Winterslaap, hibernation, winter sleep, season’s over for us...

So yesterday was the last day of our sailing season 2009. It was the last day of the Oktoberbokaal. This is a great concept. You enter for 4 races, each Sunday of October. Sailing is on the “Haringvliet”, a nice inland water, a 2 hours drive from our place.

So this means no waves, really no waves at all! For example yesterday we sailed in heavy wind, 5-6 BFT, but we were still very OK, because you really did not have to worry about the waves, since...., ...well because there were no waves! It was the first time we participated in the Oktoberbokaal, but it will probably not be the last time. Another team from our club also joined, so it was cool to sail with 2 Belgian boats amongst all the other Duchies.

A total of 46 boats entered, which was awesome! This way this event was good to practice our starts. We learned a lot during this month. And I think, no I am sure, that we have, up until now, never went this fast around the course. Yesterday especially was crazy! I yelled! I even asked Gill at one moment to go slower, hehe, with the spinnaker up, this was of course no option. But I had to say it, because wow man we were so fast!! We ended on a 10th place in that race, so that was exciting! The other races were not that good, so overall we ended 24th. We managed to get 3 good races in over this month, with a finish 10th, 12th and 9th. The other finishes are not to be mentioned. :-)

What did we learn?

1/ Our boat speed is very good. Especially when it’s blowing. As soon as we need to pull the cunningham we are fast. In lower winds we still struggle. This could be because we do not yet trim our boat’s spreaders and diamond rake. So I think we are trimmed for 4-5 BFT and anything under that we cannot get enough power. But this is something we can easily work on next season.

2/ Our starts can use some more training also. Finding the right spot, keeping the boat still and then learn to accelerate quick. This will not be easy but if we focus we are convinced we can train on this. An event like this, with 46 boats at the starting line, is great for learning and it is so cool to see the pro’s just staying still and then paf of they go, from 0 to full speed in seconds.

3/ Our manoeuvres, boat handling, can also improve some. Yesterday, I saw a top crew (Christa Van Helden) come in under spi, just walking in, over the cross bar and then one step and she’s ready to douse the spi. I, on the other hand, come in sliding with my ass on the tramp, on the side of the hull. And then I have to get on my knees and go forward and then I am ready to douse the spi. She is gaining minutes by her quick walk on board. This will be a fun thing to practice!! Maybe we can make a video report on me practicing this trick next season :-)

So what will the winter bring? Longing for March, the start of our new sailing season. Also some home refurbishing projects that did not progress during summer. And relaxing by the fire place, getting ready again, full of energy for next season!

Here are the full results of the event: Brothers Larsen came in 1st and second, congratulations!