Damage Limitation

I’ve had a bit of a relapse with the obsessive shopping thing.

It’s only three weeks until we go away to Loch Ness, a huge body of water, ideal for sailing if you can avoid the monster. I want to sail! I looked all over the internet, but I can’t find anywhere that rents sailing boats. So I set to looking at buying a boat.

I know, I know. *sigh*

The thing with internet shopping is you start by saying ‘I want a cheap boat that I don’t mind crashing’, and read the reviews. And every single time they say “this is an adequate item, but what you want is *this* one, at ten times the price”.

I was looking at the Laser. It’s relatively cheap because there have been so many made, and there are a lot for sale, second hand.

It’s an adequate boat. It’s an old, basic design that it’s detractors say is painful for leaning out of the boat, and the mainsheet gets tangled on the transom. As I’ve already discovered.

But you can learn on it and, if it’s cheap enough, not worry about getting the odd scratch. It will still do the basic boaty stuff.

But what you *really* want is the RS Aero. The hull is ridiculously light (30 kilos as opposed to the 76 kilos of the Laser) it’s hull has rounded wings so you can lean out comfortably, the transom is open so if you capsize water just pours straight out, and it’s a lot faster.

But it’s a premium boat and it’s only been in production for a few years so has a limited second hand market.

The Lasers I was looking at range from £350 to £1,600. There is one, bare bones, Aero for £5,700 or £7,000 with the desirable sails, cover, and launching trolley. Then you have to think about my competence. And whether I’ll stick to it. And how gutted you’d be if you smashed a £7K boat into a rock. It would be like buying an Aston Martin to pass your test in.

Damage limitation, then. I was messaging some guy about the £350 boat, but he was in Norfolk, and the final straw was when I asked about the sail size. There are 3 sizes, more sail is more power and suitable for heavier sailors. Obviously I want the biggest sail. Possibly two of them. The Norfolk guy had the smaller sails. I looked, and you need to buy a different mast, not just a larger sail to go full size. That would double the price of the boat.

Then I found an obscure sale sight, Boats and Outboards, that had one for sale in Manchester, full sized sail, for £500.

I went and had a look today and it seems fine and dandy. I looked up the Laser site to find the faults to look for, I couldn’t find any on this boat. You never know until you launch and sink, but it looks OK.

My plan was to look at this morning and if I liked it go back in Wendy’s car and pick it up, then take it to Liverpool to try it out. I’ve never sailed in the sea, but how hard can it be? If the worst happens, I could just start a new life in Ireland when I land.

I was talking about throwing it on the car roof on my own, and the guy said it is do-able, but it’s a job on. I can lift 130lbs, but when it’s spread over 14′, it’s massively awkward. He said to grab an end and we did a two man lift. It weighs a ton. That’s a total change of plans. I’m still thinking it through, but it seems it’s would be such an ordeal to get it on the roof it’s not going to be practical for the holidays. That was the whole point. I mean, I could probably get it on and drive there. Then I’d have to take if off. Then put it back on, drive to the Loch, assemble it, sail for an hour, strip it, then try and heave it back on to the roof, then take it off again at the chalet. Until I actually try manhandling it on my own I can’t say for certain, but after that initial lift today I think it’s going to be too much.

I’ve emailed my sailing club, I think I’ve got a berth included in my membership, so I’ll just take it to the lake and sail it there for now. I’m a bit miffed, to be honest. I’m not beaten yet. I reckon if I put straps around it I could lift it. The whole point was for a cheap, roof-rackable, relatively light boat. To get sailing for the least possible expense. I don’t want to buy a road trailer, a car with a towing hook, and pay for insurance. I do want to get on the sea. That looks to be where the real fun is. Hmmm. I might not get to sail in Scotland this time. Maybe get some sailing time in on the lake, then take days out to Liverpool when I’m more experienced. And I’ve built up my boat lifting muscles. This is all just speculation. I only viewed the boat a few hours ago and I’m still processing it.

One of the salty sea dogs on the training course suggested an old book that covers everything you need to know for advanced sailing. The first example of stupid rookie mistakes it gave was heeling the boat right over and thinking you were going fast. If you do that the boat has less hull in the water on one side, so less resistance, so the boat naturally turns in that direction. So you have to use the rudder to counteract it. Which is drag. A flat boat is a fast boat. Not what I wanted to hear, I want to be right on the edge, full power. But as he illustrated, a flat boat doesn’t have to be a boring boat.

No lack of commitment from the crew, there.

I’ve still not heard any more from my job application, but that just means they are being slow. Lots of people have had a ‘no’.

Talking of lorry driving, the government have gone full loony. The Brexit lorry driver shortage is meaning empty shelves in the supermarkets, McDonalds running out of milkshakes, and some chicken joint closing because they’ve got no chicken.

But don’t mention Brexit.

Anyway, the government have already relaxed (ripped up) the Working Time Directive so lorry drivers can now legally work longer (our previous 15 hour days were a bit slack, to be honest) but that’s still not cutting it. So now they’ve gone full on barking and have said they are changing the driving test. You can now go straight from a car licence to an artic. (You used to have to pass the rigid test first.) And you can now pass the test without coupling the unit to a trailer, or being able to reverse.

No. Really.

A ton of new “drivers” who will be doing 15+ hour days (it’s only the dodgiest, most unscrupulous of employers who will take them on) who can’t pick up a trailer or reverse onto a loading bay, or even park up. So basically an exhausted car driver in a 44 ton truck, on cruise control, stressed out of their face and clueless. I can’t see any possible way this could end in carnage, multiple deaths, and more closed motorways.

The Japanese prime minister has just resigned for failing to control Covid, (16K deaths in 3 times the population density of the UK). Bozo is shameless in the face of 134,000 (recorded, figure fudging going on) UK deaths. I don’t suppose he’s bothered about any more deaths from lorry smashes.

The bike is still a joy. I had to nip to Manchester on it today. Awesome beast. Now it looks like I’m keeping it, and keeping biking, I was looking at that bike handling “knee down” course again for next year. There’s no rush to book it, and I’m due a tax rebate, so I’ll treat myself out of that when I finally get it.

Wendy is well on the road to full sanity. I keep forgetting, she’s so good. Still the odd blip, but it’s the exception not the rule, now. Brilliant.

My hoof seems to be holding up a lot better lately. It’s the Warrington half marathon in a fortnight (then Loch Ness marathon in 3 weeks, Manchester marathon in 4) so I thought I’d better test the water this morning. I went for a test half, as fast as I could, so I’d have an idea where I am. I started off fast but each mile got a bit slower. I ended up with a 1.42, which is not terrible. My heart rate average was 92% (of maximum), so I wasn’t coasting.

I’m thinking my poorly hoof is a lot better these days. I’m hoping after the last 3 races, when I rest it, it won’t take too long to heal fully. And hopefully the post viral fatigue/ plague weakness will be equally as quick to fix. I’ll be getting back on my indoor cycle trainer when I stop running to maintain some fitness without impacting my foot. So I’ll be cycle fit when I’m healed. You know what that means… TRIATHLON!

I’ve seen two in I fancy. One is a half Iron distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 miles run) the other is a bit of a fun event. 1 mile run, 38 mile ride (but it’s all evil hills, including the 2½ mile ascent of Kirkstone Pass, a road aptly named “the struggle”) then a 9 mile “run” up some steep, off road, hills (apparently even the pros use their hand to scramble up). If my hoof heals to plan I might do both.

Oh, and I’m dieting. Again. Meh.

Right, out of here before I eat the keyboard.

Some twitter and I’m done.