Flight 4 saw the Etchells fleet share the the race course with the ladies of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. All images are courtesy of RNZYS - many thanks for a great evening!
Guest Post from Will Simpson (Impulse, 1077)
Taking my inspiration from the tomes written by the Webstermeister...
The more vigilant of you last night may, perhaps, have been looking behind on the runs to see where the next puff was coming from. You may very well have pondered on why the boat with the blue spinnaker had dropped so far behind. The eagle eyed may have then spotted the tear in the foot of that very same blue spinnaker and said to yourself, ah. Bonus points and beer will be given to those who then realised that not only was there a tear but also that the kite was being flown freely, “sans pole”, as they say in France, under the careful eye of our middleman. (You would have been able to see the middleman only because our bowman had his head hung low ruing decisions made earlier in the heat of battle).
And that, intrepid readers, brings me on to the reason for turning to prose. Now I would dearly love to go into detail on how a tube might bend itself like a straw in a glass of coke, but my psychotherapist has advised me that it should be left to rest, and even going so far as to recommend motor-sport. So on that basis, and have taken up sailing as you don’t need the added cost of gas, it eventually leads to a request to borrow a spinnaker pole for a week or so whilst ours is in the tube hospital.
More than happy to provide recompense with beer, rum or mixed platter.
I also might take the opportunity to thank all for the welcome to the fleet and particularly for the encouragement, (or maybe it was continued harassment?), from Messrs Webster and Wills in getting us out there.
If anyone is reading this humming and hawing over whether to give it a go, Do It. We may be trailing at times but the smiles when we hit the dock say it all.
Results will be posted here (flight) and here (series).
Your usual correspondent was unable to sail last night. By all accounts the trial format with the RNZYS was a success and I look forward to hearing more feedback as we decide how to proceed. Please feel free to send me your thoughts / comments / suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
Long ago, while touring through Ireland with my parents, we stopped at a petrol station which still sported a single hand pump. Spreading the AA road map on the bonnet of the old Volvo, we asked the attendant how he thought it best to get to Dingle.
"Well", he began after a thoughtful pause. "I wouldn't start from here."
This type of retrospective insight is something of a speciality aboard Tortuga (779) where rapier-sharp, legally-trained minds prevail amongst what Martin Tasker might refer to as 'the brains trust', but which might more accurately be described as a bucket in which we keep out brains while we are not using them.
I haven't yet received a copy of the results from Anatole, so I am really just reminiscing at this point and will post the results in the usual place as soon as I get them, but read on if you like.
Having opted to start at the back (and, in the rabbit start, you do really get to pick your own starting position), Tortuga (779), with your correspondent at the helm - struck out to the unfavoured left hand side, propelled by a combination of petulance, despondency and irrepressible optimism. Pushed out further to the left than they might have preferred (thanks to Impulse (1077)), the crew of Tortuga (779) flopped back onto port to find itself leading the fleet into the putative 'orange mark' of which the pre-start Chinese whispers had told. But, as it transpired, not leading the fleet into another, clearly not orange, but actually really, really yellow mark way, way off to the right.
Tortuga's crew took this on chin like the champs I know they can (with considerable training, some therapy and, possibly, another skipper) be.
When, on lap 2, the collective achromatosia that had afflicted the the fleet on lap 1 (vis a vis orange/yellow) was overcome, Tortuga opted for an early bath and self-medication.
I apologise for adopting a more-than-usually subjective perspective in this report, but I was moved to report that, notwithstanding the results, the evening was, for your correspondent, every bit as fun / competitive / therapeutic as ever and is, as always, to be highly commended. If you are not already racing Etchells - you need to start now...
So, following last week's immensely successful Invitational, we invite one-and-all to get (and stay) involved for the remainder of this series (TWO TO GO!), not to mention the New Year's series - commencing 28th January, 2014).
What a Great Evening!
Congratulations to all of the many participants, organisers and volunteers - particularly the many novice crew and helms who gave even the most seasoned of Etchells salts a run for their money.
The results of the Invitational are posted here - but if were not at the front of the fleet don't worry, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future...
Photos by kind permission of Richard Gladwell (sail-world.com)
Join the Fleet!
Now that you have experienced first hand the excitement of close, one-design racing, you will doubtless be wondering how to get into the fleet. Happily, the Etchells is - by design - a exceptionally affordable boat and the Auckland summer programme is both civilised and cost-effective.
Boats seriously for sale are listed here and the various running costs are broken down here. If you have any other questions relating to ownership, please do not hesitate to contact Alex Webster (email@example.com), the relevant owner of the boat, or anyone else in the fleet - all will be delighted to assist.
If you think that you are not ready to buy a boat, first think again, because it really is an affordable option. However, if your interest lies in crewing, then the website and regular newsletters are your best bet for keeping up to date with what is happening in the fleet.
Again, please do contact Alex Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) or anyone else in the fleet if you are keen to get out on the water and are not sure where to start. All owners are in regular contact and often on the look-out for crew.
If you are not already on the mailing list, you can join up here.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.