Sunday, 25 November 2012

Start sequence video from H&H7

Julian Mandiwall and his race team were in the start hut for the H&H7 race. I was slightly concerned that we would have a number of recalled starts with a fleet of 50 boats, until I saw the video camera that was set up on the shore. Word of the camera spread through the fleet like wildfire, and a very orderly start was the result.  The video repeats the start, so if the second half looks familiar that's why.

A couple of points of interest:
- Lots of the boats starting at the 'hut' end of the line could have had an interesting encounter with the transit post, only the goodwill of the sailors below prevented some luffing and damage.  There is no water at a starting mark.
- Note the acres of space further down the line. All those that started further down had clear wind a pulled away from the main fleet.
- If you turn the volume up you can hear John Fifield ensuring that the rest of the fleet are clear on his rights, and the consequence of infringing them

Sarah and Barnaby Thorsby led me astray at the club prize giving last night with a drink known as a Jagerbomb (although Wikipedia tells me we were actually drinking a variant known as a 'TurboJager').   I'm off for an afternoon nap.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hare and Hounds 7 photos

I'd forgotten that someone was taking photos on Saturday, it seems it was Don Manson in one of the ESC patrol boats.  The photos are excellent, good to see so many of the fleet on film.

Photos here =>

Nice to see dean still in his shortie!

Monday, 19 November 2012

300 Video from Saturday .....

For the gadget orientated amongst the readership, a small video I took on Saturday. 

I bought the hardware just to making boat tuning easier and more objective, after Sundays performance it's certainly required!  The combination of (i) video from a GoPro camera with (ii) GPS tracking data from a Speedpuck, is all done with a software package called Dashware (with loads of messing around to get into a time/size acceptable by Youtube). 

The clip starts at about 1:03 to the start gun.  Steve Cockerill has invited Rooster blog readers to send him video clips for analysis, but I can't bring myself to send it!

If you are taking part in the race training next year we will be able to video from a coaching boat with speed data from the GPS inside the dinghy.  I plan to do the same with some race sessions for the Youth and Junior sailors.

Never noticed that I sometimes cross my legs when hiking, might explain why my knees feel a bit sore this morning.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

More Hare and Hounds .....

So this weekend saw the highest turnout ever for a Hare and Hounds race (at least while I've been Dinghy Secretary), with 50 boats on the start line for the H&H7 race in a very welcome Westerley F4 on Saturday.  Fantastic.

Race Officer Julian Mandiwall and team had set up a video camera on the start line to record any transgressions in the starting procedure, this was quickly noted by the fleet and we had a very orderly start with no sniff of a black flag (bet Julian was disappointed).  One Laser was over at the hut end of the line, otherwise everyone was clean at the gun.

The results sheet may suggest that the course and conditions were somewhat favourable to the 300 contingent, for those questioning handicap I suggest you take a look at Sundays results (my 300 brethren and I despise the lighter winds, thankfully there is a minimum wind requirement for class events!).

Anyway, some highlights from Saturdays race :

- Will Acres and Fin Preston have a fantastic race in their 29er, placing 4th overall.  Only a matter of time before Will gives dad Dave a hiding!
- Neil Mant comes home first Laser, 8 seconds ahead of Tom Tredray.  But stalwart of the Laser fleet John Fifield is in hot pursuit, only 40 seconds behind Tom.  Good to see close racing in the Laser fleet.
- Mike/Dean and Andy/Chris have a very close race, finishing in 7th and 8th.  The 'Slipper team spirit' didn't appear to be in great health on the final close reach, I looked over my shoulder to see a full on luffing match, with Mike and Andy seemingly very keen to find the mudbanks on the side of the channel!
- Mark Newton places 3rd with his 300 'A' rig (a 9.25m rig as opposed to the 10.0m 'B' rig), lets hope no one lends him a B!
- According to crew Gael, Matt Johnston had jaw ache and tongue blisters from excessive whinging about the 300 fleet performance.

Sundays race was a very different affair, a fickle SW F1.  Again, a clean start, with an apparent bias towards the pin end - at least from a wind direction perspective.  Shortly after the start, the wind filled from the West, and those closest to the wind line made massive gains that they didn't lose.  Simon Townsend was so far ahead in his 400 that I couldn't read the sail numbers!  

Some highlights from the results:

- Simon Townsend and crew take a deserved win, by over a minute on handicap, great racing in very testing conditions.
- The RS200s of Paul and Caroline, and Marcus Lawson take 2nd and 3rd.  The 200s have shown remarkable consistency through the series, always placing well and securing points for their clubs.
- John and Hilary Excell place 5th in their Laser Stratos, great boat speed and a good read of the first beat.
- The ISOs of Mike/Emma and Andy/Vicky again finish in consecutive places, its tight in the fast handicap fleet.  But disappointingly no luffing up mudbanks.
- Delanie Rutter and Eve Townsend sailed their Laser 2000 into 9th place, a fantastic result.  Great boat speed in the light conditions.
- Not a day for the 300s, we will be considering a 'minimum wind' requirement at Sailing Committee tomorrow night!

As ever, contributions from Guests are welcome, it only takes a few minutes!

300 Race Log - 17/18th November

Date: 17th October

Venue : ESSC
Race : Handicap race, 45 minutes
Conditions: W F4
Tide : 45 minutes after start
Result :  1st of 50 boats.  1st 300 of 4.

- Good start.  Started mid line with speed, didn't get mixed up with other boats, managed to pull out a reasonable lead on the fleet by Wickor with the exception of the 29er and ISOs (which is fine).
- Good boat speed, on all points of sail.  Felt in tune with the boat.
- Tactically OK, but not really too much to be considered given the course and tide.
- Never hiked so hard, Mr Acres being just behind was a massive motivation to keep going flat out. 

Points for reflection:
- Used a GPS for the first time, downloaded the track after the race and overlayed onto video (might upload here if I can work it out).  Points of interest:
  • I thought I was doing the whole 'low in the gusts, high in the lulls' thing on the way to Wickor.  Looking at the GPS track it turns out that I wasn't - a variation of no more than 10 degrees.  Could have been variation in wind direction, but don't think so.
  • There was a huge amount of tide running up toward NEH, my tacking angle was 65 degrees!
  • Mark roundings need work, specifically a tack followed by an immediate bear away/gybe.
  • Significant variance in speed upwind, from 4.8 to 6 knots.  Dave Acres looked to be sailing lower and going faster, maybe worth trying to foot more
Can't wait to use the GPS for tuning, it looks to be a viable way to systematically improve boat speed.

Date: 18th October

Venue : ESSC
Race : Handicap race, 60 minutes
Conditions: S F1
Tide : 45 minutes after start
Result :  12th of 37.  1st 300 of 3.

- Not much!  But found the race enjoyable despite the position.  Maybe it was the sun.

Points for reflection:
- Every book that you read about light wind racing states that "pressure is king".  At the start, I was far more preoccupied with the bias on the line, and didn't even consider the pressure on the course - big mistake!
- Very poor start. Started on the hip of a Laser (Neil Mant I think), no place to go and suffered as a result.  Took an age to break out.
- Pretty poor boat speed, only saved by the close reach from Little Deep to Echo.  Particularly poor on a beat.

On reflection, I've spent no time at all trying to sort out speed in anything less than a F2, so definitely worth investing some time.  I've read that the 300s performance just drops off a cliff in very light winds but I'm not so sure, it felt like it was my performance that was a problem rather than the boat.  I plan to sail a lot more at TISC next year, be interesting to compare performance with the 300 fleet there.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A few beach photos from H&H6

.... again provided by Noel Coussens here -> .

Note the wetsuit of Dean Lillywhite (sailing with Andy Gould that day).  I presume the Irish winters are a little colder than the UK, Dean is wearing a very short shortie for the tropical south coast conditions.

Guest Contribution : Dave Valentine muses on his Laser performance in H&H5

 A contribution from Dave Valentine in the Laser fleet.  Dave placed 16th overall and 2nd :Laser in the H&H5 race on Saturday, here is the race from his perspective. The curious thing about Dave's report is the appearance of Anthony Reeves in a Laser - he doesn't appear on any of the sign on/off sheets (are you sure he was racing ?).

I like the idea of a swarm of 300s, captures the essence of the boat nicely.

"As you're getting some guest contributions, thought I'd add from a Laser perspective

Having got to the start line 1 minute late on my last race, and spent the one before that on the phone to the Police (both long stories over a pint); thought I'd get there in plenty of time (the 6 P's and all that) for Saturdays race.

With the decreasing wind, where should I start - got out early and zoomed up and down the line before going down the channel where some 300's seemed to be having a swarm - wind seemed good though a tight reach / close haul if starting at the pin end; so selected a post end start.  Advised Sean and Jez of my choice and reasons (maybe the Lasers need to have a brief / debrief at the race - food for thought ?)

Hung around from about 2&1/2 mins to the gun close up by the posts between them and the pontoon, with Paul and Caroline close by in the 200, and Tom sitting under then took a swift jump over the top of me along with a radial, and Sean not far underneath. Not sure what happened to another couple of Lasers - John and Jez who were close by. 5 secs to gun, and I was a couple of yards away - quick bear away to get away from Tom though he held his own above me - I know mine goes upwind quickly and sails high, Tom ducked underneath and seemed to pull away by a few yards underneath along with Sean (he's getting good, watch out there).

Stayed high as boat going well, block to block, kicker on hard, downhaul on hard, and well out of tide and knew I could reach away to Wickor later down the course. Paul and Caroline also seemed to be staying high so seemed a good choice. Patrick was towards the Thorney side of the channel though was going well and I could see Neil Mant out there swell. Had I gone too high ?
Wind was dropping so started to release downhaul. Played with the kicker to see if I could affect some boat speed, and released some downhaul coming up to Fowley. Had 1/2 kicker on which seemed to give best speed. Past the visitor pontoon, started to bear away taking note of tide coming across - had good speed, so should be ok.  Released kicker, and had overtaken Tom by this point so felt good and pulling away - let off downhaul fully and some outhaul aswell (6 to 4/5 on my scale) to get a fuller sail. Bit of kicker on to take out slack - too much off previous obviously.

Boat speed was good as not far off asy's coming in to Wickor with Tom and Sean quite a few yards off. Patrick and Neil some way down close reaching / hauling ? up to the mark. Outhaul back to 6 for the upwind. Left downhaul off, kicker on with a few yards to go, 1st Laser round, work to do as Tom not that far behind and closing quickly.

Rounded and hardened up, kicker on more, block to block, with a procession of asy's in front of me - no good with lots of spilled winds, so tacked away quickly following Paul and Caroline, they tacked away just near the Cruisers; I held on till after then tacked to make most of the tide down towards Hayling; pointing high and very flat (see Noel's photos - still could get a bit more to windward I think ? block to block good though, plenty of kicker bending boom though mast bending and opening up sail - hmmm what can I do there), had a ferryboat ride across towards Hayling shore. Tom came over the top of me going down the channel (obviously lost some going across Ems channel having tacked away), I held on, he tacked to cover, then went away for the mark. I held to go over him, tacked a few yards on and sailed for the mark.

Tom had made most of the tide and got to NEH just before me coming in on starboard, with me on port, so I had to give room as when he tacked I was right on his transom, quick smooth jibes from both, Tom went slightly lower and I went high hoping to sail over - not a lot of difference in boat speed here both against the tide.  Passed Patrick and Sean after some 50 yards so knew I was safe from behind.

Tom sailed the leg well to Shepherd, with me only a few yards behind having opened up outhaul again and lifted the dagger slightly, heeling the boat to windward  as wind almost behind - still time. This time, he tacked away quickly, back to OH6 and full dagger, I held on as being slightly higher from Shepherd and pointed high towards Hayling before tacking onto port. Wind was flukey and I thought this may give me a better reach to NEH. Tom going lower may have to tack or close haul all the way.
Tom used the tide again to his benefit I think, or may have had better wind (shoreside was slightly lighter) and got to NEH again before me though I'd pulled a couple of yards in. Rounding well, Tom went high and I sailed low heading for Sweare Deep, opening up my outhaul to 4 and dagger up a 1/4 way, kicker off 3/4's. Tom and a Finn were way too high to make the mark - I made the gentlemanly call to Tom, and after checking his cards quickly adjusted his course. Beating him in a straight race is one thing, missing a mark to win is another !

To his benefit (or was it luck) the tide brought him down to Sweare Deep with good speed, and was a good 30 yards ahead as my boat speed seemed low against the tide and dropping wind.  At Shepherd, I was at least 50 yards behind, outhaul in slightly, kicker on for rounding and dagger down, downhaul now right off; and tacked away a few yards after rounding to use the tide to get to NEH. Keeping the boat v flat, made a few yards back though not enough. However a new laser had appeared, yellow hull though it wasn't John - where had he come from?  Patrick, Sean and Neil were still coming towards me, so knew I was safe there; though work to hold the yellow off.

He was lower though flat, and I had speed towards NEH, Tom rounded and went high up to Northney. I followed 50 yards behind though seemed to be losing boat speed. Opening up as much outhaul as possible to gain speed, I held off the yellow (now Tony Reeves). Dagger up a 1/4, kicker on to take up slack, wind increasing slightly, keeping flat and reached for Northney. Tom was round, me at least 50+ away, the yellow some 50 or so behind and I'd lost sight off the others.

Kicker off, outhaul to 3 opening right up, jibed and went for westerly side of Ems channel. Flukey winds showed Tom reaching then slow, then I'd reach, then he. I was holding off Tony behind maybe pulling away a bit. Tom was increasing though. Tom took the hoot, I followed 100+ yards away, with Tony 50+ behind. i could just make out the next Lasers though couldn't see who.
OK, a 2nd for me - work to do with Tom. Good race.

Bit of work to do on my hiking straps - releasing themselves, maybe rope is worn. Outhaul block tie to mast also looking worn - work next weekend !



Monday, 5 November 2012

Guest Contribution : Hugh Kennedy muses on H&H6, after giving the ISOs a pasting on handicap

Another guest contribution from Rear Commodore Sailing Hugh Kennedy, who placed 2nd in the H&H6 race on Sunday.   I'm surprised by the reference to 300 banditry, this will not go down well with his 300 brethren!

"I was not expecting to race this Sunday. Earlier in the morning the wind had been gusting in the F9’s and was still gusting 7 when we all congregated at the Slipper. Fortunately Bramblemet was registering a F5 so the predicted moderation in the breeze was confirmed and the race was on!

By the start the wind had died to a F4 to F5 North West and with the race starting in a southerly direction to Wickor this was ideal RS300 bandit racing conditions! Taking my single white sail and ample bulk into account I reckoned a far end start was a no-brainer leaving the asymmetric’s to fight it out at the other end and providing me with a lot of clear air. My predictions don’t always work but on this occasion a better start could not have been had. At one point on the first leg Andy and Dean did get intimidatingly close but a convenient gust blew them away, forcing them to drop their kite and drop back. I was first round Wickor followed by Dr Roy a few boat lengths behind.

Apart from not knowing which way the next mark was to be rounded the following leg went well, only conceding a place to Andy and Dean which fortunately sorted out my rounding problem. My rounding was not smooth, almost falling in, Mike and Emma took advantage and slipped through. Dr Roy also gained from my rounding mistake and the fact that I started heading for the wrong mark! This was quickly corrected and managed to hold my position all the way to the final short beat to Swear Deep. The now lighter winds did not help my boat speed – I am still not sure if this perpetual problem is due to me being 2-3 stone heavier than anybody else or psychological – I suspect both!

Anyway  Andy and Dean crossed the line first, followed by Mike and Emma then closely pursued by Dr Roy with me a few seconds behind!

Hugh -RS300 510

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The wind that never was

So we are all looking at Chimet and Cambermet on Saturday morning, seeing a f5-7 westerly.  By 12:00 it had died to a f5-6, and to a f5 by the start of the H&H5 race.  The course set by race officer Andy Gould and team involved a close reach to Wickor, several upwind/downwinds to NEH and then back to the club on a broad reach from Northney.  The wind died from about 10 minutes into the race, moderating to a f3-4.

The start was a relatively orderly affair compared to recent races, I think the wind direction and course probably help even up the line a bit.  Three boats were identified as OCS and two re-started - unfortunately the Stratos of John Excell and Simon Robinson was OCS and didn't return.

Four boats got away on the reach to Wickor - my 300, Hugh Kennedy in his 300, Mike and Dean in the ISO and Martin and Claire in their 4000.  I'd managed to sneak out a couple of boat lengths off the start and  thought I was going to be able to hold off to Wickor but it was not to be, Mike and Dean were the first to roll me, quickly followed by Hugh!

Huge shifts on the upwind/downwind legs gave big gains to those of get them right, although with such short beats it was difficult to get into a grove.  The wind died towards the end of the race, favouring the asymmetrics on the final leg (one of the rare occasions in the 300 where I have been genuinely praying for significantly more wind!)

Some standout results :

- Mike and Dean show that a good partnership is easy to rekindle and take the win by a good margin.

- Great to see Roy Sievers representing TISC in his 300, just pipping Hugh by a second to take 5th place
- Tim and Mel place first 400.  We had really close racing for the majority of the race, never try and get your nose between Tim and a mark (I tried twice and had to bail!!).
- In a battle royale in the Laser 4.7 fleet, Cath Mant just pips Helen Weekes by a second. You can't beat class racing, that must have been close all the way round!

Noel Coussens took some photos from the patrol boat, you can see them here ->[user]=113631845&filters[recent]=1&filters[publicOnly]=1&sort=1&o=0

I was summoned to the Bosun's house on Sunday, and so didn't get to race.  I do note that 300s head the results sheet, and applaud my class brethren for their results.  Hopefully I'll get someone to give a report from the race, if you took part why not email me one ?

300 Race Log - 3rd November

Date: 20th October

Venue : ESSC
Race : Handicap race, 45 minutes
Conditions: W F3-5
Tide : 30 minutes after start
Result :  2nd of 40ish boats.  1st 300 of 4.

- Good start.  Everyone seemed to be favouring the start hut end of the line, I wasn't so sure as (i) it meant sailing through more tide, (ii) the sailing angle to Wickor was virtually identical and (iii) of the 20 boats trying for that end, only 3-4 would get a decent start.  Decided to start mid line in space, and managed to get away in clean air and a couple of boat lengths in front of Mike and Dean.  Set the basis for the rest of the race.
- Reasonable reaching speed.  Hugh and I were the first two boats off the beach and had a quick look up the channel to Wickor.  I was hiking to the max with loads of kicker, Hugh had little kicker on, was more powered and going faster.  After the start it was only a question of time before I got rolled, but pleased to hold off the faster boats until beyond Fowley.  Good for confidence too.
- Good upwind work.  Again the use of the compass got me through Hugh on the final upwind leg, there was a huge header on rounding Shepherd, I was the first to tack.
- Pleased with the result given that f5 is not my optimal conditions.
- No dicey moments (nothing close)

Points for reflection:
- Started the race in strong wind you-must-survive-this-without-capsizing mode, and found it difficult to shake off once the wind died.  For example, offwind I was too far back in the boat and being too conservative with kicker and sheeting angles.  That said, didn't feel too slow.
- Could have been more proactive in rig setup as the wind continually changed.  Must graduate the boat to make this easier (theres only three controls!)

But all in all a good race.