13 August 2022
Great to have George with me again for today's cruiser race. Five boats signed on and we got off the berth at 1120 for the 1200 start. Blistering heatwave here at the moment, almost 30 Celcius, we were looking forward to cooler air at sea. Wind from the SE F2-3, bright sky. Lots of boats around Littlehampton today - Zap Cat powerboat racing off East Beach, lots of leisure traffic, beaches crowded with people on this mid-August very hot weekend.
A very strong incoming tide meant we had to run the engine on full power to get out of the river into the open sea, we were glad to shut it off as the temperature needle had gone up to the red. Need to check that later but we were under sail now so plenty of time for it to cool down.
Avoiding those powerboats, the race officer Nick set us a start area to the west and we made a good practice start at the 10 minute signal so we could get an idea of how to attack the start. Coming from the south with the wind behind us, then gybing around onto port tack to cross the line, seemed like the plan. This worked out too perfectly and I was convinced we'd over-cooked it and would be over the line on the start signal so I rounded up into wind for a second, this turned into an involuntary tack, by the time we tacked back onto the correct course we'd dropped behind and started about two minutes late, blast it!
(Photos from Mark Nicholls)
We then set off on a long beat towards the first mark at Outfall. We got Bay Leaf quite nicely trimmed and going well.
Alas the tide was against us, as well as the wind, and after an hour of racing we were still only about halfway to the first mark. Looking at our watches, and at each other, we worked out how long it would take us to complete the whole course and we decided to retire and sail back home. Two others did the same shortly after us, leaving just two boats completing the race out of the five starters.
Motoring back upriver at low revs the engine got hot again but we made it back onto the berth after 2 hours 20 mins sailing. We had a great time but it was now even hotter and the beer in the clubhouse was most welcome.
Need to get the thermostat out of the engine, again, and clean it or replace it I think.