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Bojangles goes to Rutland

Hello from Bojangles, the Contender! I’m perched on my trailer on Owner’s lawn, lapping up the Autumn sunshine after a hairy, scary weekend of sailing at Rutland.

The event was the Contender Inlands and it was combined with an event for the 420’s, Hornets and Ospreys, so there were a total of 80 boats competing on the water. Like I said, Scary.

Saturday started with light, shifty winds. We got off to a good start, rounding the first mark 8th. The second lap was not so good and a big change in wind direction just before the windward mark had a lot of boats pass in front of us, so we finished 19th. The second race involved me snapping my trapeze retaining elastic, which pinged Owner off into the deep blue somehow. Ooops. By the time we were upright and she had managed to tie the broken ends into a substantial knot with one hand (I’m a single handed boat, remember?), whilst trying to sail me upwind in a gusty shifty breeze, we were last. We managed to catch up a few places but finished 23rd. By the third race, we were definitely owed a bit of luck, so had a better race, finishing 13th.

We had a long beat to sail back to the club at the end of the day. The wind was dying and Owner’s stamina was fading, so she vowed to make it home in two long tacks. That didn’t work, of course, what with the shifting wind and the numerous fishing boats and other craft we had to dodge. Still, we did photo-bomb somebody’s wedding on the shore; me grinning like a loon, Owner grumping like a grouch. Ah well.

Owner put me to bed and sped off to pitch her tent before nightfall. It’s an old, old tent which was made in Kenya in the 1950’s and was acquired as a secondhand heirloom from an equally old, old couple in Uganda when Owner and husband were living there. It has done some serious safaris and repelled some dangerous predators in its time, so has some impressive teeth and claw marks on it. I’m glad that Owner is so nostalgically connected to it, because I’m unwilling to share my boat cover with her.

By the following morning, my cover was heavily weighed down with dew. No doubt, Owner’s sleeping bag was much the same. Still, she seemed fairly perky and positive and thought our good luck would hold. Of course, it didn’t.

The wind had increased, gusting up to 20 knots. On the second beat, whilst in 10th place, we had to make a violent manoever to avoid a boat that capsized right in front of us without warning. Owner was out on trapeze and took the full impact of the collision. She hit the transom of the capsizing boat so hard with her arm that the rudder came off. Ouch. I turtled to give her some time to catch her breath and freeze the bruising in the cold water, which she surely must have appreciated. We got up very slowly indeed and I suggested kindly to her that we should go home whilst she could still drive. So off we went, abandoning the last of the races.

The drive home was fairly uneventful until the slip road off the last motorway, where we encountered a vehicle heading the wrong way coming towards us. As far as random, unexpected events go, we’d seen and had enough of it for the day. At least he didn’t hit us and good old Owner would have been there first to fend him off, so I guess it was our lucky day after all.

Until next time,

Bojangles.

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