Last time I went to Chipstead I had one of the worst days sailing of my life which you can read about in an earlier blog. I had the opportunity to redeem myself at the Metropolitan and Southern regional championships on Saturday 20 November.
Chipstead sailing club is in a delightful setting on a reservoir on the river Darent just south of the North Downs near Sevenoaks. The lake runs West to East and we were fortunate with the wind running down the lake albeit between a few and 8 knots. Dave Allinson and his team ran a brilliant day so my thanks to them.
The first seeding race was relatively straight forward for me. Cleanly off the line with an early tack and then sailed free and fast to get a nose ahead of the fleet. All good then so I thought.
Race 2 - I was clumbsy on the start and was over the line so back I went to the rear of the fleet, however I made good progress to recover to 6th
Race 3 - The gremlins struck. A minute before the start the jib sheet managed to loop itself around the bottom of the kicker turn screw at the base of the mast so when I sheeted in, the jib boom was in the middle of the foredeck. I had to bring the boat in to clear the sheet and by the time I got back to the race. I was too far behind to do anything other than stay in the A fleet.
The next four races were good for second place in each race. Clean starts and fast consistent sailing was the order of the day and thankfully no gremlins.
The 8th and last race would determine whether Dave Allinson or I would win the day. It was a bit of an anti climax as Dave was taken out on the start line and I was well and truly taken out by 3 boats on the first beat and left stationary in irons. The bad news was I could have avoided the situation If I had used my head a bit more.
So in the end it came down to a count back, with both of us having 2 firsts but I had 3 seconds compared to Dave's 1.
The win finishes of my year nicely and the change made in foot depth measurement and leech twist measurement combined with sailing fast and free has transformed my potential however I still have to translate this into sailing in a breeze.
Maybe Chipstead isn't such a bad place after all. Perhaps it was me last time. I still have to take further steps to avoid trouble in a race and work on more speed.
I implore you to experiment easing your sheets slightly and driving the boat all the time. You will notice the difference especially in light weather but it does take intense concentration.
Bow down for speed.
So what now.
I have fixed all the pin leaks in the blue boat and will respray next week with a view to getting it on the water for training in the next couple of weeks. This boat is light in the ends and brilliant in a breeze, hence all the pin holes that needed plugging. It will be good to know I will be sailing a dry boat and I can switch my rigs between the Alternative and Britpop. Then I will sell it and build the ultimate Alternative in the spring.
I was thinking about pricing for a top club competitive boat and maybe a top ten potential finisher in a ranking event with a PG mast and new Housemartin sails and Futaba transmitter and rig bag, the price would need to be in the order of £1800 to cover the cost and a bit for labour. It takes a long time to get everything right. The boat would be race tuned with all settings provided. Do you think this is reasonable?
The results before count back applied