Tuesday 15th July – took the afternoon off to go sailing with Timo. He's borrowing a Laser. I promise him a go in the RS300 – hoping he's going to fall out immediately and forever regard me as an elderly hero.
Wind is 10-15 knots. I fall out in 18 or above. In less than 10 I'm fine – today is marginal.
We launch and head down-river. Timo makes the Laser look easy. I make the Laser look fast. Must work at keeping the RS300 flat. If she tips she stops. Christchurch is gusty and shifty; we have the wrong type of wind today.
The wind increases on the way down the harbour. I take off on a broad reach down the channel. Working hard to stay flat but definitely more control than the first time I tried this. Managed to sneak ahead of the Laser – confident enough to throw in a casual gybe at the end. Too casual. Nearly lose front teeth on windward deck as I cling on. Timo didn't notice – or at least didn't mention it.
We try a couple of trips up and down the harbour – nothing too strenuous. Tempted to head out to the Bay but the wind keeps piping up and I'm not sure about capsize recovery at sea (my biceps and triceps have turned into bingo-wings, barely able to lift a pint of lager, let alone heave my bulk onto a daggerboard)
Timo's attempt at RS300 sailing went well enough. I considerately lifted the rudder half up to give him an extra downwind challenge and amused myself watching him spin out a couple of times. Annoyingly he stays upright and claims to be having fun. Sulking, I plod around in the Laser. It's all noise and splashing and not much speed. The RS300 slices through the water – the Laser prefers to punch through the waves and the water retaliates by slapping you in the face.
Wind gusting almost 20 now and the Laser is flying along. Sadly, so too is the Dutch kid in the RS300. At last – a capsize. Even better, it's him, not me. Delighted, I head towards him in case he needs help or wants to admit defeat. Not a chance, he's still grinning but admits the boat is a challenge and he's getting hungry now.
I sieze my chance, slithering back into the RS300 while he clambers into the Laser. We head up and down a final couple of times before returning to the club. An educational visit to Greggs the bakers follows shortly afterwards before I wave him goodbye.
What did I learn?
The harbour is as shallow as it seemed last week – still can't sail out of the channel with the rudder down.
Need deeper water and steadier winds to perfect the boat -handling – I'm not doing enough tacking and gybing drills by charging up and down the main channel.
Moving around the boat a lot more to keep the boat flat – learning to make small corrections earlier is important. I'm hardly cat-like but getting smoother.
Lots of kicker and downhaul upwind is good – but the downhaul doesn't release too easily.
The Pro-Stick 2000 didn't keep the mast collar in place. Back to the drawing board.