‘Words from the water’ at the Wicklow Vase

The day started over cast with threatening rain showers but the shore crew set to work by first putting on the kettle, always need to get your priorities right . After untangling the buntings we set about creating a pleasing display from the mast and yardarm at the SJT. We welcomed Conor who has recently joined the club and invited him to join us for tea and cake. After fetching the launch we were all set to ferry crews as they arrived.  The weather gods were smiling with winds, tides and some sun shine all working together to bring our fleet up the river to the open sea, the Lasers had no problem over taking even the boats who were under engine ‘Tiny Dancer’ included.

WicklowVaseCruisers2017There was some chatter over the radio waves to set the course up and after some wind shifts we were signalled to be ready for the off. The usual jostling for position on the line when the 1 minute gun was sounded but we all got away with a clean start. I have to confess I usually find this the most stressful time as I’m not a racer but managed to get going with the cool head of my son without too much fuss.

The problem I find with racing is there is never any time to put the kettle on and settle down because there is always something to do like finding the mark we are supposed to be sailing to, not much of a problem for us though as we were playing follow the leader.

We then got a big surprise when the fleet tacked and all started heading to a mark we did not even see we were asking is this a tactic  to get better wind or tide ? no ☹  anyway not to worry just keep following.

We did get hit by a few big gusts from near rain showers but no rain and had the fun of having the winches in the water on one occasion but we kept our feet dry. We had another somewhat scary moment when I took a look out from behind the jib to see Tabago a juggernaut by our tiny size ‘ Hence the name Tiny Dancer ‘ bearing down on us, I was not worried about things like rules ( who’s on port and who’s on starboard don’t really come into it when your staring a monster in the face ) my son tried to comfort me by saying ‘we’ll make it !’ I was not convinced and said ‘ we won’t make it ‘ this was repeated a couple of times as we passed under the bow and cleared the starboard side listening to the gasps and OHHHH!  from the crew of Tabago as they looked down into our cockpit at our now pale faces.

Safe at last we soon realised we were being lapped by the other more experienced racing crews, however we comforted ourselves and made excuses ‘we were on the smallest keel boat in the fleet we should look for a bigger handicap in the future’  and  there is always next year so watch out ‘Tiny Dancer’ is force to be reckoned  with.

We made our way over the finish line and then back to the safety of the estuary and tided up on our mooring. The flask was finally uncapped and while I collected some of the returning crews and dropped them safely ashore the tea was made and we were able to finally enjoy a relaxing cuppa and a well-earned sandwich. Having secured the launch and parked ‘the duck’ it was time to get into some comfortable and suitable attire to enjoy a refreshing drink and share some of our stories and have a bit of banter with the other returned seafarers. Much laughter and suggestion of putting flashing lights on the top of our mast but then ‘ Lambay Rules ‘ and all that! The smell of barbeque wafted through the club house and everybody tucked into a very fine feast of steak, chicken and burgers with all the trimmings. Extra tables had to be quickly assembled to cater for the arriving members of the Cruising Association who were joining us for the week-end . . . . a truly great time was had by all . . . .  ‘ great to see a full SJT.’

Why not join us for our trip to Howth for lunch next Saturday 19th leaving around 1 pm retuning for a drink in SJT at around 7 pm. No stress and plenty of time for a cuppa on the way over

Watch this space for more words from the water in coming weeks

Paul Fay

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