After a long break from competitions for the summer (forced upon us through heavy work schedules) we headed towards our first autumn event, the RYA National Ranker in Weymouth.
As this was out first event for a while, we wanted to concentrate on just getting back on the race course. Our key area to focus on was the start, followed by boat handling around the course. Although we have spent the whole summer perfecting our tacks, gybes, gybe drops, gybe hoists etc, pulling them off on the race course is a different matter.
Once on the race course we quickly settled into our pre-start routine. 12 knots of breeze was, for us, prefect conditions. After checking wind variations, line bias and rig setting, we lined up with about 2 minutes to go. To hold our position, Jus initiated a reverse which resulted in a loud crack. Our vang bar had just snapped… Great.
After rushing in to change it, we stuck a brand new bar on and sailed out for the start of the next race. Again, we lined up and Justin goes into another reverse. Crack. We can’t believe it, our brand new vang bar snaps, in exactly the same place. Right, that’s us for the day, we’re all out of spares. We can’t believe it, hours of boat prep, and a system we’ve checked numerous times lets go before the first race. We’ve had no problems with the boat all summer, and yet it destroys itself at the worst possible time. Absolutely gutted, we sail in, only to be cheered up by England Rugby team slamming the Aussies out of the World Cup. Get in!
Day 2: After spending all night fixing, then checking and re-checking the mast, we hit the race course in around 10 knots of breeze. Lining up for the first race, we decide to head left up the beat, aiming for the stronger pressure and shift towards the shore. 5 seconds to go, we sheet in, hit the wire and hold our lane until getting pinched out 100 meters up the course, forcing us to tack off right. As predicted, the left pays and we round mid fleet after the first beat. Although we take places throughout the race, we only finish 6th or 7th.
Second race is very similar. Although we have great acceleration off the line, we end up getting forced out right. Had we been a little more race sharp, we would have tacked back and continued left, but we didn’t. Again, after taking places we finish 7th or 8th (I think….)
All in all, this ranker wasn’t that great for us. Considering our quality of boat handling and boat speed in Kiel, we feel this was a step down. However, it was a great event to sharpen up with and another step in the right direction. This weekend, we have a boat prep day on Saturday, and training in Lymington on Sunday. We’ll keep you posted.