There have been eight races in the GFS Twilight spring series to date, in thee of them we have been 2nd across the line and 2nd on handicap on three occasions. Last evening we were 3rd across the line and 3rd on handicap, in half the race thus far our result on scratch has been matched by our result on handicap. It could have been better, we just might have achieved another 2 and 2 if I had not made the simplest of mistakes, read on.
Some time ago Michael Groves from Agrovation criticized my starting technique in that I tended to stay too far away from the line, he quite rightly pointed out that on many occasions I was missing the start by some time, minutes in some instances by being too far from the line and being hindered by other boats or suffering at the hand of an unfriendly wind change. This season I have decided to be quite aggressive on the line, the results have been quite enlightening. We have won the start on a number of occasions (To quote an old friend and knowledgeable yachts racer when asked what’s the best thing to do to get a good result” He said “Get a good start”) but have been OCS on a couple, it is interesting to reflect on those two occasions that the time we lost exonerating ourselves was probably less that what we would have lost in missing the start by being less aggressive.
We won the start again last evening and were only beaten out of Humbug by Agrovation. and were caught by Words Apart before we got to Goat Island, pleasingly we were moving ahead of the rest of the fleet, except for Izzi that just seemed to be stalking us and we could not shake him off until Greenwich Point. The all girl crew, Danni, Joely and Ann did a fantastic job but I had this nagging feeling that although we were sailing the boat really well it seemed that we just could not achieve target speeds.
After finishing I leant down to start the Volvo and noticed that the throttle lever was in the neutral position. I had forgotten to fold the prop, this explained our lack of top speed and some of the unexplained noises and vibrations I could hear and feel for much of the race but did not consider worth thinking about. I’m not too sure how much speed we would loose without the prop folded but some people said it could be as much a half a knot, if that is the case we could have achieved our fourth 2nd on both handicap and scratch. To Michael Groves credit last evening was the third time this season that he has achieved 1st on both handicap and scratch.