Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Airlie Beach Race Week. Lay Day, Race 4, Race 5

Airlie Beach Race Week. Lay Day, Race 4, Race 5

Lay Day

We are like the walking dead. I don’t think I have ever been so exhausted. However, today is a Lay Day. Nik and Mick rented a Mini Moke and went exploring while the rest of the crew tidied up the boat and got the washing done. There was an all day party at the Whitsunday Sailing Club so we donned our Hawaiian shirts and went along. The girls saw a Mt gay promotion for rum whereby you buy 4 and they give you a free wet bag to keep things dry in a dinghy. I hasten to add I hate rum, and John doesn’t drink it either. Somehow we still came home with 9 bags.
We had dinner on the boat, I think, and being responsible crew many went to bed early. Linda, Nik and Mick stayed up until 4.00am and demolished the ships supply of Baileys and Cointreau. Thank God they forgot the alcohol in the compass.

Race 4

We had high hopes for today and I think we sailed very well. We have trouble getting the boat into second gear at the start but once away we roared up the course pulling many larger boats back. At the turning mark it was going to be a beat against tide to windward. Dreammagic did some clever stuff, the Oracle worked its navigation magic. Then we reached the down wind mark.
Kite flying is not our forte because we are one of only two boats in our division flying an assymetrical kite. Everyone else has full kites. Ours is great off the wind, but with it directly behind us, we are a no go. We could do little but sit and watch the great lead we had made over the past 3 hours whittle away until there was very few boats behind us. The results showed us 16th.

Race 5

Some people have pet names for their sails. “The Whomper”, or “Baby Blue”. We decided to change sails today and put up our only other headsail which we affectionately refer to as “That Blown Out Piece of Crap”, (but not within earshot of it!) Today was a much longer race with a much earlier start time. We had a reasonable start but some confusion with the race instructions saw some boats round a barging mark while some sailed straight ahead. We were cautious and rounded the barging mark, to subsequently find that we didn’t need to. None the less  the bigger headsail gave us the drive to race up the course and by the windward mark we were looking great. We climbed above and overtook a Beneteau 45 sailed by a sailing school so we felt pretty pleased with ourselves when we reached the windward mark. On the downhill run we knew that we would have kite problems so sailed about three miles wide of the rhum line to get a decent angle. It was always going to be a gamble, would the extra distance be compensated by the extra speed we would eventually get?  We watched the fleet sailing away from us, and eventually calculated the point at which we would be compensated. Sure enough we turned, kite at about 125 degrees and we shot down the course watching the sails that had so recently become smaller getting larger again.

Wouldn’t it be great if this story had a happy ending? Well, it doesn’t. 5 miles from the next mark the wind veered and we had a dead run down to bouy, and we can’t do dead runs. We rounded the mark eventually and clawed our way back to the finish. 18th on handicap.

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