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One of our members Angus Beyts writes about a recent event he attended in his National 12. Read on…..

A Day to Remember.

Angus Beyts

I am not sure if this should be included in a National 12 newsletter as it doesn’t mention National 12s after the first paragraph but if it gets your hackles up you should have written an article and then this wouldn’t have appeared, and if you did write an article you have the right to feel smug and think how much longer this story would have been without this article.

It was the weekend the clocks went back because we had an extra hour in bed (that’s right isn’t it?). it always takes me about a week to get back on track after the clocks change so I probably shouldn’t have gone sailing at all. I made the precaution of resetting all the clocks in the house but somehow managed to miss the one that sits above the computer and I never bother with the one in the car because it always comes magically right in about 6 months! I also packed my sailing stuff in the car the night before because even with the extra hour it was an early start (apparently tides don’t change with the clocks!).

With all my preparation I had plenty of time to spare in the morning, so I settled down to do some work on the computer, but after a while I looked up ‘Oh my ……!.’ I had misjudged it somehow, I only had 45 minutes to the start of the race (It’s a 30-minute drive to my club). I ran out of the house, then ran back in to put on some shoes and grab the car keys.

After a manic drive to the sailing club, I had about 15 minutes to rig the boat and get my drysuit on, “Just about possible”, I thought, except there was nobody there!? Yes, you’ve realised it, I had looked at the only clock in the house that I hadn’t reset, which of course the clock in the car supported. To rub it in a bit further, the sailing committee didn’t seem to understand the effect that moving the clock had on the tides and the start of the race had to be delayed by a good 30 minutes until there was enough water. However I get ahead of myself.

My memorable day was only just starting: while rigging I stuck my hand into one of the halyard bags (why a single hander should have two halyard bags I don’t know). A stinging pain speared into my figure and shot straight up my arm. I can’t remember exactly what I shouted but it is immaterial as it would not be printable here. I pulled out my hand to find a Queen wasp attached to my index finger. It had obviously thought a halyard bag was an ideal place to hibernate, something I did not agree with and it probably had second thoughts on as I doubt it survived the encounter. My finger continued to throb for several days afterwards.

It was about this time I decided to put a new burgee on my mast. I had given up using a burgee last summer as I was going through so many. I was finding ever newer ways to capsize and at Newburgh you have to be a lot quicker than I am now to capsize a streaker without turtleing it, but I hadn’t capsized once this year.

With the boat rigged and I had clambered into my drysuit, there was nothing to do while we waited for the tide to come in. At one stage I had forgotten I had perched my sunnies on top of my head. I took my hat off and my sunnies flew off and landing on concrete smashed. I had done this many times before and obviously they had enough of such treatment and weren’t taking any more.

Eventually I made it on the water and was lining up for the start. Since leaving my sailing watch at Trent SC, I use an analogue watch and just note where the second had is at the 5 minute and sail around to the 1 minute and then start watching it. The great problem with this I now discovered is if you somehow miss the 1 minute you end up sailing in the wrong direction when the start goes. At most clubs you would probably realise pretty quickly that the start had gone, but at Newburgh so many people are line-shy it’s not so obvious. However despite sailing in the wrong direction for several minutes’ things weren’t too bad and I was 2nd or 3rd round the windward mark. As I was bearing off onto the run, I decided to hold off gybing immediately to try and keep out of the main tide. About halfway down the run I eventually decided to gybe, but by this time it was quite windy. As I gybed the wind completely disappeared and I went straight in to windward. As I swam round, the boat got well tangled in the mainsheet and when I got round the other side I found the dagger board had gone. Surprisingly I found the boat easier to right without the daggerboard in the way. I just planted my feet on the bottom and lent right back on the righting lines (they’re like me, thick, so they don’t cut into my hands)

Just as I clambered back into the boat the rescue boat turned up with the errant daggerboard, so having accepted outside assistance I had no choice to retire. I can assure you I had had enough for one day and was quite happy to head for the shore, besides I was feeling a bit cold.

Back ashore I quickly put the boat away and by this time I was decidedly cold and starting to shiver (a good sign apparently it means you’re not dead). I took off my drysuit to find the reason for my shivering: it had leaked and from the waist down I was soaked. I had come in my sailing clothes so didn’t have anything to change into. Fortunately I found an old pair of trunks in my sailing bag and my chainsaw trousers were in the boot, so recovery wasn’t far away.

Oh yes, and the burgee didn’t survive its encounter with the bottom.