The loneliness of command
08 June 2009 | Simons Town
As you can see, I have survived my first single handed yacht race on Shamrock. Leading up to Saturdays event the weather Gods were a bit harsh and it lashed down with rain on the night before followed by heavy winds. However Saturday morning rolled around grey cloudy but the rain had stopped and the wind had moderated. I was excited as I was determined to complete in this race. Unfortunately a number of fellow criusers who also had committed to enter failed to show up which was very disappointing as I rather hoped that we could have a race within a race and enjoy ourselves without being too het up with the proper racers.
You are allowed to take one crew member with you for safety reasons by during the bad weather of the preceeding days I could tell my planned crews interest was waining. Anywho he didnt pitch but I was going and my helpful neighbout Marius and Luigi helped me off the walk on and out to the start line. I dont have an autopilot so I rigged up some elestic bungie cord to hold the wheel when I needed to attend to anything. The heath robinson system worked extremely well , sufficient infact to allow me to hoist the main and the genoa. Well the genny took two attempts as I attached it to the spinnaker halliard the first time and had to redo it but I got all her sails up and headed for the start line. I was a bit off the start line due to the delays with the genoa but I was about fourth last over the line and in tanden with Rob in his new multi million rand catamaran. The first mark was Caster rock and was between a broad reach and a run. Shamrock was flying and I overtook a number of boats on this leg and was chuffed with myself and felt that if the race was just on this leg I would have been a contender...
Unfortunately it wasnt to last and despite a good rounding of the mark I found that I just couldnt point as high as the other boats and after trying unsucessfully to pinch accepted that fact and moderated my course which improved my speed but was speadily was overtaken by the fleet. I made a total bags of the next mark the submarine bouy and eventually got settled on the broadreach again and managed to catch up on two boat and eventually after the next mark at Paddlers had over taken a third boat before heading back to the finish line at the club house. In conclusion, I had difficulty pointing high enough which is probably down to sail set up and trimming. I do have the main lifted quite high on the topping lift to make extra headroom for me and this may have caused the main not to set properly. On the genoa which is a monster sail one of my sheets came asunder with the outer and inner rope coming apart which made it very hard to haul in especially when it was wet. Proudly I can say the reason it was wet was because I waqs driving the boat hard and hard her with the toe rail in the water.
In retospect I was chuffed with my effort and am thinking of doing more racing at the club. I guess a few tweeks in the right place will make it a bit more competative and a bit more experience on my side wouldnt hurt.