Bob decided another sail was required for when the winds are light off the beam.

The asymmetric spinnaker arrived Wednesday. I winched Bob up the mast a number of times over the duration of yesterday in order for him to make the adjustments required to run this particular sail.

In between study and so forth, I am gradually placing our journey to date on this blog site.

An interesting race yesterday afternoon. Bob and I were well on the way to a win when Bob took the Cherub too close to the wind. Running with the wind,  the result of him being low down in the centre of the boat to give a low centre of gravity, whilst I was on the bow in order to work  the jib to its best effect was in effect waiting for disaster to happen should the boom suddenly gybe (crossed from one side of the wind to the other) on us.

In the gusty conditions, we rapidly found the boom doing just this as Bob took the boat just that fraction of a millimetre to port.

One second, we were merrily surfing the wavelets whilst Anne and Cliff were trying their utmost to catch us and the rest of the field were a good distance further behind, the next we were going over.

For myself on the bow, it was as watching a movie in slow motion. Whilst Bob attempted rising in order to reach and clamber upon what was rapidly becoming the highest point of the dinghy, I found myself slipping and sliding toward the water below.

As a result of my position, unlike Bob, I had no way of finding the purchase required in order to climb to the starboard side of the boat.

The mast and sail connected with the water: with no wish to finish between the sails and boat, just prior to sinking into the water’s enveloping warmth, I stepped upon the jib as it commenced disappearing below.

By this time Bob, too, was immersed and working his way toward the mast in order to bring it upright. By now, our close rivals had passed with a cheerful, ‘thank you so much’, and were continued merrily on their way. In the meantime, I swam around the bow to the dagger board.

Giving an almighty kick and propelling myself into the air, arms outstretched, I managed to find purchase on the board. Dangling, whilst Bob attempted to heave the mast we had no success and Brian who usually manned the rescue dinghy was nowhere in sight, as he was busily assisting Cory who had locked his keys and evening’s tea of stew in the car.

In disgust, Bob paddled around and joined me in hanging from the dagger board in the hope our combined weight would move that dastardly mast from the clinging mud into which it had become in – bedded.

During this time, the remainder of the racers had passed, each loudly guffawing as they saw the opportunity of besting what was normally a winning team. No longer able to hang on, I let myself sink into the water once more and swam around to the bow of the boat.

With Bob still dangling in the air, facing into the wind, I placed my hands upon the bow and forcefully kicked my legs in an attempt to push the bow around, which would then cause the mast to become free. Gradually, I could feel the dinghy moving: like a snail, the bow commenced turning into the wind and with it up came the mast.

Calling out to Bob that it was going up, I rapidly moved around to the windward side of the boat. Hanging on, Bob was working his way to the stern: the easiest place to clamber aboard. It was here that I put a burst of speed on, for it wouldn’t take much for the sails to fill and see the boat taking off.

With Bob pushing me from underneath, like a beached whale I clambered aboard to provide the stabilizing effect required in order for Bob to follow on my heels. Both aboard at last, it was with amazement that we noted the dinghy hadn’t flooded with water.

In position once more, with us rapidly pulling in and setting the sheets, the boat gained speed and Bob set her running once more. By now our competitors were in the distance and we were up against it to catch up.

Undeterred, Bob and myself were determined to make up the distance. Over the ensuing fifteen minute, like a tortoise, as we played the wind shifts we inched our Cherub closer and closer, taking heart in watching as the boats in front experienced the same conditions and battled to remain upright.

Only requiring a few metres in order to pass the last of the boats ahead of us, the finish line came into sight far too early as the hooter blasted to signal our competition had crossed the line.