Last weekend I took a break away from boatbuilding to attend the Russel Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta, along with the junks Zebedee, Tystie, Blondie, Arcadian and Freebie.
I am also going to take a break from blogging about building a boat to blogging about sailing one. In truth, I just want to post a load of pretty pictures!
We couldn't have had a better day for the race, although at first the wind was so light we thought it might be a bit of a disaster. However, it filled in at about F3/4 and we had a great sail. A couple of months ago - it's a long story and I won't go into the details - Alan made a new rudder for Zebedee and it has completely transformed his sailing. Alan took the tiller at the start line, but then handed it over to me, having a fond conviction that I can take his boat better to windward than he can. Regardless, I certainly took Zebedee to windward better than I have ever done before. He pointed right up, while still making reasonable boat speed and before long we realised that we were actually overtaking pointy-rig boats - bigger pointy rig boats at that - to windward. Those who sail junk rig will understand just how gratifying this was: one gets so tired of being told that junks don't sail to windward!
We fair galloped round the course and had some wonderful tacking duals and personal races with several boats, all of which added to the pleasure. The finish line was breathtakingly exciting as we sped along neck-and-neck with the incredibly fast gaff-rigged yawl, Shanty, beating him by a matter of feet.
At the prizegiving, Alan and Zebedee were awarded a very well-deserved second place. However, the next day, our friend, Gary, noticed that the comparative times showed us 57 seconds behind Shanty, whereas in fact we were 3 seconds ahead. When this was pointed out to the Race Committee, it became apparent that someone had done their sums wrong - hardly surprising in the rush to get the results sorted - and the final result is that Zebedee won the Tall Ships Race by 28 seconds on handicap.
Poor old Zebedee's handicap will take a hammering now, so I'll quit while I'm ahead and let someone else steer him next year! Who knows, I might even be at the helm of my own boat, but far more likely is that I'll be on another friend's junk and maybe enjoy the whole spectacle instead of concentrating on getting the best out of the boat for four and a half hours!!
So here we are: lovely photos from a heap of people. I hope I have all the picture credits correct.
Alan was also showing the non-junkies the ropes. Literally. (Colin Courtney)
Colin and Gordon each assigned a sheet to pull in or let out as ordered! - Maren Prince.
Even among western junks there is a great variation in the rigs. - Roger Scott.
She is lost among the bigger boats, but holds her own. - RS
I think the gaffer may be Undine, but am not sure. - RS
Arcadian with Zebedee in the background - RS