This weekend I'm going to unleash my awesomeness on the fleet. There's nothing like 45 minutes of training to boost your confidence. I was feeling mean, focused and, most of all, ready.
Saturday 20th September – Ladies Cup Race
After a gap of nearly 30 years it's time to reclaim my trophy. I'm at the club early, rigged and ready. The big ginger kid doesn't do early starts. He's probably still making his way home and drunk-texting sleeping girls. Luke is at work so there are just 7 of us today.
The wind is light and I make a good start, just below and ahead of Tony Lock in his Finn. A short beat to number 3 buoy and I tack round with a decent gap after less than 2 minutes of racing. This race is in the bag! The leg to number 5 is a fetch – maybe – half way across I'm headed but it's too close to the lay-line for a tack so I carry on. Behind me, Tony lifts to the mark and I have to make a tack. The gap is halved and the race falls out of the bag
We reach across to number 7 buoy and I stretch away. Around the next couple of legs the lead looks comfortable again but another beat from 6 up to 5 goes tits up. I'm heading up on port, about a minute ahead of Tony who heads further right and tacks into a huge lift. By the time I tack back he's ahead. I carry on to the right into more breeze and manage to regain the lead by the next mark but on handicap I'm now in deep trouble. Next upwind leg I'm on starboard just laying the mark and another OAP in a Solo on a port reach aims straight at me. I have to throw in 2 tacks to avoid him and once again the Finn is on my transom.
Downwind and upwind one last time. Nothing good happens. I finish 30 seconds ahead on the water and 2 minutes behind on handicap. Tony has a 100% win rate on his comeback. Good for him.
What did I learn today?
Ignore the elderly at your peril. Sometimes they never give up.
Sunday 21st September – Bart's Bash
Amazing day. Amazing race. 46 boats taking part. This will be good!
Somehow we fit everyone onto the start line – nobody is over – and we're off. The harbour is shallow up here so I take a long hitch on starboard towards the main channel. The Finn boys tack away and we make a long port tack to the first mark. Ray leads , I'm close for 2nd but have to slow to allow Simon's Finn to come in on starboard and tack ahead.
Down the first reach we speed and there my race ends as the mainsheet block launches itself into the gap between deck and boom. I stop to gather all the spare parts now littering the cockpit floor as the fleet goes past. I should have grabbed the falls off the boom and pumped like a motherf**ker (just like the Finn boys are doing) but my bingo wings aren't up to the challenge.
I blast around the harbour for an hour watching the action. An optimist wins the race on Handicap. Not sure if he's CSC or Royal Lymington today but I'm pleased for him.
Back to the Club and the rest of the afternoon working out results and getting hopelessly drunk.
What did I learn this weekend?
True Champions are humble and generous in defeat. Another box ticked :)