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Royal Thames Yacht Club 1

Thursday, 03 May 2007
Event: Royal Thames Yacht Club 1 Date: 28–29th April Report by: Hannah Kelmo Contrasting weather forecasts were reflected in a wide range of attire from full offshores, woolly hats and lots of layers to the more optimistic shorts and T-shirts but also in a difficult decision on which kites to take out with us. In the end the A1 was left behind in favour of the A2, S2, A5 and one donated by Exabyte which nobody knew much about. On the way out of the Hamble the chilly breeze made those of us in shorts and T-shirts start to regret our choice of attire but that was soon pushed from our minds as racing kicked off with the ambitious aim of 4 races each day. We had about 10 knots of breeze from the north east, increasing to 13 by the end of the day. The committee laid a fairly short line making starting interesting. Although most of our starts were respectable and our drops were generally good our novice status showed in our results. Consistency is good but not if that’s consistently last. Having initially flown the S2 for the first two races it was decided to try the Exabyte kite as the old grey Volvo Kite was definitely showing its age. This proved to be an excellent decision as the Exabyte kite was a beauty and the lack of repairs made it seem quite a bit bigger than the old S2. Sunday’s conditions proved even lighter, patchier and flukier than Saturday but we had started to learn from our mistakes. Although it was evident that we still need to work on Gybes and sneaking hoists and certainly on our communication, our boat speed was mostly good and we managed to bag a 4th in the first race. After the finish of the first race we practiced a few gybes but the breeze was dying and the race committee announced a postponement until midday when a decision would be made on the wind. At 11.55 all the boats were edging towards the Hamble, vying for the best places on the dock without straying too far from the committee boat. Eventually the race committee admitted defeat in the face of absolutely no wind and the race home was on. It is encouraging that with every days racing communication between main and jib trim improves noticeably, as does the bow team’s confidence. Our A sail gybes with the A2 on Sunday were also a great improvement on last weeks. Hopefully this trend will continue and with a consistent crew the communication from front to back and vice versa should start to work too. Members of the RYA Volvo Keelboat Programme, who sail aboard ‘John Merricks’ would like to thank everyone who support them, the Programme and most importantly the Boat which has been kindly loaned to them by the John Merricks Sailing trust.

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