First time out in 2017

9th April 2017

We fitted the new mainsail a few weeks ago and hoisted it a couple of times to see if it was rigged and setting properly but we hadn't sailed with it. Over the winter I've also repainted the rudder blade with fresh Trilux and put it all back together. The engine had started after much effort and a new spark plug. So we were just about ready for the first cruiser race.

In the club we've been doing a lot to encourage the cruisers to go racing and that seemed to have worked as 11 cruisers went to sea. Georgia was with me, probably for the only time this year as she's away working in Greece till November. We hoisted the main as tight as we could and tweaked the boom down, this sail seems to be a tiny bit longer at the luff than the old one, but we were pleased with the way it set as we motored out. A gentle F2 from the south east, very sunny day and warm for April.

We made a good start and set off on the first leg, beating into the SEly towards the weather station. The tide had already turned against us and the cruiser fleet struggled in the light winds to make progress against the wind and tide. The faster boats got round the weather station in about 45 mins but it took us more like 90 mins. The mainsail was good at first but seemed to drop a bit and go baggy at the luff as we went along, at one point we put Elsa in irons and had another go at the halyard which helped a bit. More work needed on getting the best out of it!

Georgia's probably got her mind busy with thoughts of her 3am departure for Greece the next morning

We enjoyed being close to Cabre and Free n Easy, crossing tacks close to each other, and Ayella snuck up on us as well. Several short tacks were needed as we got closer and almost around. Once we were around the weather station we were off downwind and downtide and rounded the next two marks and crossed the finish line in about 45 mins. Cabre was ahead but Free n Easy and Ayella were behind us. About half the fleet hadn't made it and retired. We were back just after 1.30 just in time for Sunday lunch in the clubhouse with Georgia's mum and dad, packing the boat up some time later once the roast beef had been digested a bit.

Overall we were 5th on corrected time and it had been a good day's sailing.


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