Fleet Captain’s Report 2012
2012 has again seen a large number of entries in the handicap fleet racing but only a small number of competitors qualifying for series results. The results show all three major race series won by myself with Quentin Tupper in either 2nd or 3rd position. Ben Settle took 2nd position in the Summer points and 3rd in the trophy race – showing continued improvement.
Notably absent again from the main handicap results are any of the Sprint (Dart) 15 entries although I note that they g0t deserved places in the Marathon (1st – Ian & Neil Parkhurst, 2nd – John & Fraser Manning) and John also winning the Trophy race.
This year the number of entries and qualifiers for the autumn points series was reduced by the demolition of the clubhouse and preparatory work for the new build. However this is now well underway and I’m sure that this will prove to be a major asset for the future of our sailing club.
Obviously the results in the Yearbook don’t show the total numbers of entries for each of the series, only the top three qualifiers. There have been numerous competitors, who I hope have enjoyed the racing they have participated in over the past year. I hope to see you all on the water again next season. It’s not far away; don’t forget the racing starts on the first Sunday of March. I’ll be there, will you?
Come Racing; Go on give it a try
So you’ve completed your sail training, you now know your tilller from your mainsheet, a beat from a run; and you can successfully navigate a course set by your instructor. What next? Well, you can of course continue to attend the training sessions or perhaps, get out on the water independently and set yourself some achievable targets in terms of a course. This is a natural progression, but how long will it be before this simply ends up as reaching straight from one side of the lake to the other and back again? We’ve all done it. But then what? I would suggest that the next natural progression is to come along and join in the racing on a Sunday or Wednesday evening. I make the comparison between sailing and driving; the instruction you receive leads to gaining a qualification (the driving license or RYA certificate) but this is only an introduction, you only really start to learn once you get out there and try along with everybody else.
If you’ve ever (or never) considered taking part in the racing then this is the year to give it a go. The handicap fleet sailors will welcome you, no matter what your choice of dinghy. And if you’re in any doubt about any aspect of sailing, then I’m sure that any one of us will help or know somebody that can.
On the choice of dinghy, don’t feel that you have to have an expensive, race-tuned craft before you can start to race. We started racing only a few years ago, in our first Miracle which was purchased for a couple of hundred pounds. This served us well for three or four years and would still be with us if we hadn’t decided to move up into the Open circuit and National championships.
In handicap fleet racing it’s not simply the first dinghy to cross the finish line that’s the winner. There’s some mathematical calculations to be performed after the race has finished that ensures that every dinghy is handicapped accordingly, producing a “level playing field” (further details are included in the Race Officer’s Guidelines). So it’s possible, and it’s happened frequently, for a dinghy to be well down in the finishing order but come out first on the result sheet!
Most new racers choose to start their first few races at the back of the pack, slightly after the start signal (as we did only a few years ago). This allows you to observe what goes on “from a safe distance”. As the confidence grows so you can move yourself closer to, then in with the rest of the fleet – and then move out to the front!
Alternatively, if you would prefer to experience your first race(s) from the comfort of somebody else’s dinghy while they helm, that can usually be arranged – there’s often a shortage of crew for the two-handed dinghies. Just come down to the club on a racing day and have a chat either with myself or one of the other helms down there. Don’t forget to bring your gear though – you might be out on the water sooner than you think.
However you decide to go about it – Enjoy the Sailing!
Miracle 3794, Streaker 1581