20 last week and six this week. There were reasons, don’t get me wrong. A child with appendicitis (who was sent to school complaining of a stomach ache the day before) or a long standing appointment with hairdresser, but 14 less? Yes, let’s be honest, the forecast didn’t help.

So ladies, what do you want to do? Cruise (again) or race? I think that the intimation in my voice steered them towards racing (yaaay!).

One sensible sailor decided to reef (If in doubt reef. It is much easier to reef onshore than it is to swim after your boat). Nervously looking at the wind speed on the Parkstone YC platform where it was a regular 15kts we launched. Instead of sailing straight out of the marina as usual, the ladies were very much playing “after you” and not wanting to be the first to leave the shelter of the marina. Out went Katie and her reefed sail and then the others followed. By the time I joined them the wind had picked up to “quite windy”. Although when we were having our tea/coffee/chocolates at the debrief there was disbelief that the data showed that is wasn’t actually “quite that windy”.

Let’s go for some shelter and have some fun. I mean races. A couple of warm up laps then into a triangle sausage course with a 3-2-1 start. The first proved that a Laser in a fleet of 5 Fusions will win every time. Well done Jo. Race two proved that the first rule (see above) will only be true if that Laser manages to stay upright. The Fusions were beginning to get their act together and the starts were getting more keenly fought and as for the first windward mark, well just look at the video [see below]. Oh and it also helps to know what the course is, especially by Race 3 (Emma).

After four races there was a feeling of “Please, no more”, a bit like me in a Spinning Session at the gym where time appears to slow down. So having got the heartrate up, it was now time to put on the cooldown music and do some stretching, so a really pleasant sail across to Brownsea Island and then back again was called for. Well that was the plan. If only I had got the wind direction right. So instead of a broad reach there and a reach back it turned out to be a run there and a beat back. Sorry ladies. But it was sunny and a great end to the session.

So what did we learn today?

Well, it is relatively easy to sail when there are no pressures, but as soon as you put it all together in a race scenario a bit of panic can set in because there are boats everywhere and you can’t tack or gybe when you want to, you have to do it “now”, not “now + 2 seconds” which means that your boat handling needs to be second nature. Now even I look good on a red slope when skiing, but put me on a black slope and it all turns pretty ugly because I am not in control. Literally.

We also learnt that EVERYONE is competitive as the lively debate on the veranda proved:

“What could I have done differently?”

“Who had right of way”

“What makes a good start?”

and of course


Well it was Liz in a Fusion, proving that not only is capsizing slow but that also being OCS (On Course Side) at the start is even slower – if you don’t go back, regardless of how fast your boat is.

And relax.

Oh and I lost 1.35kgs



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