Wednesday, 31 August 2005

Fun and games in Burnham

Managed to escape from Work at a sensible time Tuesday afternoon, and was down at Burnham by 18h30..... I hadn't actually met Jim before, but after a couple of years of swapping messages with him, it was another of those strange ybw led meetings, where you feel that you already half know the person! As per the image I had built up, Jim, and his partner Lynne were incredibly welcoming, and as I walked up the pontoon to which they were tied, Jim was lighting the barbeque, and handing me a beer! We had a very pleasant meal, introductions all round to the various crew, and we departed for a tour of the various establishments offering Burnham Week hospitality.... several (ahem) drinks later, we retired back to the boat for a night cap and bed... On the subject of the boat, Jim has a lovely new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey, with a lifting keel... and very nice it is too.... Jim has obviously lavished much time and hard earned cash on it, and she's really looking the part. I awoke early, and took the chance, while the others still slept to take a walk along the Burnham harbour front.... There was an early morning mist, and with the sun just having poked its head over the horizon, it was glorious. I returned to the boat to find signs of life, and coffee was consumed in suitable quantities... We set about getting the boat ready (we'll actually, we wasted a load of time just chatting as the boat was already ready!) as we had a nice civilised start time of 10h50, and the start was at Burnham Sailing Club, just a very short distance up the river. While we waited, we watched the various bits of race kit disappear down the river towards open water.... About 10h00, Lynne served up an excellent breakfast... the full works... just what you need for a good days racing! At about 10h20, we slipped, and set of along the river.... then followed the start sequence... nothing too dramatic... it was a cruiser/family class we were entered in after all, and then the gun, and we were off..... The wind wasn't overly obliging, just giving us a measly 5 to 6 kts, fortunately we were with the tide, but even so the first beat was a slow and tactical affair, with various amounts of mooring dodging, and tactical decisions to sit in deep or shallow water.... We rounded the first mark last on the water, but that was expected given the handicap, and so it didn't look too bad... we were quite close to two other boats, a Dehler34 and a pretty little Hunter Horizon.... The wind did gradually fill as we wound our way around a complex course, finally ending with 15kts as we completed the last beat, and crossed the line...3 hours after the start... Throughout we had been gradually getting better at the tacking routine, and also had spent quite a bit of time tuning up the sails, and squeezed quite a bit more speed out of her... We stopped for lunch, by grabbing Jims mooring buoy, and Lynne produced pre-prepared sandwiches from below.... Yum! It was a short lunch break, as the first race had taken quite a while, so we sere soon away again.... This time, we had a better start, and tacked off the line.... just 300 yards up the first leg, and Jim yells, "DUMP THE MAIN".... we are on port tack, and a starboard tacker is on a collision course... no one is near the main sheet, so it takes a second or two...Jim is struggling to bear away with the sails pinned in, but eventually she goes... straight onto the top of a mooring buoy, which promptly tangles itself around the rudder... bugger... we promptly dropped all the sails, following the rules, retire, and managed to disentangle ourselves without too much trouble.... When Jim first called for the main to be dumped, I was over the winch by the cockpit, and in my mad scramble to dump the main, managed to smack my shin on the toe rail..... ouch.... a small puncture type cut.... nothing serious, but bleeding profusely.... Lynne immediately went into Nurse mode, and I was treated to first class NHS style treatement! We motored back to the mooring, and tidied up a bit, then made our way over to Royal Corinthians for a quick drink.... sitting on the balcony, in the sun, watching the remainder of the days proceedings.... it had been seriously hot all day, probably reaching nearly 30 degrees, and this was the perfect end to an excellent day.... I set off home at about 16h30, and was home by 19h30 after a bit of a traffic jam.... Still, a great day sail... Jim and Lynne are very good company, and two nicer people would be hard to find and I enjoyed it all enormously... so all thats left to say is "thanks Lynne and Jim"... much appreciated...

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