The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Waiting for Nails

Monday and I should be tacking the sides on to the gun punt (posts passim), but the gripfast nails are somewhere en route from Anglia Stainless to our humble croft house, deep in the Highlands, and without them there's to be no nailing. Weather's ghastly, which seems to be the usual up here these days, although yesterday was a rare exeption: gentle breeze, warm and a Sunday too, so we had the full fleet of Flying Fifteens on the water, racing.

We maybe should have called the race the Prince Philip 90th anniversary Cup. The class has certainly come a long way since Uffa Fox and the prince sailed Coweslip together, and there's a world of difference in the boats. The newest boats have managed to squeeze an extra 2ft on to the waterline, which makes them plane earlier and faster than the older ones which have more rocker (though less wetted surface). Much better balance too.

Copyright Beken of Cowes (I imagine)

As expected the newest, an Ovington IX, proved faster than the older boats by a long chalk, although my Trenoweth (2796) managed to win the first race by a combination of skill, brilliance, guile, determination (and a timely wardrobe malfunction in the opposition, which I suspect was simply an excuse). Not so the second race which suggests that Ffly's victory will be the first and last.

Which is a pity, because the fun of racing is surely to have boats that are more or less equal. There's little fun in being a lap ahead of the fleet with no one to play with, and the none of the satisfaction of knowing you beat your fellow competitor using similar equipment. This is like a fight between a sabre and an AK47. But, I have to say, it's great for me to have a boat against which I can pit my wits, and, if luck plays a part, win from time to time. We'll see...

Meanwhile the rain falls, and  the sheep mooch about disconsolately. It's clippimg, or shearing time, so this weather is not much good. Tomorrow the sun will shine, and I have a day on the river planned, so something to look forward to. After the excitement of London, The Connaught and the Balvenie Awards, it's back to reality, I suppose. At least there's work in the offing.

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