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TUTOR WEEKEND 14 – 16th JUNE 2014
BY ALLAN ROSENBERG
NIKITA Pierre Myburgh
RAINE (*) Deon Mostert
SCAMPI Mark Cameron
FREYA Richard Angus
JASUKA Jasper vd Westhuizen (Cape 28)
CRUSOE Gordon Hewitt
NESSIE Gerald Ackhurst
SUZY Q Chris Vd Walt
GREYLAG (*) Allan Rosenberg
RUMOUR (*) Kevin Bennett
(*) = skipper attended - boat on the dry being repaired
3 other skippers/boats accepted the invitation but did not show.
Pictures from left to right: Tips and tricks, Essential rigging for furlers, Jacques, Ina and Jasper, Mike Cameron and family, Pierre Leonie and Cara Myburgh, Richard Angus, Allan warming up soup, Deon Mostert getting cosy, after party
The tutor weekend was an off -spring of the MASTERS that recently took place about a month ago. There was a constant pattern of front runners that continuously finished in the top 6 spots which left a few of us baffled as to their ability to always have the leading edge.
The Holiday 23 have class rules which should keep each boat as competitive as the next. We know the basic law of success is to have a light boat which simply means, the lighter you are laden, the faster you go. After bending some competitor's fingers, we learned that this is quite correct but there are a few other important factors that come into play.
So logical and simply embarrassing to even mention as this shows our ignorance to being labeled as skippers. (Or does it?) The more you know about sailing, the more you realize that there is so much that you don't know. This is what sparked off the idea of having a Tutor sailing weekend.
Coenie Thiart our chairman suggested that we call upon the "old foxes" of our class members association to get involved and hop onto other skippers boats and guide them by purely watching how they sail during racing conditions which is exactly what we did.
An invitation went out to our members offering the weekend's itinerary, and my immediate thoughts were to expect keen acceptance from a few of our newer members, some of which are first time boat owners. After just two days of the bulk post being sent out, we had a list of 12 boat entries and most were from sailors that didn't need tuition. Blue water sailors that just came for the ride, so to speak. Twenty people lined the edge of the marina overlooking the demo boat on which Peter Watts and Daniel Coetzee went through the motions of a very informative lesson on sailing tips and tweaks that are only learned with years of sailing experience. A very interesting 40 minutes.
The wind was starting to build and by the time we hit the starting line, it was gusting at 20 knots. I thought to myself that this was the perfect situation to have experienced tutors on some of the less experienced skipper's boats. It was a mixed start with some less experienced skippers holding front positions and some of the boats with tutors onboard were not as quick off the line.
Eight boats with equal opportunity headed towards Big Bend and through the course, the gap between boats were relatively spaced and holding position at an average of 6 knots. A few crafty tacks saw a change in position but the leading boat was well ahead of the pack. The reflection of the sun was directly ahead and only showed a silhouette of the leading boat and my guess would have been a boat with a tutor on it or one of the "old foxes".
How wrong I was and to my delight, it was Gerald Ackhurst and his wife on NESSIE with Deon Mostert who hitched a ride as his own boat RAINE was on the dry for repairs. Gerald had joined the elite few of being a race leader and very well deserved. He piped the old boys at their own game. This was a typical example of three sailors sharing all they know and putting it into practice and taking first spot. Well done Gerald.
Sunday morning, we all met at the clubhouse for an excellent Bayshore breakfast and today would be a long distance sail. The skippers briefing gave instructions to sail from Bayshore, anti clockwise, around the island and on towards the marker at LDYC (lake Deneysville yacht club) and back to the start. Windfinder showed very strong winds for the day and my suggestion to a couple of the boys was to reef before the start which is exactly what we did.
The start saw Gerald Ackhurst on NESSIE and Pierre Myburgh on NIKITA pull away with full sails up but was quite curious to see what would happen once we passed the sheltered side of the island and headed towards LDYC with a long distance close reach. We took a chance and tacked close around the island and had depth readings of 1.4 meters at the shallowest area while the others went a bit further out which is also a wise tactical move as they gave themselves more space and didn't have to point as high as us. I was crewing for Richard Angus on FREYA. We furled in the genoa to a storm jib and with the first reef in the mainsail, we were still over powered and had to spill plenty wind. We had our windows in the water many times and averaged 6 knots in one of the most volatile races I have experienced on the Vaaldam. Only the self proclaimed hard hardheadedness of Richard Angus saw us win the race with Pierre Myburgh on NIKITA fighting the elements to the bitter end.
Jasper vd Westhuizen took things in his stride on his Cape 28 JASUKA as the boat only wakes up in 15 - 30 knots of wind. The rest of the fleet made correct decisions to abandon the race at various stages having young kids onboard and others with water logged disgruntled wives.
Back at the club house, there were many enthusiastic battle stories Being exchanged. Yachties are a rare breed of animal, fighting the elements of freezing temperatures and ferocious winds to breaking point, yet they still come back for more. That's how we do it.
The next big one to look forward to is the "Top Of The Mountain" jawl at MYC (Mountain Yacht Club) Ebenezer Dam - the long weekend in September 22nd to 25th.
Let's get a convoy of 6-7 Vaalies together and go show the Ebenezer boys how its done.
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