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Vane 36-R Training Day at Fleetwood Model Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson 15 Oct 2017 08:01 BST 14 October 2017
Vane 36-R training day at Fleetwood © Tony Wilson

John Plant had upgraded and was now the happy owner of the previously owned boat from Martin Pritchard. Tony was quick off the mark to ask and was now delighted that he could use John's back-up boat Taxachun N043. Would there be any outside competition or was Peter Whiteside going to take home the Booty yet again one month on?

Once again we had a wind from the South West. Maybe this was better if Tony could make sure the boat would crab along the nearside on his virgin Skipper experience along with a mate that was probably just as knowledgeable as himself.

On arrival to the car park there was only one other car, Eric Watkinson the race officer for the day. Where was everybody? It was nearly 10 o'clock. Suddenly arrives Peter Jackson, Bob Jolly and Ian Thompson, but that was it.

Eric explained that we needed at least three boats to be able to qualify for a race day and this was really supposed to be for the Dave Rose Trophy. Peter W. was in France, John P. had family matters and all we could really muster up was the 2 boats with 2 pairs of guys. We decided it was a great opportunity for a practice day as we are really all newbies.

John P. had prepared his old boat for Tony and it was perched there in the clubhouse all looking pretty, but it was dressed in 'A' rig. A look outside and it definitely wasn't light airs, so the 'B' suit was adorned.

Adjustment was made and Tony twiddled the two knurled wheels to about 30 degrees on the Vane and had first option and took windward. Remember this wasn't going to be serious and a great intro as you could make a fool out of yourself on a proper day.

The first leg and it looked like we could sail broken vane to tack up the lake as the wind was nearly straight down. Peter's boat was going much quicker and Tony seemed to be pinching too much but taking a more direct route. Peter won that leg and also the one back after the vane had been fixed and reversed.

The knurled wheels were tweaked out a couple of degrees and we were off again. Bob being Tony's mate poled off fine and Ian was poling for Peter J. The main sail was slipping a touch and constantly needed adjusting - something to see to in the Winter maintenance along with some serious line refurbishment to a tired vessel.

Tony won this third leg and after varying from 15 deg to 17 degrees on the run was able to also eventually win leg four, but only because Ian had got Peter disqualified for poling off the boat on the move. We told him he had just cost Peter the Championship to make him feel bad, but only joking aside.

The boats were being over-powered and really should have had the C rigs on by now as the wind had got up a touch and the waves were breaking at the bottom end and lapping over the walkway.

Two all and we decided for a couple more legs as it was still early. Tony let the sails out a touch and we were off again. Bits of knowledge were now starting to sink in. After a couple of pole-offs, Tony missed his chance to use the spring guy, but was probably behind anyway. Then on the last stretch moved the guy over to full stretch and it worked a treat.

Peter had won this leg and it would have given him 3 points in real money. He also won the last leg, and that would have given him the title.

A good day for a try out and no serious harm done. We had lunch and called it a day.

The next Vane sailing day is the last full weekend of October with the bigger Marbleheads, Vintage and Classic along with Modern if I've got it right, and could do with any help that's available if you're free to help poling off. Now these move along a bit quicker and, apart from the older boats, they are by no means old man's boats, you really need to be an Olympic athlete!