Sailin’. (My report to Tiger Rag, the Paper Tiger mag).

From the Deep South

Not much from down here – I did the winter series as the only PT, the only dinghy even. A southern winter includes sailing with snow on the hills, clear ice on the decks, and even snow (once) on the boat!

Why more folk don’t join in, beats me! My partner Jennie sails on a half-tonner, and they have …….whisky! I started sailing up to them after the racing, and accepting a ‘snifter’. Then I realised it was at the wrong end to be of any use – so now I sail up alongside before the racing, and it goes a whole lot better.

We’ve just had the Masters Games, and a ton of fun it was. I had my boat deckless three weeks out – it’s an old Tiger Boats sandwich boat, and the decks were cracking just inboard of the gunwales. On jigsawing out the deck, I found that the unidirectional glass underneath had been laid fore-and-aft???   I’d have assumed the under-deck tensile load was athwartships, but hey, what would I know….

While I was in there (I took the deck off from beam to beam) I gave it full bulkheads at each beam, forward subdecks, and a half-bulkhead at the chainplates, all out of 3mm ply. The re-decking of that type of construction is a bit of a headache – if you remove too much of the gunwale, you ain’t got nothing left. I left 50mm of deck all along, and glued 3mm ply over the lot, with ply-strip deck beams. Amazingly, what with drying out and removing the trampoline aluminium, we ended up at the same weight – 56kg – as we started.

Anyway, I made it to the start line……

The first race (and day) was strongish – a northeast system and a sea breeze shoving it along.  Bob Nichols and I pulled away, Lindsay Graham a bit behind, and I can’t remember much more. Oh yes, I can. I did my first ever capsize upwind. Wasn’t nailing my tacks, so stayed late on the ‘old’ hull, until she came around. Stayed so long she not only came around, but came over as well. One more windex in the Otago harbour mud.

Day two started flat calm, and had sea breeze only. John Armon was unbeatable in the light – his sail looked flat and perfect, and he just took off. One incident will linger from the day, I think it was the second race; Bob was just ahead of me, John to leeward and ahead of him, as we all came away from the bottom gate on starboard. Approaching the rock wall, John called for ‘water’. Bob tacks onto port, straight into my gunsights. “Starboard” I yelled, before he’d really sheeted in. Back Bob went onto port, and a slow death. John tacked, then I tacked past him with an “I’ll buy you a beer”. Sorry Bob – not!

We had a lot of fun that day, sometimes the lead three boats were within a boat length, the sun was shining, the sea was sparkling……

Day three threatened a 25 knot SW, but it fizzled into a 15 knot max, puffy thing. I looked at the committee boat, and it was hanging 30% away from the pin. Went for a look at the pin end  – yep. Went back, everyone (we were seven in the fleet) waiting in the usual place. Went back. Had to duck two sterns, but there was a clear 20deg advantage – I didn’t have it to myself for long, but…

Bob got to me (story of the regatta, really) and we neck-and-necked it for a bit – one memorable reach we went evenly down a row of Sunbursts, one each side. Surprised the hell out of them.

Bob deserved his win, but (warning: the following may disturb some people) I was always breathing down his neck, and John Armon was un-get-to-able in the light.

A great regatta, and good on the Cant’y boys for making the effort.

We have a new boat and sailor in the fleet, so we can realistically expect 4 or 5 on the water. We’re discussing doubling up boats on trailers for the Cant’y Champs, the South Island’s, and Wellington.

Cheers Murray G


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