A word being used to describe the wind that I had never heard before, but quite apt. As we rigged the boats, eight Fusions and three Lasers, I overheard Mel using this description when the normal boat park discussions on how windy it was were ongoing. She may also have used it as we sailed out of the marina, and punchy it indeed was.

After last week’s very casual sailing around a triangular course it was decided that a cruise was the order of the day. But as we got out into the harbour, the events of the cruise two weeks ago sprung to mind. It was “punchy”, the water hasn’t heated up yet and it is still the beginning of the season and a certain amount of rustiness is to be expected.

We sailed upwind a bit then congregated in a bit of a shelter. A few were questioning the decision to reef….. However when they started beam reaching out into the middle of the harbour to “that yellow buoy” they quickly realised that, yes, the wind was indeed punchy and there is nothing wrong with a good reef or two.

When I said “that yellow buoy”, it was self-evident to myself and Sue, my assistant who forgot the chocolates, which yellow buoy was being referred to. The one about 400 metres away. I do not remember saying “sail past that yellow buoy 400 metres away and keep going to that other yellow buoy which is about two kilometres away. Silly me, to assume is to……..

Anyway, we got them all back on track and the first few times round everyone was tacking round but soon they were all gybing round with hardly a capsize to be seen.

Anyway, our boats were now straddling the channel with a pleasure boat coming to meet us and we had Claire struggling to get back into her boat after a capsize. So whilst shepherding some of the sailors away from the pleasure boat, we had other sailors coming towards the pleasure boat to inform us of Claire’s predicament. Claire looked fine to me and the pleasure boat wasn’t actually coming to see us, but it was certainly coming towards us. After shepherding the boats behind the pleasure boat, off we went to help Claire get back in her boat who asked if she could rest awhile. Capsizing is slow sailing and also knackering sailing, best avoided, if you can. We were also now down to seven Fusions from eight. Laura misheard my instructions to head towards home, she though I meant go home. An understandable mistake as my voice is below par due to a niggling cough. However you would have thought that she might have looked behind and seen that no-one was following her. She was very apologetic.

So we gather again and then start a Follow My Leader exercise. This is one of the best exercises for all standards of sailors. It gives good group control, it encourages boat control, stopping, speeding up, it gives an opportunity for the instructor to see every student up close and personal and it is fun. The instructor also gets to see what can be worked on next time. So, that’ll be gybing and slowing down next week ladies. As well as getting back into your boat after a capsize. Start your homework now.

My homework? To be able to tell the difference between Ruth and Emma - this is not helped by them being besties and lookalikes, although Ruth did say that the major difference is that she is nicer. Maybe not such good friends after all?

Oh yes, I’ve also got a form for you to fill in to cover GDPR. Now you obviously don’t have to sign it, but then when we all sit down to go through the videos and pictures of the morning’s events you will be nowhere to be seen. And we all know that we love looking at pictures and videos of ourselves!

Peter (your Leader)


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