La Mer Germaine
La Mer Germaine - Paul Barclay, Dartmouth
On the Water
As I write, the forecasters are predicting a northerly shift in the much talked about jet stream; promising warm dry stable periods of weather, allowing us to use our boats as we dreamt of when purchasing!
Albeit a choice of sail or power, August is an exciting month for those lucky enough to be around or on the water. For those that aren’t, there’s often a spectacle to see from ashore.
In this issue, we turn our focus to the sailors amongst us. Cruisers will be preparing their vessels for local, Channel Island & Brittany adventures whilst the racers in our midst will be busy readying for regatta season.
If you are intending to sail the regattas, make sure your boat is well primed, a clean bottom and stiff sails are paramount. Most local yards, including Dartside Quay and Darthaven, are able to lift boats for a quick scrub. Local sailmakers such as Dart Sails will check over your sail wardrobe to ensure it’s up to the job.
Your vessel should also be structurally sound; have your keel bolts checked, think about your standing & running rigging & guard wires to name but a few things that can cause a big headache through failure.
Safety equipment also needs considering, are all your lifejackets on board and are they in service? Likewise with flares and communication equipment. Many of these items are stipulated under racing rules if heading offshore.
Whether you are sailing in a One-Design class or sailing to handicap, have you considered how to get the best from the vessel?
Weight is an easy way to take the advantage – go through the vessel and remove any item that will not be needed; empty the galley of unnecessary utensils, or do you need to carry that spare chain when racing! Another easy solution is to empty the water tanks - remember just 80 litres of water can be the equivalent to an extra person on board, often on the wrong side of the boat!
Once the vessel is ready to be raced, next get the crew prepared. Practise the tacks, gybes, spinnaker sets and drops until they run like clockwork. The manoeuvres should be written down, so each crew member instinctively knows their part to play and of course what to do if it does go wrong!
You may wish to practise starting sequences. Have one person calling time, another on the bow checking the start line transits. Also check the wind direction with the bearing to the windward mark and identify any bias on the line?
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We wish you fair winds and see you on the water!
First Published August 2012 By The Dart