Ladies who Launch Blog
LWL Sail in the Sunshine 04 Nov 2022
A morning worth waiting for.....Seven ladies requested of Greg a "Sail in the Sunshine".....then there were eighth of us! And it was one of those challenging mornings with an increasing wind strength making higher waves and bringing gusts we hadn't revised! One of those sessions where one has to tell oneself: "You CAN do this".
In the briefing Greg reminded us of his familiar acronym and mantra:
Can This Boat Sail Faster?
- Course made good
- Sail Settings
And we studied these heading in relation to going up wind, on port (with the sun on our backs) between the buoys to the west. A couple of activities ensued at the first few buoys like circleling and finding tennis balls in the water. This skill was almost impossible due to that wonderful but glaring sunshine on the water and the reluctance to get our hands wet! Yours truly added a capsize into the wavy mix when, on returning a ball to the rib, I tried to throw it in rather than hand it in! In consequence I definitely recommend dry suits from now on. The broad reach sail back towards the club was a delight, on starboard and again in full sun. Well planned Greg.
As the water level is still very low the advice is to use the slips for both launching and landing. The alternative risks getting at least knee deep in mud. So, whilst wallowing like a hippo can be fun, it does make towing a boat at the same time rather hard work. To compensate, the showers were lovely and hot, the lunch was very tasty and Greg's debrief was very complimentary. WINter sailing can be WIN, WIN , WIN after all.
LWL in Pink 23 September 2022
My regular readers will know that I like a theme, and today eight ladies had a special purpose, as well as improving their sailing.
Following in the wake of Laser 1 called "Tickled Pink" (aptly named as it won all the races!) we wore something pink, partly to be seen if we ended up in the brink, but mainly to promote Organ Donor week. Not that we want to donate any, or even give up our previous time on the water,but just to increase awareness. See photo below. Thanks Nikki for the idea.
Greg, the sailing instructor, had given us a thorough explanation of race starts and the best tactics. So, we simply (ha, ha) had to follow the instructions and start races. As the pin end kept moving, and the wind was, as always, changeable, this altered the bias, the transit lines and our positions. Nonetheless we were all tickled pink with our successes, pink faced with our failures and rosy cheeked when we came off the water.
Speaking of which, currently the water level is very low, the weed level is very high, the slips are very long, and there is a good chance that sailors' boots sink in the mud. This all adds to the excitement and the challenge, but when it is sunny there is no better place to be, (and the mud washes off!). All peachy pink fun.
LWL 02 September 2022: September Sailing hits the big Screen
Not Ocean's 12 but WaterBabes 12 hit the water this morning for another "steal" of the warm, wet stuff! And afterwards we were reeling (excuse the pun) from so many (at)tacks on the whistle.
Greg masterminded the session in the secrecy of the old chandlery, where the blinds were down and the plan was hatched between the ladies. Ten single handers and one double hander (on lookout duty) were duly mobilised to meet at IDM (Independent Database for Movies) and then go to CS (the Casino Safe) in pursuit of fortune, so favoured by the brave.
Following boss Greg, tacking on the signal and gybing (or circling !) back certainly kept us on full alert and prepared us well for the scale of the operation, and the race that ensued. The destination was suddenly switched to 19 (code for a second heist) when the wind changed, and then our tasks had to gain speed and skill. It was a rock 'n roll experience and we succeeded in our mission.
Fortunately our movements went unnoticed by the (C) IAs on the shore and we got away, no murder and capsize free. Film critics might disagree but we do deserve to be in the credits!
Autographs always available.
LWL Friday 19 August 2022: Making Waves in Family Week
In the water, now cooler, and in the wind, now stronger, seven sailing sisters certainly made waves in front of the kids! With Greg to guide them and gybing being the job this morning, they braved the busy shoreline and then sailed to the open water at the end of the peninsula to claim their patch.
Greg had explained that successful gybes, on a broad reach, had to be initiated well before the leeward mark, after which the dagger board can come down, controls adjusted and then, once round the mark, the kicker put back on. All looked so straight forward on the whiteboard but once out on the water the gusty wind and the high waves often complicated the manoeuvre. Sometimes the mark was missed or another gybe needed to get round it, but everyone safely practised their gybes many times in different places to avoid anyone losing their head! There were a few spins, just one capsize and lots and lots of guts, (especially from the new girls), demonstrated in the efforts to succeed.
As always this sailing malarkey makes for much hunger and even more chat over lunch afterwards. Thanks Greg for finding the time to take LWL today. Furthermore everyone deserves a pat on the back for sailing so well and riding those waves....watch out kids, women on the water every week!
LWL Friday 12 August 2022: The Glorious Twelfth
Ladies, does the start of the Grouse Season mean we are allowed to air our grievances freely?
Well this morning we really had nothing to complain about, or perhaps Wendy did (see later), as it was definitely a glorious day for a summer sail.
Imagine though a brood of 10 baby grouse*, minded by instructor Archie, trying to navigate the course or route but often spreading out in all directions to get to the same place. Baby grouse are called chicks (flattering) or poults (new word for me, similar to pout, which we can all do!) or squealers (well, we know who that is as she screams downwind to win the race!) or cheepers (the rest of us chatting as we follow her).
Regardless of what we call ourselves we all enjoyed the session focussing on the tell tails on our sails. not the plumage on our rears. And we sailed a good distance upwind towards the dam before returning on a smooth and fast downwind course.
Only poor Wendy has cause to grouse in the other sense,as she had to beach in order to repair her boom so lost a lot of sailing time. And when the weather is this wonderful, the wind is just perfect and the water so warm we sympathise. This heatwave makes being out on the water with the geese, the goslings, the swans, the cygnets and the breeze THE PLACE TO BE. Not to mention the 10 (young and old) grouse!
Thanks Archie for a very good session and to my sailing sisters who I hope are not offended.
LWL Friday 15 October: XI (11) Ladies Leap into Action
No, not Extra Large ladies... in fact most of us are on the small side regarding optimal weight needed in our dinghies... but we now LOOK larger with our extra autumn layers AND we ARE larger than life when it comes to getting the most out of our sailing (and annoying Ben in the process)
Today, to 11 ladies, Ben expounded his 3 point philosophy for success in sailing:
- Full concentration and confidence that we can
- Full understanding of wind
- Full understanding of our boats
Then practice, practice, practice.....
So, out on the water and with the sun in our eyes, we sailed up and down the sausage with those points in mind, trying not to think about shopping for dinner on the way home or......., trying to find the best wind and trying to remember those 5 Essentials (Sails, Balance,Trim, Daggerboard and Course made good).
Then, with Race Starts the focus, we experienced different orientations of the start line and various close shaves as we fought for space before the whistle each time. Lots of quietly competitive races and lots of winners.....we never have losers!
And how time flies when you are fully focused....thanks Ben for your wise words.
Lunch on the sunny balcony is a treat to savour while the weather holds, so, whatever else you do in the week, and whatever size you are! try to keep Friday mornings free for the fun we share. Remember, if you don't use it, you lose it......never more true than at RSC.
Women Wage War against Weed, Weather and Wind (or lack of it).... !
Well, there was the weed to wade through to get out onto the water properly. Then there was the weather as it "wained and wained" as Jonathan Ross would say, and soaked us all. And thirdly there was the wind which weak and, and dare I say, weedy most of the time.
Yet, 14 wonderful women, with hearts and minds full of hope, battled on and eventually won races (or crept across the finish line), while chatting between boats, having some "Playtime" and even a capsize to remember.
Ben's briefing focused upon finding the best course to sail between the marks. This, he said, could be achieved by making changes to sail setting, controls, balance, trim etc but just one change at a time. Hurrah.....only one thing to remember at a time perhaps....?
The trouble is recalling the changes that didn't work the next time round the same course.... personally I need a spreadsheet for this sort of modelling and this "aint goin to 'appen" Ben.
So the best focus seems to be improving tacks and gybes in an effort to keep up, singing a song when the wind picks up and humming tunelessly when it drops.
Actually, just remembered BEN'S BIG TIP:
If you can see the mark you want to get to, point your bow towards it.
If the boom swings to starboard (right) travel in that direction; if the boom swings to port (left) then travel in that direction....I think I've got that right.....
If you can't see the mark then you've got to find it first!
Lunch is always worth staying behind for, whether or not you have remembered to bring something to share. Today, on the balcony (see photo), there was plenty of food and conversation to go round.
Yes, the water is still warm, the LWL mornings are good fun (little experience needed!) and everyone is friendly (unless you cross the start line on port!) so do join us.
JASON AND THE ARGO...NAUTS
Today Jason set sail with his company of heroines: 2 in the dinghy ARGO, named after the largest boat ever built in Greek mythology, 6 in a grand procession of white LASERS and 1 in a beautiful blue Fusion.
Their quest was not The Golden Fleece, (the fleece of the ram that became the constellation Aries (that's my sign!) in order to win back a kingdom, but to find expression and freedom afloat.
Their journey proved challenging. They met the Horrible Harpies who lured the boats into patches of total calm, then the Wind Wizards who whipped the breeze into the waves and sent them flying round and round in triangles.
Most of the time Jason led his fleet heroically, until the enchantress Medea/Michelle took control and determined that the Church was a desirable target in a wind shadow! (No, Jason did not marry Medea there).
Was the mission successful? I'll say.
Everyone returned safely with smiles of satisfaction. We don't need fleeces just yet anyway, just very tasty shared lunches that have now resumed.
Well done Jason, who lives to experience more tales on the water.
Friday 16th July
Midsummer Madness? Sun Stroke? Day Dream?
Fourteen fairies in the care of King UberBen? What could possibly happen next?
Surely we were mad: 25 degrees and no wind to go sailing at RSC*?
Well, we did as Ben instructed and launched with our arms/wings wide open then crept very slowly towards the meeting mark. Don't stop! Ben shouted, afraid that we might all go to sleep in our dinghies and turn into elephants! These fairies were roasting alive.
Eventually, as if by magic, a breath of wind rippled in and we started to move.
Another wave of a wand and a good breeze kicked in to assist us round the divine triangle.
These fourteen fairies were transformed into COOL QUEENS, able to out sail their KING who was just making waves in his rib. One such fairy queen, with Titanium (sic) in her leg and hip was certainly able to hike out, stretch and fly.
Two races, each with two laps, were won by the most deserving / the bigger sails/wings!
Then, as unexpectedly as it arrived, the wind dropped, the dream sail came to an end (like all good stories) and we rubbed our eyes free of sleepy dust / tiny black flies, as we said goodbye to our earthly vessels and flew away home.
* Not The Royal Shakespeare Company, in case you are not sure.
PS There may not have been applause but we patted ourselves on our pretty backs that we performed.
See you next time for another adventure.
Friday 11th June
Today saw our session about as varied as the wind today!
It blew anywhere from 12 to 24 from various different directions!!!
Some of our Ladies are bravely taking part in the Team Racing tomorrow and so today's session reflected some training for the 2 hander teams of 2 boats heading out in 2 Fireflies, then there was the usual laser ladies and Berni and myself in the Argo which ticked two firsts for us. First sail together and first time in the Argo.
Jason (and I need to add a huge apology for calling him Alistair in my blog last week) supervised/tested our sailing skills today with a sausage course from IDM to CS. The fireflies practiced for their race tomorrow and the rest of us tried to keep up!
The wind was a challenge for me to read because when it was gusty you knew exactly where it was but when it dropped it left me floundering until it picked up seemingly from a completely different direction.
After an hour and a half we were joined by the youth who were learning their RIB skills and we their guinea pigs. They did a terrific job of boosting our morale and helping us to sail better with tips and advice. They set up a mini race course as they practiced their teaching skills on us.
Both Berni and I had set off for today's session with an underlying feeling of not sure we were up for today's sail but in teaming up impulsively we supported each other and ended the session upright and with a sence of achievement! Only thrills and no spills! At the brief we were told by the young aspiring Instructors that 'we were amazing for a first time in an Argo' but I think we can all walk away with that comment, succinctly put:'We were all amazing!'
Join us soon. Water and weather are warm!
Last updated 15:54 on 7 November 2022