Sunday, 31 July 2011

Regatta day 1:  A learning experience. There was bright sunshine - light wind in the morning with a lot of tide - good wind for the second race. I am in the second of four fleets to start - the medium handicap. All the other streakers are a lot faster - sigh.

race 1 - DNF - it was awful as I messed up the start. Too far off the start - too much tide - too little wind - too little skill. So I did about ten minutes and decided it was a hopeless case and retreated to eat rolls and drink coffee. Fell in trying to get from my boat to the pontoon - if it goes wrong - it goes wrong properly.

race 2 - started badly but I finished - not last but not far off. I was actually 8th - so the others must have done even dafter things - - . But I felt a bit better about it all. Again - a lot of mistakes (including an almost-capsize filling the boat with water).

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Today - we have the preparation for the sailing club regatta. This will involve going to the shops for high energy food, getting my sailing kit together and figuring out the logistics of getting launched alongside 50 other boats.
The two white marks on the bank defines the start line. (18 is a channel bouy and not part of the course). The problem is - where to start - there is a stronger current in the middle - the far side is shallow - starboard is the favoured side of the course.
I am also trying to figure out the start line. In a southerly wind the right end of the line is favoured because one needs to get to the starboard side of the course to avoid the tide downstream. But all the other boats are fighting it out there, as well as avoiding a pontoon and various moored boats. Is it better to avoid the crowds and get ahead in clear wind. So I am going to try to start at speed over the line between the moored boats. But that is only the start of course - - - .

Friday, 29 July 2011

Typical view of the Deben - low lying, wooded banks with mud flats exposed at low tide. At high tide - the drowned vegetation is just visible beyond the (traditional) yacht.
Tuesday > Wednesday > Thursday: A sail  in Lookfar. I stayed overnight in the marina and caught the ebb downstream to Felixstowe Ferry. This was very fast as the wind (up to 18 knots) and tide were behind me. I did try to pick up a visitor's mooring in the channel - but the tide was too powerful, so I did the wise thing and found one out of the tide. I grossed-around there for the rest of the tide and then took the flood upriver a few miles to Ramsholt where I picked another bouy for overnight. I am now getting proficient at getting the bouys as long as the tide is not too strong. I went to my bunk early and slept well, helped by a hot water bottle.

Thursday - Sailed upstream on the flood (HW at 11-00). The wind was on the nose but I was helped by tide and hindered by moored boats as tacking between them takes a bit of care.

It was mostly there and back again, but I did play near the sailing club for a while and went onto the pontoon there for experience and hot water. Weather - cold and then hot for a short time on Thursday - a reminder that heat is good.

Interesting - when I got up on Thursday the depression had evaporated and I have been fine since - even when I was cleaning the deck this afternoon. That's what sailing does - -

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Nothing interesting - I have felt gloomy for a few days. Sailed the dinghy on Sunday to practice tacking and gybing again, but otherwise have sat around feeling sorry for myself and bad-tempered to go with it. Dentist today - teeth good - rather better than the rest of me feels. I was not even cheered by seeing masses of butterflies last week - including hundreds of gatekeepers.
Gatekeepr - not my picture - this from an identification web site
Plan to take Lookfar out on the river for a couple of days.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cool exersise for various muscles
It makes you feel tired to look at it - but you actually do it more slowly so it is not as exhausting as it looks. I do a number of exercises like this which target all the muscle groups over two (relatively) short sessions. This week I have tried out some new ones as well. I try to make it to the gym now at the start of most days when I am not doing something else. Going to the gym  has added a great deal to my well-being. With the additional benefit that it makes depression (when it strikes) less painful. And no sweating it out on the machines either - .
This is the hardest but is done more slowly than the picture

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Digging the road near my flat.
All this week - mega lorries and disruption - interesting in its own way.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Road and car park in heavy rain storm on Monday
Monday - a lot of rain. It does not do justice to the lashing rain and the depth of water in the carpark and gutters.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A wet and windy weekend - with no sailing by me - disappointing.
I had intended to sail in the streaker Open meeting. But prudence prevailed and I did not even think of it when I got up and saw wind and lashing rain. But it was sailed and the topper fleet was especially hardy (and young). I watched in pouring rain under threee layers of waterproofs and did a few helpful things.

The baby swallows flew the nest over Saturday night. Two of them came back on Sunday when it rained. 
They look smug more than cute!

I did not sail on Sunday -  a very long race down the river to windward (and then back) which lasted over an hour and a half in strong wind with squalls - it would probably have written me off.

All a bit depressing really - and bad weather due to continue all the week into the next round of races at the weekend.  I should be used to dubious weather by now - - but I am not.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Goodbye car - uplifted early this morning by - a good and easy way to get rid of an old car. Surprisingly sad to see it go - - - .

green car - faithful friend since 2004
The week has gone by with very little to show for it - apart from a superficial reading of the easy parts of the Racing Rules and a couple of visits to the gym. A general feeling of gloom - I blame the nasty weather and perhaps some reaction to the excesses of last week.  And today I need to mend my centre board and sit in the sun before the rain and wind due tomorrow.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Another day - another best beach
Looking North towards the Deben estuary from Felixstow

Monday - I took delivery of the new car and took it out for a run to Felixstow beach - very pleasant views with car parking and a coffee shop right on the cliff top. Automatic gears take a bit of getting used to but have only grabbed for the gear stick a couple of times. It was more tiring than I expected!
Swallow's nest above a notice board at Deben Yacht Club.
Three or four swallows are getting very large and the parents fly in and out all the time.
Briefly interrupted by people when there is sailiing
More racing at the weekend - in the evening to catch to tide. Lots of nice food as well. I came second again on Saturday.
Sunday was a reminder of how awful racing can be. I got a good start but thereafter I could not get in the groove - with light and shifty winds against the tide. The wind dropped and it took half an hour to cover about ten boat lengths to the finish line. But - hey - I finished and came 4th (behind a load of Toppers). But half the fleet did not finish. Not great fun - sailing can be awful and I am glad for the reminder - in some ghastly way. I have since read up on sail settings and think I had the sail wrong for the light wind conditions - not enough outhaul.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

What to do with the old car? Solution - - -  it gets scrapped (or sold) through this - which sounds wonderful - we will see - -

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Whatever next? A replacement car for the old green Almera which has done many years of faithful service. Spent most of today making up my mind and getting insurance sorted out.
I promise to clean it sometimes. (Oh - and it is a Merc automatic incase you wondered. This is a 'compact executive car' apparently. But it is a year older than the faithful green car so maybe not quite as posh as you might think.)

Monday, 4 July 2011

Weekend - lots of streakering. And on Saturday - I came second in the slow handicap race - which was just the right length for me. Very shifty winds - so was quite pleased by this and grateful for the experience I had at Tynemouth.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Tuesday -> Wednesday -> Thursday - on the river for a shake-down cruise. Just as well as several things worked loose including the shackles that held the main sheet blocks and the genoa blocks.

Shows how close the bouy is to Bawdsey beach - and the white bits show the strong current.
I went downstream with the tide and the wind - and picked up the big visitor's bouy in the entrance to the Deben. There was ferocious current in and out for some of the tide, but it was a fun place to stay when the wind was reasonable. I dropped the mooring at 9-00 on Thursday and went back with the wind on the nose but the tide with me. It took longer than it should because of aggrevations with shackles. I solved these by picking up a mooring and fixing them.
View out to sea and my wake in the tide.
Next task - to check all shackles and split pins