Ok, we’ve sailed and swum on windier days, but this Saturday was still pretty windy. The weather station on the downwind side of Dun Laoghaire harbor registered 25 knot steady with 30knot gusts and there were certainly a few knots more – and big chop – on the upwind side of the walls.
But we stayed upright, went fast, and had fun.
Heading out to the start through the building wind there was a moment wondering “are there any other dinghies out here?” and unfortunately there were not. Apparently there had been a meeting of the minds, or a briefing in a bar somewhere, and all the other dinghies knew not to appear. The Flying Fifteens and Squibs had come onto the course, but there were no other PY boats, no Mermaids, no IDRA14s, no anything without lead or iron fixed solidly underneath.
Sailing around before the start in “only” 25 knot gusts we put in a few gybes and they came off very well. Power reaching was nicely under control and – unlike later – there was no solid water coming over the bow.
Onwards to the start.
(note all videos are full length as GoPro studio keeps crashing)
Now since there was no competition on the line this should have been straightforward. Big pin bias. So the plan was to cruise along and start at the pin. But a confused or merely discourteous Squib was following us closely down the line and a last-second windshift made it all a bit hectic with an unplanned tack at the gun. Turned out well with a pin end flyer on port…crossing the whole fleet….ehem.
So off we went upwind nicely under control, mainly experimenting with leech tension and crossing the very short and very steep chop. A little bit loose certainly makes life easier and – from the GPS tracks – a little faster too. And sometimes the chop was just brutal, practically stopping the boat entirely.
Downwind we also experimented. Is broad reaching faster than going straight downwind? The calculations are pending.
Reaching is certainly more exciting! Water over the bow, 12.5knot+ speeds, lots of whoosing. With the main sheeted well in the dead run is actually pretty stable and since it seems to be almost impossible to get the boat to plane properly on a dead run there seems little point in taking more risk than necessary on that course. Now to run the arithmetic.
A couple of laps in to the race we noticed that there were bits falling off some of the Flying Fifteens and that the wind was building even more. So we headed home, and getting home to a warm shower under our own power is better than needing to be rescued. As retirees for the day it’s possible we get the same points as those who didn’t even turn up, but that’s just life.
The trip home was power broad reaching all the way, including one moment when the MBK went through the wake of a passing cruiser. I don’t mean over, I mean through. Solid white water over the deck, cockpit half full afterwards. And all on video, hopefully!!
Sadly, the MBK’s skipper’s back was in front of the camera so the drama can’t be seen. A pity. But a testament to the seaworthiness of the boat. Solid 32-34 knot gusts and big chop – sailing home safe. With chicken gybes….
GoProStudio is balking at the videos we took so they’re raw capture rather than edits.