It transpired that those Fusions were on an RYA Dinghy Instructor course THAT WAS STARTING AT 0730 EVERY DAY!!! I knew a couple of the teenagers on the course and they had just had their prom the night before. Laugh? I could have cried because they really looked like they wanted to be somewhere else.

So, they weren’t my Fusions. We were now up to 5 Lasers rigged and no Fusions. It seems that we have a split in the camp. The Laser ladies rig their boats first then get changed, whereas the Fusion ladies get changed first then rig their boats.

So, at 0930 we ended up with 5 Lasers and 7 Fusions on the slipway and I still didn’t know what we were going to do.

It was a Northerly, which is unusual, and breezy. The Club wind thingy was reading 15 knots but it felt more than that. They were all keen to get down to Rockley (for free ice-cream if they were being honest) but the wind direction wasn’t great for that. Going South if the harbour was a no no as it would have meant a hard beat back at the end of the morning. Hmmm what to do?

Let's go explore

Ok let’s go somewhere we have never been before. Poole Harbour is beautiful (I know, I’ve said that before) but we all tend to sail close to our own sailing clubs. So off to Sandbanks it was, just inside the harbour in a very open bit of water with few boats there. It was a fetch* there for most and then we ended up in Whitley Lake which is where a lot of the windsurfing and kitesurfing takes place. But it seemed that they were all still in bed so we had the place to ourselves, apart from one lucky Stand Up Paddleboarder who successfully found a way through our group. None of the ladies were complaining, he was topless and fit, I was told…

Let the race commence

Anyway, time for the racing. A good breeze and we found 3 buoys that gave a semblance of a decent course. Quick explanation of what the course was which was then repeated innumerable times and then the countdown, after Pip had rethreaded her mainsheet three times whilst alongside our boat and still managed to sail away with a twist in it.

To summarise

Start 1 Jo Schneider “Goddess”

Start 2 Jo Schneider “Nailed it”

Start 3 Jo Schneider “Over”

Some really good starts, some really good racing, close finishes, a few capsizes. It had it all.

And the best bit?

The last race was a race back to the club. Flat water, strong breeze and a broad reach. A real tussle between Jo W and Jo S, the former in a Laser 4.7 against a Laser Radial. Should have been a foregone conclusion, but it wasn’t. Jo W took line honours and it was a double points race!

All we had to do now was to do a quick bit of a land drill with Mel who struggles to steer a straight line when hiking out and sheeting in at the same time. It’s all about keeping the tiller hand completely still and “sheet hand to tiller hand” when sheeting in. This helps keep the boat in a straight line. Otherwise there is a tendency to pull the sheet in then move your tiller hand to your sheet hand which means that you pull the tiller towards you and suddenly bear away a bit and lean over even more.

The scoring

And to the scoring! It couldn’t have been more exciting, not only was it close but my 2 trusted scorers decided to make it so complicated. (see results sheet)

Normally in sailing, lowest score wins. So, all you have to do is add up the places (allowing for double points on the last race) and lowest score wins Simples! As all good Meerkats say. But no, Sue and Jill decided to give 1stplace 12 points, 2ndplace 11 points etc. Now this might make it more complicated (it does…) but shouldn’t change the overall results (it shouldn’t, but did) as it brings in an unnecessary step in which mistakes can (and were) made.

The results

So, we had joint winners of Yvonne and Kay but Yvonne gets it on the basis that she had the most 1sts.

3rd was Jo W

1st reefed Fusion was Katey

Lessons for next week?

Make sure they understand what the sailing area is before we go afloat….

*Fetch - to successfully reach a mark to weather without tacking

PS was it just coincidence that Jo S’s husband turned up to watch the re run of her amazing starts….?


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