And now for something completly different:
Free.
adjective

  1. Able to act or be done as one wishes; not under the control of another.
    “I have no ambitions other than to have a happy life and be free”
  2. not or no longer confined or imprisoned.
    “the researchers set the birds free”
    synonyms: on the loose, at liberty, at large;

adverb

  1. without cost or payment.
    “ladies were admitted free”
    synonyms: without charge, free of charge, for nothing, complimentary, gratis, gratuitous, at no cost
  2. SAILING
    with the sheets eased.
    “I kept her off the wind and sailing free until I had all square forward”
verb
  1. release from confinement or slavery.
    “they were freed from jail”
    synonyms: release, liberate, discharge, emancipate, set free, let go, set at liberty, set loose, let loose, turn loose, deliver
  2. remove something undesirable or restrictive from.
    “his inheritance freed him from financial constraints”
    synonyms:exempt, make exempt, except, excuse, absolve

As Jimi Hendrix said “That’s what I want now, Freedom, that’s what I need now, Freedom to live, Freedom, so I can give” cue stonking bass and riff

Or, starter for ten points name the famous Scotsman (answer at the end)
“This is the truth I tell you: of all things freedom’s most fine.”
How many sports get to be a dictionary definition of Free?
This is what sailing is, Free, freedom. When you cast off, set sail, you are truly free, the master of you own vessel, limited only by imagination (ok, ok, wind and tides excepted).

So why race? racing constrains all of those freedoms, marks to round, start times, time limits and then there’s the Rules!
So? Well basically because deep down you, me, them, everybody, everybody. wants to sail together, then there’s the wanting to learn more, learning how to go quicker? wanting to beat the other guy in the same boat, then there’s just the simple pleasure of sailing in company, for some the stress of racing leaves all baggage behind it frees your mind (there’s that damn’d elusive freedom again) to the simple thing of man, boat, wind, water. All you see, hear and feel for that 45 minute race is pure. Ok for for Chris sailing with the soon to be legendary Tilly it might not be quiet…but it’s not about the winning, it’s about the sail. What could be simpler than that? Sometimes there’s those sails that the wind is just so, the sun is just warm enough as it sets, the competition is good, the beer tastes better…oh dammit, that’s why we sail, it’s for the post race beer. Caught red handed.

Late Spring 1 (blimey, one series done already!)

Course:

club line, Mid Knoll (p), knoll spit (S), West Knoll (s), Dip (p), Haven (p), West knoll (p), Dip (p), West Knoll (p), knoll spit (p), Mid knoll (s), Line

Looks complicated, but basically it was exit the river to navigation marks, then triangle, sausage around dip, haven and west knoll. A strong spring flood tide, 10 maybe 12 knots of breeze; break out the ’69…..
At the gun the champagne start of the day went to the ‘not a merlin’ of Lewis / Hawkins who hoisted their kite and set off like a scalded cat, further out from the Bawdsey shore they had wind and were just out of the tide (ok, it was more like an RS400 with a kite set well). Also on the line at the gun, the usual supsects of John Daniels, John Eggert, Tim O’Leary and the air temperature at a level that allows the legendary grand master of the laser fleet Max Evans, to contort himself into a Laser all tucked into the back eddy on the Bawdsey shore. The Merlin Rocket of Scammell / Read at the back of this gaggle of lasers (what is the collective noun for a group of lasers? a shrewdness? an irritation? a muddle?) had lost their sarting mojo and found themselves hoisting late and trying to thread a line through the irritation of lasers….

At the Bawdsey cut, Lewis / Hawkins stretched their legs again, the river a perfect set for the ‘not a Merlin’s’ Asymmetric kite, finally getting through the muddle of Lasers Scammell / Read set about trying to hold onto the coat tails of the ‘Not a Merlin’. The horde of Lasers took a bit of a port heading to take themselves out of the flood tide apart from O’Leary and young Ed Swain who took a route closer to the river.
At the mid knoll bouy, Lewis / Hawkins led with a tidy lead from Scammell / Read, O’Leary was the first laser (amazingly it paid to stay in the river even with the flood). The positions stayed like this until the leg to dip.

Turning west knoll (port rounding) Lewis / Hawkins free’d off (more freedom 😁) and headed for what they thought was the Dip buoy, Scammell / Read followed and squared the kite to follow…”That’s not dip that the ‘not a Merlin’ is heading to?” “i think it is” “Dip is inshore, remember it had a little flag on it?” “i can’t see anything down there” “i think we should gybe, i’m sure it’s not that one.” So Scammell / Read gybed and ran towards the ‘dip’ shoreline.

Lewis / Hawkins seemed to be having a similar consultation in the ‘not a merlin’ but more along the lines of “that can’t be the mark, it’s not yellow. Racing marks are special marks and should be yellow??” so Lewis / Hawkins sailed past dip looking for a more suitable mark to label ‘Dip’ at this point O’Leary had set course from West knoll heading straight for the mark that Lewis / Hawkins had just whizzed past…Scammell / Read gybed back onto starboard and came up to fetch Dip. Lewis / Hawkins having found a rather posh looking lobster pot marker (Roger was it brand new?) rounded that for good measure. Unfortunately for them as they rounded up to the beat to Haven so did Scammell / Read round and head up but 75 metres upwind at the official Dip buoy, this gave Scammell / Read a narrow lead on the beat to Haven, but the ‘not a merlin’ is quick in these conditions and a little faster. Could Lewis / Hawkins catch and overtake?

No.

With the Merlin singing upwind (fancy new rigging means the boat now ‘sings’ to us) meant that Scammell / Read laid Haven in one, tacking to take a similar length lead that Lewis / Hawkins had at the previous mark. The reach to West knoll was tight, to tight for the Merlin Rocket to fly it’s spinnaker, but the waves ….the lush North sea rollers, hook the boat onto one and surf all the way to West knoll, who needs a kite? The ‘not a merlin’ that’s who. With the lead thrown away, Lewis / hawkins rolled the dice and hoisted their asymmetric, could they hold the boat down and get it to the gybe mark?

No.

dropping Lewis and Hawkins had a short kiteless fetch to turn West knoll behind Scammell / Read who were running back to Dip for the final time. back in the tumult of lasers stuff was happening; the Grand Master having finished his yoga exercises had taken the lead from O’Leary who had dropped behind Daniels, (honestly Timmy you had a 30m lead? what happened?)and was leading the pack down to west knoll.

Extending their lead at Dip Scammell / Read tacked inshore back to West Knoll, a short hitch inshore and they rounded west Knoll and time to head for mid knoll and let tide rip them back to the line. Lewis / Hawkins followed and presumably the ‘baddling’ (good one that!) of lasers followed although they were nearly out of sight.

A little swerve around a returning cruiser nearly had Scammell / Read the wrong side of Mid Knoll (excellent nav’ from Read!) and a final beat to the line to take the Line honours, followed by Lewis / hawkins and Grand Master Yoda, whoops i mean Max Evans (legendary).

A first handicap win to the two handers! pass me the ’69…..

Unofficial results below…. how does that work?

if you got this far and your head is still taxed by the quote at the beginning..

“This is the truth I tell you: of all things freedom’s most fine.” (The young and soon to be hung drawn and quartered William Wallace. c1440)

Results are final as of 13:34 on May 16, 2019

Monohulls Fleet

Sailed: 1, Discards: 0, To count: 1, Rating system: PY, Entries: 12, Scoring system: Appendix A
Rank Fleet Boat Class SailNo Club HelmName CrewName PY R1 Total Nett
                       
                       
1st Monohulls Storm Cloud MERLIN-ROCKET 3543 FFSC Simon Scammell Matt Read 990 19.48.53 1.0 1.0
2nd Monohulls   LASER 5 FFSC Max Evans   1099 19.55.46 2.0 2.0
3rd Monohulls   LASER 7 FFSC John Daniels   1099 19.56.33 3.0 3.0
4th Monohulls   LASER RADIAL 125614 FFSC Ed Swain   1145 19.58.55 4.0 4.0
5th Monohulls   LASER 1 FFSC Tim O'Leary   1099 19.57.03 5.0 5.0
6th Monohulls   LASER 4 FFSC Ian Jones   1099 19.57.08 6.0 6.0
7th Monohulls   LASER 3 ffsc John Egget   1099 19.58.03 7.0 7.0
8th Monohulls   LASER 75198 FFSC Mike Sherwan   1099 19.58.16 8.0 8.0
9th Monohulls   RS 400 697 FFSC Roger Lewis Debbie Hawkins 942 19.53.03 9.0 9.0
10th Monohulls   LASER 2 FFSC Guy Pearse   1099 DNC 13.0 13.0
10th Monohulls   WAYFARER CAH FFSC Andrew Marshall Amelia Marshall 1102 DNC 13.0 13.0
10th Monohulls   LASER 456 FFSC Harley Barkes   1099 DNC 13.0 13.0

R1 - Monohulls Fleet

Start: Start 1, Finishes: Finish time, Time: 1905
Rank Fleet Boat Class SailNo Club HelmName CrewName PY Start Finish Elapsed BCE Points
1 Monohulls Storm Cloud MERLIN-ROCKET 3543 FFSC Simon Scammell Matt Read 990 1905 19.48.53 0.43.53 0.00.00 1.0
2 Monohulls   LASER 5 FFSC Max Evans   1099 1905 19.55.46 0.50.46 0.02.03 2.0
3 Monohulls   LASER 7 FFSC John Daniels   1099 1905 19.56.33 0.51.33 0.02.50 3.0
4 Monohulls   LASER RADIAL 125614 FFSC Ed Swain   1145 1905 19.58.55 0.53.55 0.03.10 4.0
5 Monohulls   LASER 1 FFSC Tim O'Leary   1099 1905 19.57.03 0.52.03 0.03.20 5.0
6 Monohulls   LASER 4 FFSC Ian Jones   1099 1905 19.57.08 0.52.08 0.03.25 6.0
7 Monohulls   LASER 3 ffsc John Egget   1099 1905 19.58.03 0.53.03 0.04.20 7.0
8 Monohulls   LASER 75198 FFSC Mike Sherwan   1099 1905 19.58.16 0.53.16 0.04.33 8.0
9 Monohulls   RS 400 697 FFSC Roger Lewis Debbie Hawkins 942 19.05 19.53.03 0.48.03 0.06.18 9.0