. Racing was not about how much you spent on your craft but how well you sailed as all the boats were the same speed. There was a strong family atmosphere in the club and the emphasis was on competitive racing and having fun. They were glory days and with the generated enthusiasm, it is not surprising that the honours board at the club reads like a who's who of the dinghy racing world. There is still remains that true corinthian spirit running through the heart of the club and the reward, lots of boats turn out for dinghy sailing at the weekend, sailability during the week and every Tuesday when the club is open for radio sailing.
Racing takes place on the southern side of the lake so when the wind is in the South it is the flukiest venue to be at on earth but yesterday it was blowing from the NNE at about 5-10 knots and perfect for racing. It was cold and wet in the afternoon but that did not dampen anyones enthusiasm to get our 8 races in.
We split the fleet into IOM's and bigger boats. To all race together is too much and the risk of damage on the starts would be high. When not sailing, the resting sailors watch for indiscretions on the race course and banter with those racing.
In the morning, we had a few delays and were only 3 races down by 12 Noon, when the lure of pancakes on offer at the local pub became too much for the regulars (generally the big boat sailors). However the hardier IOM sailors got an extra race in which ensured we could all pack up first in the afternoon while the bigger boats fight it out in their final race in the rain.
The wind held all day and it was all about boat speed. In the IOM fleet, a Britpop with well used BG sails and decent spars proved to be faster and higher upwind than all the other boats. The results were inevitable. As in any racing, having a faster boat makes you look like a tactical genius. We all had great fun but were glad to get out of the rain at the end of the day.
To give you a flavour of the big boat racing, see the videos I took of one of the races below: