Thought for the day - What could go wrong did go wrong

How do you rationalise an appalling performance when you know you can do so well?

Chipstead sailing club is located on a reservoir on the River Darent in the south of England and was the venue for our IOM open meeting this week. It is a delightful club set with the long narrow reservoir surrounded by trees but when the wind is in the West/SW it provides for an excellent sailing venue. There was only one issue - WEED. I have noticed weed at Frensham and brought back memories of the years when a proliferation of Canadian Pond weed brought sailing to a stand still. At Chipstead, the weed is well below our one meter fins but it gets churned up by dinghies and the long strands of weed sit beneath the surface of the water. One strand on the fin has an amazing effect on boat speed.

Our race officer did a brilliant job managing an A and B Fleet with 4 boats going up and down the heats per race. Races started promptly on an excellent course.

The day started out well enough for me with a 6 in the first race, won the second and an 8 in the third so all going to plan before the torment started.

In the fourth race I was judged to be over the line at the start, returned quickly but picked up weed on the 1st beat beat which stalled my progress through the fleet and ended up in the bottom four so confined to the B fleet from which there was no escape. In the next race someone crashed into me a minute before the start and the tops of our rigs locked together and we sailed off serenely away from the startling like a couple of love birds. We were 40 yards from the start line at the gun and the masts separated. A massive game of catchup ensued and again some weed put paid to my progress through the fleet.

By this time I was definitely feeling like a victim of circumstance. The story was much the same in the next two races picking up weed and my head was spinning with frustration which is far from the right attitude to go sailing.

So it was down to the last race to recover some pride. A perfect start in the middle of the line, tack onto port to cross the fleet and it is business as usual. UNTIL THE BOAT STOPPED DEAD IN ITS TRACKS and the fleet sailed past. I had to bring the boat into shore to clear the weed and the futile chase was on. Sometimes you know it is just not your day.

So how do I rationalise this and maintain some sanity.

The boat performed well when it had the chance. The rig setting was good. In the main the starts were good but with 2 premature starts which was careless but they do say you should be over in 1 in 8 or so starts. I could not account for the weed however or the contact when we locked rigs.

On the other hand, others managed the weed and sailed consistently well, so was I unlucky or just lost the plot and the will to live. Watch our for the next event

If someone was to ask me how I felt at the time. Massive frustration, spinning head, sailing wondering what would go wrong next. 5 races on the trot where disaster lurked and struck. Not like me but it is good for the soul as my dear departed Dad would always tell me after a bad days sailing.

At the end of the day its only a game and there is always the next race, so onwards to the next event.


My congratulations to the Podium winners and to the well behaved fleet and grateful thanks to the organisers at Chipstead Sailing Club.


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