|THE HENLEY WHALERS -SIX RACES IN SWEDEN 10-16 August 2003
Crew: George, Julia, Nee Olsen, Emily, Paul W, Carson.
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Pre-event material, maps etc <. .< Race 1 .< Race 2 .To Race 4&5 >. To Interlude & Finale > - Other pictures.
Race 3, 12 August:
Tjaro-Karon; a long course with an offshore leg towards the end.
Wind nothing to very light at the start, rising to SW force 3-4 later:
Start: S from Tjaro harbour, back West to the little island of Mjoo, the E along the Archipelago again.
|Skipper is discontent before the start: excellent rowing weather, and fairly confident his crew can out-row any competition, as they've done before in Scotland. But there's a new convention in this fleet: rowing is only for little boats! This means Molly's speed under oar isn't going to influence the results: she has to win under sail alone. Well: it's a challenge…
So the small boats line up on the start with oars at the ready, and sprint away on the gun: the stately whalers and pilot boats and navy boats ghost gently after them under limp canvas for half an hour.
At least Wolfgang and Onno and the Basques are laying a trail in the water towards the westward turning point; but Cybellule is by far the best of the big boats in these conditions. We just aren't fast in stays in light airs, and lose ground at every tack.
The light blue boat once again establishes a 1000 metre lead over the rest of us until the wind begins to fill, as Jochen-the-game-maker knew it would: then we begin to pick up speed, set course for the East on a beam reach in a good force 4, and watch the speed rise from 5 to 6 to 7-71/2 knots: we overtake the Basques still rowing, sight Wolfgang ahead, and ease past First of May without really trying. Molly doesn't seem to have a top speed in these conditions, or we haven't found it (the second, of course!).
|It's great fun sailing, less fun racing to win, because we can't afford to give the blue boat 1000 metres in any race less than a marathon. The gap goes down to 200 metres quite quickly, but stays there as the Eastward drag comes to an end, and the crew reef smoothly behind St Ekon island to be ready for the southbound, windward slog to Gastafen lighthouse.
We do well in this manoeuvre, and come onto the wind in a steep sea and dramatic sky only a tack behind the leader. They have rolled their jib away as their reefing measure, and are making quite heavy weather of the waves. We tack on tack for 40 minutes toward the rock, two boats from entirely different traditions going at virtually the same speed, and we realise that a win is possible. But skipper puts in one too many tacks as we reach the lighthouse on its rock, the disadvantage in stays loses 50 metres; and then by crew consent we avoid the gybe again, offshore and in very lumpy seas, and complete what the Swedes call a 'cow turn' through the wind, and lose another 50. Blast! We have a wonderful surf back to land, gain a yard or two on a boat that's surfing too, and come in behind by under 100 metres - 2nd again! However, we're still class leaders because of the blue boat's 8th in the first race, and anyway we've had a great sail.
A delightful night in Karon, which is as metropolitan as these islands get, with the big town of Ronneby next door, and large houses on the commanding heights. Swimming before supper, dining in the communal restaurant after picking up the Land-Rover with Eric, and retrieving mislaid items like the chart and our tent!
Molly still going west, earlier in the day!
Pre-event material, maps etc <. .<
Race 1 .<
Race 2 .To
Race 4&5 >. To
Interlude & Finale > - Other pictures.
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