Club Prepares to “Push the boat out”

Posted on April 20, 2015 12:00 am

Club Prepares to “Push the boat out”

Picture: Pinky and Purkiss (with John)

On the radio last week I caught part of an interview with a yachtsman. He said one of his great pleasures at night was to switch off all the boat’s technology, that told him where he was to within two feet, and just marvel at being in a ‘bowl of stars’ from which he could navigate to within a couple of miles of anywhere.

A beautiful image that unfortunately has nothing to do with chucking yourself around a dinghy in the force 4-5 conditions of Sunday at Grassholme. The Beaufort scale measures conditions from 0 to 12. Generally speaking 5 is the sensible limit for dinghies but more important than windspeed are the gusts. Gusts are nasties that sneak up on novice or complacent sailors and give them a dunking. It’s not necessarily that the gust is a higher wind speed, it is more likely to be a shift of direction, which means all your carefully balanced trim is set up for air travelling 30 degrees off your uninvited visitors ideal course.

Early in the season people who do not normally sail together are trying new boats and still remembering which bit does what. Later in the year the choice of who moves first to counter-balance a gust becomes automatic. Now the effect of three guys moving sharply when heel starts, ends up with too much counterbalance, correction and counter-correction, making the mast appear to be giving a jolly wave to bemused watchers on shore, who were convinced our Bahia was hosting a maritime barn-dance.

Conditions meant there was no racing on Sunday although three novices from Durham School were afloat and coping well. I counted seven other boats from our rock & roll platform and only witnessed one capsize all day. Quite an achievement!

The Club’s first open day of the year is on May 10th. It is part of the RYA ‘Push the Boat Out’ scheme to get people afloat, so if you can see yourself in ‘a bowl of stars’ this could be the place to start. Come and meet our stars.

Chris Dauber