by Mike Commander
On perhaps the hottest weekend of the year, Teign Corinthian YC hosted the K1 Traveller Meeting on Sunday July 8th. Prior to that we had a rig tuning exercise with K1 builder, Jeff Vander Borght, on the Saturday. It would appear there’s a wide disparity on how folk set their boats up but Jeff did a great job explaining the benefits, or otherwise, of mast rake, spreader angle & length to name a few. Whether any of us go any faster as a result only time will tell.
Sunday dawned and early arrivals to our Coombe Cellars base on the south side of the River Teign in Devon were greeted with glorious sunshine and temperatures almost identical to those in Greece. Phew! The wind was pretty light at this time but we all hoped the sea breeze would kick in as midday approached just like it had done Saturday when a steady F3 materialised coming straight up the river. However this was not to be on Sunday.
Not only that, the water level was not playing ball either and a start time of 12 noon was far too
optimistic. With the K1 drawing 39inches (old money) we really needed 4 feet to get things underway. And added to that the sea weeds were having a field day. Hot weather over the previous few weeks had seen weed levels grow but on Sunday they had truly bloomed and it was often akin to sailing in the Sargasso Sea, or so I’m told.
Race Officer, Sasha Karakusevic, did a great job finding a stretch of water with sufficient water for us to get over the start line cleanly. A trapezoid course was set for race 1 as the wind was predominantly from the east with a bit of north in it. Dodging the weed was far more important than spotting the wind shifts, or taking account of the flooding tide. Hit a clump of weed, wrap it around your keel and you could plummet to the back of the fleet. Whether to go in to reverse and clear the weed, or carry on thinking everybody else must surely hit a patch was a huge decision and some of us clearly got it wrong. Local sailor, James Stevenson, seemed to know not just the river tides but also the weed patches and managed to steer his boat around the course okay in only his second outing in a K1 – and in to second place! But the weeds did not to deter Andy Snell who seemingly had no issues and even though he tangled himself on a trailing mooring line at the wing mark he went on to take the first win of the series.
We then hung around a while as the wind veered south which is never a good direction on the Teign as its coming over the hills. With the start line moved and the course reset to a triangle we got off on the second race. Guy Woodhouse had a blinder up the first beat. Whether it was the cursed weed I know not but he was chased down by the pack and Snell again went on to get another first – and Jeff Vander Borght recovered from his disastrous first race to score a second place.
The wind continued to veer and become even more fickle for the third race. Having set the start line normal to the wind and gone in to start sequence it became apparent with about 41⁄2 minutes to go that you could make the windward mark in one port tack if you started at the pin end. So there was a big scramble to get to that end but in the really light breeze not everybody got there so in the event it was a pretty clean start. Again Snell made it first to the windward mark in one tack but those of us further down the pack found we needed a couple of tacks within 5 to 10 boat lengths of the mark. Vander Borght caught that pesky trailing mooring line big time going from
second to I know not where. Mike Commander skirted the floundering Vander Borght and managed to secure second place after the ever present Andy Snell who took all three bullets on the day.
All retired to the club, had a cooling shower, enjoyed the Devon Cream Teas and other treats from The Strand Café, Shaldon and were rewarded with some spot prizes to Mike Green (10th), Hugh Duncan (7th) and top three took home the glassware Mike Commander (3rd), Jeff Vander Borght (2nd) and Andy Snell (1st).
Teign Corinthian YC would like to extend their grateful thanks to The Strand Café, Shaldon for their generous support of cakes and refreshments over the whole weekend. If you are ever in Shaldon please support The Strand Café.