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The GOSSIP

Number 138 / October 2002

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Crab Claw At Rutland (WalterG)

On Saturday morning a large party sailed into the southern part of the lake, sailing up to the limit of the nature reserve. The sailing was quite boisterous, resulting in a capsize for ChrisO. After his recovery, most of the fleet then headed for the fishing lodge for lunch. PeterB, not wanting to enter the crowded harbour, beached outside. When he returned he found a number of chaps disassembling his crab-claw rigged, single outrigger canoe, put together au naturel with bamboo poles and lots of rope lashings, and by now resembling a badly damaged Polynesian jetty. On

enquiring politely why they were so employed, they informed him that they had been told that a boat had been abandoned for some time and were removing it to a less conspicuous position. Its quaintness being seen (in their eyes only) as unsightly wreckage, they were hoping to use it on their next barbecue. "I have to inform you", said Peter, "that I have just been for a cup of coffee, half an hour at the most." At this they were most apologetic and started putting it back together, but, having forgotten which bit went where, Peter made them desist, thinking that half way back the boat would probably disintegrate. They thankfully climbed back in their boat and departed.

The crab-claw rig was quite a feature of the Rutland meet, there being three versions to observe in wonderment, each proceeding through different segments of the learning curve.

A variety of canoes on the lake - good turnout at Rutland Water.

Nigel, who lives nearby, finally got his Ottersports ply open double kayak to sail with a plastic kayak as outrigger.

And here we see IainH in his outrigger craft with crab claw sail. He and his boat look to be more 'organised' than last year at Bala, when I last saw him. Keep up the good work.

We have RodL to thank for the photos.

Whilst out on the lake taking pictures of RodL's recently re-covered sailing kayak (and very smart too), I espied JohnS sailing with his crab claw sail. I had watched John assemble this, with the curved arms fitted with tapered edges, and according to John this would increase the efficiency of the sail by umpteen percent. The sail had been a bed sheet that had been used for some years as a decorating-sheet, and sported a number of colourful decals. I thought I should stay with him to be on hand should anything untoward happen. Rod was heading for the fishing lodge and John followed him. John's boat weaved and wobbled as the crab claw tried to do its own thing and John tried to stop it. I thought it a good job John had fitted the tapered strips because without the extra efficiency he would have gone backwards.

We made it safely into the harbour and went for some well-earned tea and scones. When leaving the harbour the crab claw took charge and pushed the boat round the lee of the harbour wall. John had lost his paddle as the crab took charge once again and he landed ashore. Two paddles should be carried and I'm sure John will have two once he finds a bit of good wood in a skip somewhere. I picked up his paddle and cajoled him into putting his pride aside and borrowing my mizzen and Rod's double paddle to return with. And so with this sail and a dint of paddling he made his way back. Just in time for the meal at the Swan.

 

Rutland Racing (SteveR)

The Ranking Race
As the fleet assembled on the start line at around 10.30 the wind was blowing a force 3/4 from the northeast. Bernard set a single lap course, across the start line and then onto a close reach to the northernmost tower, round the tower in either direction to a broad reach to a buoy opposite the campsite, beam reach to another buoy and then a beat (or close-haul for some boats) back to the campsite. Confusion at the start would seem to be traditional at our races, was that the four-minute horn? The long blast of the starting signal was unmistakable though and the race got under way. Yorkshireman DaveS, Pete and I got across the line first, with DaveP hot on our heels. The wind was not so kind to the rest of the fleet however and most people drifted around the start line for some time, cursing the fickle wind that arrived seconds after the starting horn.

Pete led the race to the tower but the whole race was very close. I might say nail-bitingly close but with ten seconds between Pete, Dave and myself for the whole race, and DaveP following a mere minute behind, taking a moment out of the race to bite my nails didn't feel like an option. As we

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