Recently, sailing at Sidmouth has been problematic due to the wind. A recent Saturday, Saturday 8th May, the weather level was ‘black’ meaning that it was too high for anyone to go out sailing. Here in Sidmouth, we operate a system to define the conditions out on the water. If there is little to no wind, then it’s a green. This means that it’s a great day for new sailors, helping them learn new techniques without being put in a pressing situation or for ‘bimbling’ while sailing. This means to adjust sail settings and the length of ropes between different pulleys to optimise your performance in the races. If it’s an amber, you’ll need to take a bit more care with what you’re doing because the winds a bit faster, and the sea can be a bit choppier. If its’s red, only experienced sailors should go out, and even they might capsize their boats. And as you probably guessed, black means no one goes out. There will likely be super high winds, large waves and maybe even a storm. Waves are one of the problems from sailing in Sidmouth, and by extension, the sea because, while boats are very good at sailing, they also made pretty good surfboards which can be problematic if you are not ready for a wave and you get picked up. Luckily, waves which actually cause problems are rare meaning usually, it's ok.
In an ILCA, the hull is hollow and full of air to help is float. In the back is a bung, a little black plastic cork which allows you to drain the hull should some water get in. Every week, I take it out and take it home with me because the bung is the thing most commonly stolen. Recently, I slipped it in but didn’t actually screw it up, because I was draining the boat before going out onto the water. I then proceeded to spend the evening racing (wind was amber to red, as explained above) without my bung in. When I came in though, and realised my bung was open, there was no water left in the hull. This is because as the boat moved along in the strong winds, I was going forwards at a decent pace. This meant that the water couldn’t enter the hull because it could not get in the bung hole, which is on the back, while I was moving forwards. Should any enter while I was turning, it would drain itself out the hole in the back meaning that, the inside was as empty as always.
On Wednesday 19th May, Sidmouth Sailing Club reopened its bar, where it serves delicious food and drinks, on a Wednesday evening and Saturday and Sunday noon/afternoons beginning with a nice dish of lasagne followed by a crumble. Even with Covid-19 measures in place, it was still a very nice meal to share with my family, other avid youth (mostly) sailors.