Saturday, 12 March 2016 14:48

CYC Sailing update from a dinghy perspective

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I thought it time to resurrect the sailing report (or blog depending upon your viewpoint) for CYC.
There were 5 hardy; or perhaps fool hardy, souls who ventured out on the water today in toppers and something a bit bigger.
From my perspective, well, you know how it is. You have a hard week at work and you need to blow off some steam. You know you should be working on preparing the "big boat" ready for the season but that just won't suffice. Forecast for Northerly winds 15 MPH, after a few days of strong winds from the East...... that should do the trick and release some work tension. What could go wrong???
Leaving the house with the car packed with both dinghy stuff and big boat work stuff I'm thinking "once again the forecasters have got it wrong - no wind! oh well sanding the bottom of January First it is then. Can't squander a nice morning when I've escaped from the kids for a while."
Arriving at the Club to help Ian Gibson move "stuff" from the store area into the container ready for the walls to be rebuilt I'm surprised at the strength of the wind. Perhaps the forecasters were correct after all.
Movement of chairs and general stuff complete for now time to rig the boats. Alan Dean arrives asking if anyone is going out. Tom Charlton arrives closely followed by Bob and Simon Leeming. Despite Tom's best efforts to dissuade me by telling me "that wind's picking up you know", "are you really taking that out on your own?" "So how do you right a capasized one of them?" I opt for my Hobie 17 catamaran, Alan takes RIB and the others take to the Toppers.
Have you ever noticed how much stronger the wind feels when it's a bit overcast and cold? It was certainly going to be interesting launching the cat "Toytime Too" from a lee shore in this cold overcast wind. Especially with the promise of an audience wanting to see the antics unfold from a nice warm bar area! Thanks Ian and Michael....
RIB launched, Toppers ready, catamaran main not going up "is something telling me not to go????" thinks I as a few more gusts hit us with the threat of rain hitting as well. Too late now, got a reputation to uphold.
First two toppers away leaving Tom and myself vying for who leaves next. I think neither of us were particularly enthusiastic with lots of "After you". "no no no. I insist after you." "You get on Pete and I'll give you a push out". "Sorry Tom I need more room so away you go".
In the end Tom sets off but gets his boom fouled in my bridles, capsize number one chalked up to Tom! "Sorry Tom coming through" as I decide to go.
I don't know if many of you have sailed a Hobie 17 but to say they can be a bit reluctant to tack at times and like to three point turn is an understatement. Exactly what I had to do between the boats on the foreshore and the CYC rubbing posts. Not a lot of room there but tack completed, sheet in and off we go past the blur that was the hammerhead. FREEDOM! 
Nothing has fallen off the boat, including me, yet and we are doing about 10 - 12 kts from the comfort of the wing. God I wish I had put my trapeze harness on as the hull lifts from the water. You know what, it's not cold anymore! Rollers coming through the piers here I come - after all Hobies were designed for surf work!
Past the sand bank, where are the Toppers and the RIB? Best turn back to make sure they are coming out here and not staying in the river, good excuse to tack round and reach back past the marina "I wonder whether our Commodore is there working on Dehlerium? I'm sure he would love to have been out.... Shame!". Toppers located back for the harbour.
Fishermen on pier alert! They aren't really going to cast out at me are they? Miracles and wonders, not this time. "Ow mate! That looks F'ing fantastic! How F'ing fast does it go? F' me I want one of them!" No sign of weights or hooks flying through the air so I fly a hull towards them as I express my thanks.
Those waves coming through the piers are quite large and very brown. Discretion better part of valour, into the wave basin with the Toppers thinks I.
"Fun" was had by all playing in the increasing waves within the wave basin. Simon decided to show some of us how to pitch pole a Topper coming off a wave - interesting! The Hobie's handling the waves well and I'm starting to get some confidence back remembering bits from the 20+ years ago since last I played with these things.
A little course was laid for us to follow. Great fun lifting a hull and flying over the waves. Tacking occasionally problematic still but getting there. Gybes were easy until I timed one a bit wrong getting a wave between the hulls bouncing me up off the trampoline just as the boat accelerated away. Of course it was seen by Alan Dean giving him a good laugh as I frantically tried to NOT somersault over the back of the boat! Lucky escape repeated twice more - time to go in before my luck runs out I think.
A couple of passes past the marina again, I'm sure Rich Hope appreciates the fact we are sailing and he's wet and drying the hull......
Erm problem ahead. I've been putting off thinking how to get back ashore in the increasing wind. It can take a bit to slow these cats down don't you know! Traveller out, main out, feet dragging in water and she glides to a stop just past the hammerhead and before the rubbing posts. Centreboards up! slips nicely sideways almost parallel parking RIGHT up until the wind changes and sets me sailing toward the rubbing posts! Centreboards down! catastrophe averted lets try another route.
Sail up river, gybe around the ABC yacht moored there, coming in on port and turn to wind at appropriate minute, sail backward to beach lifting rudders as I go - EASY! Did it all the time years ago! What could go wrong?
Gybing around the yacht, done! granted at probably over 10 kts but around, broad reach past those ABC boats on the foreshore, helm hard over, boat stops Perfect! - Hang on wind shift! Quickly jumping off the back to pull the boat ashore is the next phase - bit deeper than I expected but done! Phew!
Thanks to Michael Irwin for helping me to pull the boat ashore and helping me get the main down.
Shame I missed seeing Tom capsize at the slip! Shame I missed his heroic swan dive from the pontoon thinking "I bet that will be an invigorating swim!" Hope the ice cream headache was worth it Tom!
Thanks Alan Dean for providing rescue cover. 
Next dinghy sail in two weeks time. Hope it's a bit warmer for those on rescue.
Roll on the Summer.
Peter Coulthard
Vice Commodore
Read 761 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 March 2016 14:49