Pre Season General Recall! (or half an inch makes all the difference)

In preparation for the Worlds later this year, the GP sailors in the club were seen taking to the water on Saturday 29th of March. The reason for this early start to the season? – Richard Estaugh visited the club to share with us some of his tuning tips and race tactics.

Richard picked a boat at random and proceeded to tell us all how to rig it properly. He told us about tensions and distances and angles and twists. We looked at the boat from the port side, the starboard side, the stern and the bow.

Unfortunately he then told us the fifteen things which the crew must do when rounding the windward mark. Half the audience sighed with the resignation that no matter what they do when they round the mark, it will never be right.

Then, with Richard’s help, we all rigged our own boats to perfection. Can’t blame the boat any more!

In the afternoon we took to the water for a number of one lap ‘sausage’ courses. Each race had a ‘3, 2, 1, go’ countdown after which Richard followed in the rescue boat shouting tips to us. ‘Too much kicker,’ (crew’s fault), ‘jib in a bit more,’ (crew’s fault) or my particular favourite ‘play the main a bit more!’ At last! It’s official! It’s not always the crew’s fault! Richard said so.

The general recall came when the wind lifted by about 20 degrees seven seconds before the start. Yes folks, you are sailing on Bass. Five boats full of enthusiastic sailors all headed for the best start they could only to discover it was the worst!

To round off the day, Richard gave some tips on gate starts. The general consensus was get two thirds of the way down what you think the line will be but no doubt the line will be different because the wind will change.

For those who did not make it, the main themes were: pay attention to detail – it’s that last half inch that makes all the difference; keep your head up when you go round a mark – don’t just follow everyone else; and remember helms, play that main up the windward leg! Everyone had a great time, learnt a lot and look out Abersoch – here comes the Bass squad!

Rhonwen Bryce