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The GOSSIP

Number 139 / November 2002

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Balmy Autumn - Lakeside, Windermere (DaveS)

With an unusually mild and calm forecast for the weekend, the OCSG turned out in force, with over 20 boats present. Saturday started cloudy with light to moderate SW winds. Several people decided to sail north towards Bowness, with the promise of the wind coming from the northwest later in the day, hopefully allowing an easy broad reach there and back. Everyone who started completed the trip, including sailing around Belle Isle and calling for lunch at one of the many cafes. The wind shift didn't happen though, so a long beat back was called for, the round trip being about 12 miles.

The remainder of the fleet sailed south, stopping for lunch at Fell Foot Park. The wind became light and fluky as the lake narrowed, making it difficult to sail amongst the moored yachts. Afterwards the fleet went down the navigable part of the River Leven to the Swan Hotel for afternoon tea; some chose to paddle whilst others persevered with the sailing, tacking in the narrow confines of the river. In the evening the majority of members retired to the Boaters Restaurant for a group meal, a pleasant end to a pleasant day.

Sunday dawned with clear blue skies and a gentle NE breeze. With just a hint of autumn in the oak woods that surround Lakeside, and the clear views up the lake to the mountains at the head of Windermere, the scenery was stunning. What a setting for the final races of the year! The first race was the ranking race for the Lakeside plate. The course went half a mile up wind and around Silverholme Island, back down the lake for one mile to the speed limit buoy, and upwind again to the finish line. SteveR was first around the island and got well away as the dying wind behind

him caused the next eight boats to concertina together on the run back down the lake. Steve stayed well ahead to finish five minutes clear. The wind strengthened again as the rest of the fleet rounded the bottom mark nearly all together, making for a very exciting close finish - DaveS pinching second place from BernardO, with JanP taking fourth, seconds ahead of five other boats. JohnB, officiating with the stopwatch, was hard pressed to separate them.

In the afternoon it was decided to have another "anything goes" sailing/paddling race, after the success of the one held at Rutland. Sailing/paddling races had fallen from favour in recent years since many people didn't enjoy the hard slog of the paddling legs. Or people had problems with raising and lowering sail on the water. But "anything goes" means that you can sail the whole course if you so wish or paddle and sail at the same time. With eighteen boats on the start, the course was similar to the one in the morning but taking in another island, Blakeholme, on the far side of the lake. Different strategies were used. Some people paddled with sails down, some just sailed. KeithM took his rudder up and sailed and paddled at the same time, correcting his course with his paddle. Others locked off their rudders and sheets, and paddled, occasionally stopping to correct their course. As the wind was too light, it favoured the paddle over the sail, but the combination of sail and paddle proved to be the most efficient over the whole course with DaveS just winning ahead of Bernard, who pressed him hard the whole way round. At the end I think the consensus of opinion was that this type of race needed more wind to make it more interesting, and that it should not be attempted too often in the future.

 

Invitation (RoyB)
Received from Harri Luukkanen, Helsinki.

"Preliminary announcement for the 2003 ACA Canoe Sailing Regatta, in the City of Lahti, Finland. The race will probably be held on the weekend of August 10-11.

The Race is open to all ACA class canoe sailors of all nations and the winner will get the title and honour of 'Finnish National Champion', while the medals will be given by the FCU."

It would be a great visit and I'm sure one would have a good time, but it's a long journey. You go from Newcastle on the DFDS Seaways ferry to Gothenburg; the cost is approximately 140 each including the car, and the journey takes about 24 hours. Now you have to drive from Gothenburg to Stockholm, about 250 miles and then by the Silja ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, an overnight trip of about 24 hours that will cost in the order of 150 each including the car. From Helsinki to Lahti is a further 60 or 70 miles.

Readers may remember an article in June's GOSSIP which gave details of the Finnish Canoe Union's Sailing Committee's proposals for this event. Its chairman, Harri Luukkanen, can be contacted for further information.

 

Scottish Trip (Part 1) (EddieP)

Whilst the OCSG may not always be at the cutting edge of technical development in canoe sailing, in comparison with IC 10s for example, various members have shown what can be achieved in the field of extended trips and expeditions. EddieP is the latest to show how it can be done.

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