Out in anger – well, sort of.

[singlepic id=40 w=320 h=240 float=right]I guess I am pre-empting Chris here in his next blog, but then I guess I have some rights to post up a bit about his day on the boss-stick given my role in the story below.

My intent was only to head down and grab a few pics of the skiffs on the shore, then take some footage as they left the harbour.  This plan started nicely, grabbing some pics of the two skiffs, Queenslander, our older boat, and the “new second-hand” skiff on charter from the League in Sydney.  This boat is being sailed by former 18ft Skiff Grand Prix skipper, David Witt.  If you’re an avid follower of 18ft skiff sailing, or the cricket, you may remember the Grand Prix being shown during the lunch breaks in the test matches, and in particular the attached YouTube is absolutely legendary.

So David has some experience in steering these things!  (also guess it was a matter of time before I posted this up!)

My plan was going swimmingly – rigging photos, check.  Candid crew shots – check.  Shots of boats going in water – check.  Jumping in to rescue skiff caught on moored boat – wait a minute!  From the plan going swimmingly, I was suddenly swimming across a marina to help the lads on Queenslander.  The Grant-West rescue boat was recalled from the course and helped tow us back to the ramp, where I stayed ashore and wondered how I was going to drive home and not get salt water all over the car seat.

After getting home and reviewing the shots taken of Dave leaving the harbour, one thing is pretty clear – you can’t pussyfoot about in a winged 18.  Actually, Chris probably forgot one of the first rules layed down by Big Darryl from the first blog post:

If you don’t tack fast enough, you’ll end up in the drink

Tacking out of Manly Harbour

Tacking out of Manly Harbour... how it should be done.

I see two things behind this – firstly, with a “self tacking” headsail it’s hard to back it easily… the jib sheets just control the amount the jib is sheeted in or out, not what side it goes to, a luxury that you can get out of some bother if needed in a Classic.  Secondly, the foils are smaller than those on a Classic, meaning you need speed for the rudder to work, otherwise it just cavitates and slows you down more!  The case in point is David’s departure pics show them sailing two-string and significantly more powered up than Chris.

Full credit to Chris and crew, they got back on board and sailed out of the harbour without further assistance (though the crew numbers swelled to 4 with Mike Glancy ending up sticking on board after assisting with the tow in), despite a few hairy moments reverse parking in tacks.

Not sure how things ended up after this as I went home to dry out!