Sunday 2nd February 2020 Back in the swing of sailing after the Xmas celebrations we have now been out a few times with good numbers, and in varying winds.
Today was a day a lot of the new sailors have looked forward to.
We were going out of Kilindini Harbour and down into the Old Port; for some this would be a first time. The intention was to go to Tudor however; the winds looked very low and unlikely to give us time to make the journey there and back. Looking at the sea from the quarterdeck it seemed we would not even get off the start line as the winds were almost non-existent. We had a single 420 on the water with Munene at helm & Hemimeh as crew, three Lasers sailed by Oyo, Seema and Frances and two Wayfarers one sailed by David ( Commodore) & Huzeifa and the other by Philip (Vice Commodore) & Sakina. The crew on the Wayfarers are the youngsters who recently trained and are doing well in the water it was good to have them along as they increase their skills. Philip & Sakina were the first out in Kilindini and amazing!......the wind on the water was a good steady 8-10knots. It was all on for the day and smiles were everywhere. At the gun two lasers and one wayfarer grabbed the lead, nobody was far off the start so the fleet remained close. Philip & Sakina the three and found the wind and the lasers of Frances and Oyo followed. The 420 was a little behind but not looking too bad. The second Wayfarer with David & Huzeifa had come up under Seema leaving her in her laser to windward. They had good power but Seema being new thought David was sailing a good line so she held her course. This meant he could not turn and could not harden up, he was being squashed down by Seema. Whilst this was happening the other boats had pointed up and stolen a good lead. At some point David had to call windward but it was a late call and they came up on a gust and literally ploughed into Seema sending her over so once more she was inspecting the sea floor. David Straightened up and Seema righted her boat to chase and went over again. One more capsize and she will take the “Capsize Queen” title from Sakina. Whilst this was going on the rest of us were racing for Likoni. Round we sailed and it was looking like a procession, Philip & Sakina, followed by Frances, followed by Oyo followed by James & Hemimeh then David & Huzeifa and Seema holding up the rear. It stayed this way out to sea and looked to be a foregone conclusion; then the whole race turned upside down! Philip & Sakina went the wrong way, Frances and Oyo followed them. They must have sailed almost 400yds in the wrong direction before the rescue boat shouted at them. By the time they returned to the course the order became Frances, Oyo, David & Huzeifa, Philip & Sakina, James & Hemimeh then Seema. This rivalry between the Commodore and the Vice Commodore is heating up. As they sailed past each other (in opposite directions) the Commodore had the cheek to shout out until the Vice Commodore looked up then the Commodore laughingly doffed his cap and sailed away. This was clearly red rage to a bull, Philip & Sakina, decided to chase them down and get them for that insult. Round Green Serani and into the old Port and David & Huzeifa still had the advantage. Philip & Sakina watched the leading boats (who were 400 yds ahead) sail down the north shore with a ENE wind blowing so they steered for the south shore gambling the opposition would lose wind on the north side and they would hold the wind on the south shore.
It Worked!..... so bad was the wind on the north shore at times the leading boats just stopped in the water. Even Frances who had a massive lead coming into the Old Port was being reeled in. Philip & Sakina slipped through on Oyo then they passed David & Huzeifa and crossed the line a little behind Frances who had held his 1st place with some really good sailing.
As if that was not enough excitement the rest of the fleet who had been stretched out over almost a mile all bunched up inside the port on the fluky winds.
Seema who had twice capsized had caught up and far from being a tail-end Charlie had closed a huge gap to be on the back boats. James & Hemimeh in the 420 were trailing far too much, they had a leaky boat and did not make enough use of the trapeze due to their inexperience with that type of boat. Oyo had a good sail however he has a weakness in that he does not allow the boat to speed up off the wind, his instinct is to look at where he wants to be and try to pinch up to stay on course when his best option is to trade direction for speed. We all stopped in Tamarind for a bite to eat and I noted that Davids boat had not attached their outhaul and this left them with a significant disadvantage (Not that I am complaining) as the second Wayfarer did far better upwind against them than normal.
As usual the quality of insults over lunch was very high setting the tone for the return journey. The parents of Huzeifa and Sakina met us at the restaurant and joined the table for lunch it was a pleasure to have them with us. (We are trying to inveigle them into becoming sailors!) Seema forgave David for capsizing her although it continued to sting and she later resolved to check the rule book to see if she could get him for “ungentlemanly conduct”. “Hell hath no fury nor the heavens a storm than a woman capsized”
It was one of those days that was light wind sailing full of light-hearted banter and some serious grudge sailing, having people joining us for lunch and making a good-sized table just added to the fun. The return journey looked to be more grudge sailing so plenty to look forward to.
Written by: Philip Jones