Too windy today

25 June 2017

The forecast for this weekend has been changing during the week, F4 up to F6, but as we arrived this morning it didn't look too bad. A westerly was blowing around F4-F5. New member Phil was with me today, nice chap, about the same age as me, with good experience and he was very handy around the boat hoisting the main etc.

We rigged the first reef into the main before we backed out and once off the berth and into the river, we got the main up and set on its first reef and left the genoa rolled away while we motored out. Four boats went to sea and once we were past the harbour wall we found a very steady F5 from the west.

F5 is higher than I usually venture out, but with two blokes aboard and a reefed sail it seemed worth a try. We left the genoa rolled up for a while as we got the hang of the conditions, a steady but strong wind and moderate swell, bright and clear and not cold. We took a few face-fulls as Elsa heeled and bashed through the sea. David set an unusual start line directly off the end of the western harbour wall so we all had to tuck quite close inshore to get on the right side.

We made a good start at 1200 and unrolled about half the genoa to see if she would handle better. As we got going it was clear that the other three boats were better suited to these conditions, we couldn't hold her steady on a closehauled course, after 15 mins it seemed we were about a mile behind. Phil was enjoying himself anyway and we decided to call up and retire from the race.

Turning back for the harbour with the wind behind us on a broad reach we had the best sail of the day, the sun came out and Elsa was flying, once level with the river entrance we rolled up the genoa and sailed back in pretty much on top of high water. Keeping clear of the Arun YC training team playing with Wayfarers in the river, we got the main down and were back in the berth before 1pm, about 1hr 45mins at sea and a bit tired but pleased to be back in the clubhouse.

My friend Steve Foot was on the harbour wall and took this photo as we came in, reefed main and no genoa, Phil on the helm in a red jacket. Still need to work on getting that new sail to set properly!

Good to get some practice in challenging conditions, and next week it's Round the Island......


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