April 2022 - racing weekend

2nd April 2022

Having not sailed much since 2019 I am more motivated and determined to have a go this year. Bay Leaf is in good shape. A new fuel tank, some new fuel pipes, new instruments - a fixed VHF with built in GPS, and, a depth display (which utilised the old transducer already fitted to the bottom of the hull).  Thanks to fellow members Spencer for working on the fuel lines, Karl for going up the mast with the aerial, and Roy for wiring it all together. Also fitted a replacement engine intake valve - plastic instead of bronze - and a new anode over the recent winter haul-out, thanks to John for help with that. 

She seems to start reliably, though when cold she may need a puff of Easy Start in her intake. She also has a new main halyard and new genoa sheets.

Saturday 2nd April was the first chance to go racing since crane-in; my friend Richard was able to come with me. A lot of the Arun cruiser fleet went off on their shakedown cruise to Gosport leaving just three boats competing. This was a pursuit race - based on handicap, the slower boats start first then the faster ones a while later, the idea being that after the race target duration we all finish close together. We had a bit of an embarassing drama attempting to back out of the berth when the wind or the current or the prop-walk took her stern in an unexpected direction but no harm done. A north-easterly promised a cold day but a flat sea.

Bay Leaf was slowest so we went first. Second was Stuart in his Sea Wolf, Ayella, and then David in his Limbo, Dedicated Dancer. We made a decent start and did our best to disappear into the distance, reaching the first mark 'South' well ahead. Here, the wind decided to play around with us and dropped right off, we almost drifted back onto the mark, we watched Ayella looming ever closer before the wind picked us up again. By now all three boats were round the mark and suddenly a decent F4 blew up leaving us all well heeled and speeding towards 'East' with the lee rail in the water. Some cold rain fell on us in the squall and we converged on 'East' quite close together, Ayella now ahead. Then the wind fell away again and Dedicated Dancer got around the mark before us leaving us in third (i.e., last place). Then we faced variable, light, shifty winds as we wallowed and flapped our way westwards towards the end of the lap, most of our momentum coming from the tide. Dedicated Dancer took the lead and set off onto Lap 2 way ahead, we thought we had Ayella at one point but no, we stayed in 3rd as we finished our lap. The race duration 1hr 55m was almost up so we settled for our third place. When David called the finish over the radio we were very near the harbour entrance so we were able to spin around, start the motor (on the first turn of the key), drop sail and motor in. The final squall of the day took Richard's hat but otherwise we were undamaged. Last place in the race, but first to get to the bar. An enjoyable sail and pleased the boat ran well, just a couple of things to tweak when I get a moment. 

Sunday 3rd April 2022. A day later there's another race, this time a handicap race - we all start at the same time with the final result worked out later. Stuart was with me today, the wind was light and variable and though cold at first, the sun was out. Four boats out this time and once at sea we found the wind very tricky, light at first. The race officer decided to start early as we were all ready, there was a moment's doubt as the wind fell away even further but we all got away nicely. A downwind start gave us a long run out to the South mark, Stuart got the genoa to goosewing, the two faster boats got round well ahead of us. Coming round to an easterly heading towards the Outfall mark we were now moving against the tide in light winds. The race officer noted he was doing 1 knot over the ground with a mile to go, so it would take him an hour to get there, there was an increasing risk that we'd be late back for the barbecue. He made the decision to shorten the race and let us all head directly back to the finish line. This was advantageous to us near the back as we had less distance to cover so we pointed up right away just as the wind picked up. Suddenly we were heeling again and belting off in the correct direction. 

The two faster boats, Dedicated Dancer and KIR, crossed the line ahead of us but were they far enough ahead on handicap? Little Auk was behind us, but how far? Tension aboard Bay Leaf was high as we motored back in and up to the clubhouse to sign off with our recorded time. Relaxing with drinks and pies we awaited the calculation - Bay Leaf was second place overall! Excellent result for our first weekend racing after a two-year gap. We were lucky with the shifting wind, unlike yesterday, and the shortened course helped, but we enjoyed the moment.

Great atmosphere in the clubhouse - sun shining, barbecue glowing, cruisers returning from Gosport as well as us racers, a good weekend.

1Dedicated DancerLimbo 6.69943YD Robinson10370;59;050;56;591.0
2Bay LeafCentaur1499A Tyrrell13051;25;371;05;362.0
3Little AukOysterman 161623J Norris13501;35;281;10;433.0
4KIRLimbo 6.6 K Turner10371;16;211;13;384.0

Sailwave Scoring Software 2.29.0


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