A dozen favourite schoolboy errors

  1. Being late for the start.
  2. Not knowing the course, rounding marks the wrong way, misunderstanding start and finish lines and shortening course communication.
    There we are – last race of a combined 470 qualifier at Grafham. We have had a good weekend again so far but cannot afford a discard. We are well placed at the first mark in only a light breeze. Pull! It is a great hoist, kite snaps full and we are off, except…why is the boat heeling? Ah! Helm has decided that now is the time to fall over and show off his dying-fly impression. So I’m out on the wire and dump the kite but no good, over we go and the whole fleet sails past, proffering ‘useful’ advice, while we sort ourselves out. Grrrr. To add insult to this particular injury, the wind changes so the course now comprises a run, fetch and reach for 90 minutes. How can you come back in a soldier’s race? We cannot.
    But wait a minute, 20 yards beyond what should be the weather mark is a committee boat with some interestingly blue-themed flags hoisted. No one else has spotted this – they are all sailing away, kites up. Nonchalantly (OK, sneakily) assuming the air of ‘Give this one up for a bad job’ we sail on, cross the line to a loud cannon and a race win. Did we laugh at the ensuing chaos? Yeah, baby.
  3. Getting the tide wrong.
  4. Low blood sugar/dehydration/sunburn.
  5. Wrong clothes, being too hot or, worse, too cold.
    Arguably not friendly, but it works; when sailing up and down waiting for the umpteenth general recall sequence to start, I spotted someone shivering. “Cor, you look cold” I said sympathetically. Suddenly, I felt warmer. Tried it on someone else. Same again. And again. Evil but effective.
  6. Not racing the fleet.
  7. Fliers. Desperately sad.
  8. Gear failure.
  9. Crashes and doing 720s.
  10. Avoidable swims and capsizes.
  11. Not signing on or off and forgetting tallies.

Over-standing marks.