Becky Scott: Final Preparations

Becky Scott: Final Preparations

Wednesday April 18 2012 Author: beckyscott Location: United Kingdom

So we are half way through April no idea how that happened! Only three more weeks till the first race of the season – UK Solent Race, starting in Lymington on the 6th May. Final preparations are now getting under way.

An important aspect of any sailing class is boat preparation, but it is particularly important when sailing solo offshore as one small problem can easily lead to a very big head ache. Mini Sailors tend to do most of the boat work themselves, this keeps costs down and gives us the great advantage of knowing our boats inside out, but it can also make you slightly nervous; I wonder whether this crack is structural….!? Is that bulk head I laminated in strong enough?

The weekend before Easter the UK Mini Training group were all down in Cowes, but this time not for sailing. Instead we all had long jobs list to get though in order to get our boat ready for the UK Solent Race, which is now only a month away. Jobs ranged from deck cleaning and winch servicing, to new rigging systems and the construction of life raft ramps. In the Mini our life rafts are stored below deck and we have to be able to launch our life rafts from inside and outside the boat in 15 seconds. This means you need a quick and easy system to launch usually a ramp and single robe or clip in order to free the life raft, and they do test us. My record for last year was 10 seconds!

Last week however has was a tough one in getting the last few jobs ticked off the list. Things haven’t gone quite to plan on the final few boat work jobs (I am slowly learning it’s a boat and they never do). What started out as one small job back in January to remove the foot chocks due to a change in class rules has escalated into full scale laminating and deck painting project. It was all on schedule last week, just a bit more filling and sanding to do before painting the new deck grip, unfortunately we were supplied the wrong paint one part instead of two part deck enamel and the one part enamel reacts with the deck grip. The only solution to fix this problem is to scrape off all the paint and start again, doing things for a second time is always extremely frustrating.

On the plus side I did managed to get the boat back together and in the water ready for Mini Training last weekend, just without grippy paint on the decks, the deck grip will be finished off this week. We were finally blessed with some wind for this weekends training.

I felt thoroughly bruised and exhausted on Monday morning but it was great practice and I was reminded of a few lessons about handling the boat in stronger winds. It was perfect for practicing downwind sailing, which is the best part of mini sailing. It was exciting on Sunday avoiding all other race fleets out for the springs series races flying along with a spinnakers up, with a top speed of 11knots we were definitely overtaking some of the boats racing downwind .

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