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TOPIC: Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog

Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 11 months ago #1244

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We had another great days Blaze sailing on the Medway last Sunday... the only thing missing were more Blazes!

As it was three of us that joined in with the Wilsonians Warm Up handicap series races 5 and 6, Stuart (719) Martin (634) and Ian (807). We had near perfect conditions for the time of year with loads of sunshine, a puffy but fun F3 wind and an incoming tide that in the afternoon at least gave us plenty of water to play with.

The morning race was one of those in which the rich got richer and as Ian (807) got the jump on everyone at the first mark he was untroubled for the rest of the race, meanwhile Stuart (719) and Martin(634) were locked in a fierce battle with positions changing all through the race, but at the line Martin just piped Stuart by 15 seconds.

In the afternoon it was just Stuart and Ian, and a good race was had right up until the point when Stuart capsized in the puffy wind leading up to the line at the end of lap 3. From here on Ian was untroubled to the finish but I think everyone will agree that it was a great day out on the water regardless of were you came or how wet you got.

Lets hope we have more of the same next week.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 11 months ago #1245

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Another Foxwell Family film of the days sailing here





and at the risk of embarrassing myself some on board footage here



Last Edit: 2 years 11 months ago by ifoxwell.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 10 months ago #1247

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The final 2 races in the Wilsonains Sailing club warm up series took place last weekend with three Blase’s joining in... Steve borrowing (749) from his farther, Stuart (719) and Ian (807). We had another fluffy F3 to contend with although this time it was coming from the NE with very overcast skys.

Morning race and Ian(807) jumped into the lead with Stuart(719) hot on his heals and it stayed like this to the end. Stuart closing right in at times but never finding a way through. Steve (749) followed along behind, getting on well considering it was his first sail, finishing 5th overall on handicap.

In the afternoon race Stuart (719) picked the right place on the line and jumped straight into the lead rounding the first mark 10 seconds ahead of Ian (807) but by mark 2 normal service was resumed with Ian squeezing back past. From here on it followed the same pattern as the morning race with Stuart keeping the pressure on but never getting back past.

A film of the first race can be found here



Overall the warm up series was a great success with over 20 boats taking part, 5 of which were Blaze’s with Ian (807) and Stuart(719) taking the top to places.
Its the Ice Breaker next week and the start of the season proper, so where looking forward to getting more Blazes on the line and having some proper fleet racng.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 10 months ago #1249

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Ice Breaker 29/03/15 SW F1-F8!!!

What can I say, that was a hard sail. We had 4 Blazes out on the water with a few other hardy souls, We would have expected more but I suspect that the forecast of 50+ knots had kept people away.

Traditionally we have a reasonable length course set down river for the first official race of the season but the crazy weather meant that a lapping course was set between the club house and Gillingham marina.

At the gun we had a short beat to the windward mark that was buried in the lee of St Marys Island which created some enormous, shifts and holes. Martin (634) was first to arrive but he cut the lay line a bit to close, hit a big shift in the wind and was blown onto the mark. Ian (807) was next around followed by Matt (531) and John (732) who wisely had his Fire sail up.

From here on the order stayed pretty much unchanged but gaps opened and closed depending on who got the wind and who didn’t, and who stayed upright and who didn’t.

The Sheppy weather station that is just down the river showed gusts during the race period of up to 40 knots but it was the holes in the wind caused by the houses on St Marys Island that caused an even bigger headache. Trying to sail in 40 knots when you cant afford to commit fully to the racks because of the risk of falling into windward was a real head ache.

Still It cant be any worse than that so the rest of the season will be a breeze

Ian (807)
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 10 months ago #1252

Windy Medway 12 April 2015

It was windy, and from the SW it can be and was rather gusty close to the club. Further down river it was more than the 18mph forecast - I would say 20mph but that is very subjective. This of course is a racing breeze in the Blaze but for me it was a bit of a shock for my first sail of the season.

It also was too strong for both of my modifications over the winter. Why is it that I always under-engineer the gear on my boat? I had new trampolines and a new way of controlling the stops on the main-sheet bridle. It was while blasting downwind and trying to lash up a repair on the main-sheet strop that I went swimming and later whilst trying to ouch the boat off the top of a wave I split the new trampoline. I managed to continue with both but it rather cramped my style, giving me a 3rd out of 5 Blazes. Here's how it went.

A nice downwind start meant I was first around the first mark, that was rather a surprise since I was a few seconds late and to leeward of the other boats. I took the advantage though and kept the board high on the next long close reach and that seemed to work. My new tramps are slippery and so I found it hard to keep control on this gusty leg. I could hook my bum over the side, or I could slide in until I contacted the hull but in between it was like sitting on ice, so I didn't make the most of this leg but looking over my shoulder I seemed to have left the others behind until I saw Andy Pickrell (587) working his way up from leeward. He rounded mark 29 just in front.

The next leg was very broad and Ian Foxwell (807) came surfing up and through to leeward. I was squatting in the boat most precariously and Ian was just surfing along neatly sitting on the edge of the deck! I noticed my main-sheet system had broken and so whilst at the back I thought I'd have a go at fixing it - that was my first capsise.

Its a long leg and could be a mile but at the end a gybe was required, the wind was more consistent but stronger. I'd already had a couple of moments when the bow was trying to go under and the steering was useless - so I sailed well past the buoy and "wore round". Not far enough past it though and in some really strong stuff I had to luff up a bit to ease pressure since to stay on a dead run was asking for trouble. This required another "wear around" and was a wise precaution as the tide was out and there were many mudbanks not far to leeward. For those of you who don't sail on tidal waters you may not realise that tides are more extreme at this time of year and so low tide means plenty of mudbanks. Somewhere down this leg I had also split the stitching on my trampolines and put in another capsise. However I had lashed up my mainsheet!

I rounded the leeward mark gingerly and began the long beat back to 27. I'm not sure if John Tinnams (749) was in front or behind at this point but I soon left him for dead as the boat was going well to windward. Yes, I felt the boat had some good windward speed, actually it felt better than it ever has - so perhaps my lashed up main-sheet holds some secrets?

Andy and Ian were out of reach but there was a lonely Laser up ahead and I enjoyed chasing him and after a couple of more legs on the beat back to the finish I had the joy of sailing through his lee, planing to windward, as he lumbered along. He beat me on handicap though!

So it was first for Andy, second for Ian and third for me. John Tinnams eventually arrived and Stuart Bailey was ashore but had retired. The second race was cancelled.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 9 months ago #1256

Firstly the Wilsonian Spring Series. We had 8 Blazes compete in this series and well done to Ian Foxwell (Blaze 807) who won the series with a respectable string of firsts and a couple of seconds. John Tinnams (Blaze 749) sailed the second Blaze into 3rd in the series with one of those damned Wayfarers taking 2nd. John Hewat in Blaze 732 took the next position.

Today was the start of our Early Summer Series and I'm glad to report two fists for myself (Blaze 609) with John Tinnams taking a second and a third, again a Wayfarer getting in the mix. Sadly no other Blazes were out to enjoy champagne sailing. In fact all the fleets were depleted today.

We sailed the same course morning and afternoon which was effectively to 23 twice with beats back to 24. Gillingham Reach being just that, a reach. The wind was the top of force 3 and maybe the gusts going into force 4 - perfect for a Blaze with the boat feeling really powerful and leaving the Wayfarer and everything else way behind on the legs along Gillingham Reach. The runs were absolutely dead down wind and the beats very true. What was different was the tide, with the last of the ebb in the morning race and the beginning of the flood in the afternoon. The wind was in the SW but was more like SSW in the afternoon.

The tide was the decider best end of the line at the start. John and I started at the club end in the morning and so as we hardened up for the fetch to mark 30 we were taken into the favourable tide. I got the drop on everybody and rounded 30 with a 50m lead. Along Gillingham Reach I seemed to pull away and got to 23 first but I broke a little experimental bit of kit I'd added to the boat and John caught me by 24 and I just managed to stay one boat length ahead. Back down to 23 we ran neck-and-neck but I retained the inside at the mark and made sure he didn't get onto the weather of me and on the next beat compensated for the broken gear by super human effort and pulled away. I capitalised on this on the reach back along Gillingham Reach where the broken gear actually gave me a small advantage and the run home and a small beat gave me a finish with John seemingly miles behind. The Wayfarer was still out of site around the bend in the river.

The afternoon had the tide running against us at the start and the slight shift in the wind meant a very close fetch to 30. This dictated a start at the other end of the line even though there are some horrible wind shadows from some tall buildings. We battled through though and I managed more successfully than the others to stay high and get to 30 with a blast of speed for the last 200m giving me a lead of about a 100m. By mark 25 where we bear away onto a run I still had that lead and gybed for the shallower water and hopefully less counter tide but John just bore away and carried a gust down the other side of the river. For those readers who don't know where this is on the Medway I'll just point out that the "river" is quite a substantial stretch of water and probably a kilometre wide at this point. He got around 23 well ahead of me. I had to seriously try hard and gradually hauled him in and I can't remember who rounded 24 first but on the way down to 23 he had trouble in a strong gust and nearly capsised. The next thing I noticed was him "wearing around" instead of gybing an so I arrived first at 23 and on the next windward leg to 24 pulled out a reasonable lead. Along Gillingham Reach I managed to pull even further away on a stunningly fast close reach - just what Blazes are best at.

I knew there was a Wayfarer back there somewhere and the handicap is just so favourable for them I had to push as hard as I could. Approaching the finish I couldn't see a Wayfarer but I did just catch a glimpse of John, a long way behind, as he rolled in to windward for a swim. That gave the Wayfarer 2nd place and John 3rd in a most enjoyable race that I really had to work hard to win.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 9 months ago #1257

Sparkling Conditions on the Medway and close racing too.

I'm writing this full of aches and pains, funny how boats close by make you try that little bit harder! And we had boats close by, after about 20 minutes racing and a couple of miles downwind against the tide we had 5 Blazes in a line.

Six Blazes out and Ian Foxwell (Blaze 807) got a reasonable start and then just slipped away in a gust - perhaps we were all too preoccupied with each other and let him get away? It was quite windy and sunny and not at all the grey day and 10 mph forecast. By about a mile and well down Gillingham Reach I might just have been in 2nd place but it was touch and go. My boat does seem fast dead downwind but Ian was a couple of hundred metres in front and I was determined to get it back. I didn't and he won but the remaining 5 fought close compbat all the way down river and in gusts came right back to me. John Tinnams (Blaze 749) always does have a turn of speed when just off a run and he got to the most leeward mark first but under pressure from myself (and I had preset my settings so that when we rounded up for the long beat back) I slipped by to windward and pulled away from him and the rest of the fleet. I felt I must surely have a bit of a speed advantage up-wind with myself being about 90 kilos and Ian being probably less than 80. Remember it was windy but it was wind-over-tide and so quite a chop - more about that later. I guess I gained a bit and I certainly left the rest of the fleet as I bashed my way up the middle of the channel. I understand now that was a mistake. Matt Love (Blaze 531) who probably weighs in at 100 Kilos avoided the chop and looked for smoother water - even if there was less tide - and suddenly he passed me. I was shocked but I couldn't catch him before the end and so I came 3rd.

The same boats in the afternoon but less wind and the tide going with us, down river. Ian got to the first mark in the lead but I managed to sail this dead down-wind leg into the lead and Ian dropped back and possibly others got ahead of him. I certainly got to the most leeward mark first and again rounded up nicely putting any close followers into my lee. One of whom was Ian and we sailed for a long time matching each other for pace with him a few boat lengths to leeward. Eventually I just got ahead and so he had my dirty wind and tacked away. I wanted to stay in the shallows as the tide was against us and held on until I got a nice header and tacked giving me a 50m lead at the next windward mark. The following reach got quite breezy at times and I was driving the boat hard sitting out hard and sheeting harder and harder - until the mainsail stalled - Ian just planed past whilst I desperately tried to get a flow over the sail again. Behind I could see a gaggle of Blazes all fighting amongst themselves. Or should it be called an "inferno". I just don't seem to have it on a broad reach and John Hewat (Blaze 732) almost caught me but the next leg was tight and I pulled away again. Now it was a long beat back home against the tide and so tacking up the shallows was the game. John Hewat and Martin Jones were close behind and I chuckled when on separate occasions they both capsised. However John soon came back and put me under quite some pressure on the last short leg to the line. At first I could lay the line and felt confident that I could hold him back but a header meant I would soon be heading into some trots and so my heart was in my mouth when I had to tack back out into the river. A tack that with the strong tide and the angle took me away from the finish. I made it short, and just got across the line ahead. Giving me 2nd place, Ian was first, John 3rd and I think Matt Love 4th followed by Martin and John Tinams.

It was always close, places swapping many times and long, hard, tough beating. Just what we want actually. Certainly no good for softies and this is why I ache quite bit and fell asleep on the sofa as soon as I got home.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 9 months ago #1258

Just in case you are following this blog you might like to get an idea of our racing area. Here's a diagram - it shows it at low tide. Wilsonian SC is on the left and we normally race down river to the area around the power station. A few races per year we go right off the edge, literally off the right hand edge of the map. We hardly ever go up river.

Wilsonian Sailing Club is located on about the only shingle beach that exists on the river, which is very convenient. Generally its rather muddy elsewhere but generally the tide is not as far out as the diagram suggests and so there is a very large area for our racing.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 9 months ago #1259

Well I don't see the chart that I attached, so here is a link which should give you the picture.

www.wilsoniansc.org.uk/content/documents...0(Home%20Waters).pdf

And I going to add a picture of one of the boats out racing this Sunday to see if this forum is working.


MedwayBlazes1.jpg
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 9 months ago #1260

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They worked ok Stewart. (note we had more Blazes out than that, the pic didnt capture us all)

And for those that are interested... On Sunday, with the tide, up we were pretty much racing on what is the grey area on the chart. In other words a huge amount of water.

Ian 807
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 9 months ago #1261

Blaze racing on the Medway
MedwayBlazes5.jpg
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 7 months ago #1268

Good Sailing but Poor Result
Wilsonian Sailing Club's "Commodores" series - that's the one with the longer races of about 2½ hours. I love them - the Blaze is the next best thing to a trapeze boat for long courses and certainly can cover the ground compared to those poor Laser sailors who must be knackered after such a race. Great conditions too, planing downwind and fully powered upwind with a few waves too. How could it be better with 6 Blazes competing amongst the Medium Fleet and then the Fast Fleet starting a ½ hour later on the same course?
Well it could have been better for me. Although I was pointing the wrong way at the start I still got away at the front with Martin Jones (Blaze 634) only just ahead and the rest so far behind I think they must have been finishing their lunch. I started in the middle - away from any wind shadows but the others soon got close behind. I was miffed that a 2000 was able to pass me to windward whilst Martin to leeward was able to pull away. This left the pack (or should they be called an inferno) of Blazes just behind and stepping out to cross the tide they got really close and then on the next leg two got past. Martin seemed to sail away from me but I knew better than sail down the middle of the river (against the tide) so I went high and across a slightly shallower part to find I hadn't gained but lost another place.
The next leg was a very long run against the tide to a mark we call Autumn. Autumn is a very small mark and out of sight and I felt it was off to the left of everybody else's course. It wasn't and by the time I got there I was the last Blaze. And yet I persisted with my maverick navigation and on the next run I didn't gybe around the mark but went off towards some more shallows - this just put me even further back. I was depressed but did chuckle when John Hewat (Blaze 732) death rolled into the water just ahead of me.
At last we got to the long - and I mean long, probably 3 or 4 miles long - beat back home. I always fancy I can do well upwind in a breeze, and so it was. I soon caught John Tinnams (Blaze 749) who just didn't seem to get beating right in that chop and breeze but the others were by now so far ahead I couldn't make an impression. So 4th out of 6, and where we came on handicap with all the other boats I still don't know.
Andy Pickrell (Blaze 587) was the first home only just pipping Martin Jones at the very last gasp. Matt Love (Blaze 531) also beat me and it transpires he was eating lunch when we started! I think it was one of those days when I was always looking for a flyer rather than battle it out with good technique and stamina. A lesson learnt - but sadly not the first time I've had to blame myself.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 7 months ago #1269

If you want a more detailed report then go to the Wilsonian SC Facebook Group and I think this is the link. Wilsonian Facebook Group

Blaze Sailing on the Medway just gets better.
Six Blazes for the morning race with a decent breeze. I was possibly first or second across the start line and third down Gillingham Reach but it all came to nowt when I touched a mark and on re-rounding it I touched it again. Then when trying to re-round again I was presented with a starboard tack parade and couldn't get in. What a mess. You're not even obliged to re-round marks these days - just do a 360, so I must have appeared a doddery old dope. However I didn't come last since John Tinnams (749) had to retire after breaking his tiller extension. Ian Foxwell (807) won with Martin Jones (634) following in almost 5 minutes later and John Hewat (732) again about 5 minutes behind him and Wayfarers and Lasers interposed.
Seven Blazes (a WSC record) started the afternoon race. Again I was probably first or second across the line but in the wrong place. By the time I got to the first mark I had 6 Blazes line abreast in front of me - not to mention Lasers and Wayfarers. I gained a little down the dead run which was Gillingham Reach. The wind was a tad light so not a great point of sailing for a Blaze, mercifully it didn't take long as the tide was ebbing with us. The next leg was a broad reach toward the power station I gained a little more. Then a fetch back against the tide, some went high and into less current, others just tried to fetch the mark regardless. I went high and was back with the pack. Those that went low couldn't lay it as the ebb flow was fierce near the mark. Ian Foxwell (807) was in the lead but on the next leg, back towards the power station, pulled out a bit. I took 2 Blazes, I'm not sure how it was a reach for me but for the others, they seemed to be running, slowly.
Now it was effectively a long beat all the way home. I rounded the leeward mark determined to make up more places and avoid the pitfall of last week where I was most definitely over sheeting. And I did, in the next 1 mile beat I overtook all the remaining Blazes except Ian Foxwell. When I went past Martin Jones I asked him who was in front - only Ian, but I couldn't see him. Apparently our beat had been a fetch for him and he had a massive lead.
All I could do was fend off Martin which I only just managed to do near the finish when he made a late rally. So from 7th to 2nd - not bad but I would have loved to have had a battle with Ian as in those conditions I had fantastic good speed upwind. Or was it just "unadulterated skill"?
Ian beat me by 9 minutes - that's huge in a 75 minute race, but he beat some of the other Blazes by 15 minutes!
So 7 Blazes out today and news that another might join us soon. A Blaze is a great boat for estuary sailing. Plenty of power for the chop, pivoting centreboard and rudder blade for the shallows and now at Wilsonian plenty of competition.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 7 months ago #1271

Gusty Medway - today's report is on the Facebook site.

Let me know if you still read it here and would like me to continue to post here.
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Wilsonian Sailing Club - Blaze Blog 2 years 7 months ago #1273

Medway Regatta 2015 - a full report on the Facebook site. I think this link will take you there as long as you have a Facebook account.

Blaze Sailing
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