By the final downwind leg Bernard had overtaken Ian who remained ahead of Chris. A close contest for 5th place resulted in Rod just holding off Eddie. And experimenter Keith? An older and wiser man. Walter sailed a fine race. Remember his frustration at Rutland last September on first trying his trimaran? Ian remarked afterwards that with a slightly weaker wind he would have fancied his chances in the long, upwind leg, but against the trimarans in force 3.99, no chance.
Rod (see below) is keen that such races do not disappear from OCSG meets. Accordingly, as meet organiser, he ensured that we had the opportunity in testing conditions to show our mettle. The course was simple - 1st leg run under sail, 2nd upwind paddle having dropped sail, 3rd and 4th repeat under sail. Problems began at the first mark for Rod, then as Neville tried to re-set his mizzen (downhaul adrift) at the second he fell out of his canoe whilst leaning back. Ian was on hand to hold down one gunwale as Neville climbed in over the other.
Coniston - With Hindsight (RodL)
It's been a long time since we had a sailing/paddling race (too long) and a long time since I rigged and derigged in a hurry on the water. I know we all make excuses but everything really did go wrong for me. Even apart from the fact that my best antique double paddle snapped on the first stroke (always carry a spare), the truth was that I'd forgotten the de-rig procedure. I should have known not to let the main sheet go loose. (It ended up round the rudder blade and only a hike to the end of the boat while somehow keeping it upright was going to allow me to continue). Then there was the forestay when it was time to re-rig. I cleated the wrong bit, the mast hid the mistake and the sail was kept up by wind pressure (we were running) so that when the wind died so did the mast, coming down on top of me. Enjoying myself under my sail, I managed to get a hand to where I thought the cleat was, undo it and pull the right rope, which hoisted the mast properly.
The thing is, I'd had all this to a fine art a year or so ago, which was when we last did a S/P race. The whole point of them is that it gets us better at boat handling. That and the apparent lack of enthusiasm at paddling training sessions makes me think we are relying too much on our little sails. One day when the force is not with us (sail rips, mast or thwart breaks, leeboard cracks, downhaul snaps, wind too strong) we are going to get caught out when it comes to propelling in a more conventional way. When is a canoe not a canoe? When you can't paddle it. (?) Final words: Can anyone still steer with their paddle? And... capsize practice!