Lots of laughs on Cuckoo’s Nest


Winter Race on 23 July 2022 – second last race.

Peter Campbell, skipper of Cuckoo’s Nest writes, ‘We were slow to commit on Saturday morning, waiting in the pond contemplating the conditions, hoping that the rain would stop and we would have enough wind for a start.  The prediction was for SE and we expected to be sailing course 3 and start near Robertsons Point.  Instead, the rain stopped and we sailed a reverse course (2), since a light NW had settled in.

A consistent number of 7 Division 1 boats cleared the start from the west of Shark Island just as the breeze shifted left, to SW, and then died.

Trying to stay in pressure we kept to the right while the smarter money boats edged left obviously expecting a further shift to the South and for it to settle and hopefully freshen as predicted. The lightweight boats (Bandit and Adela) took off and Forty, which is always quick to get away, extended its initial lead.

There were lots of holes on the first leg and ¾ of the way to LM1 the wind was settling into the S and a spinnaker hoist was an option. Naturally, ours was set up on the wrong side and by the time we got it sorted and up we needed to jibe for the mark, immediately hoist the headsail and drop the kite in time to round the mark.  This challenged our foredeck and lead to a slow headsail hoist and a slower kite drop.  The back end of Cuckoo’s Nest is occupied by old blokes, some with diagnosed deafness and others with selective deafness honed to perfection by long marriages. None are agile but they have 200+ years of collective sailing experience! The foredeck is younger and agile but with little experience.  The experienced, deaf after guard “politely” offer conflicting advice and things come unstuck. We give away a couple of minutes each time to tidy up, settle the boat, have a laugh and start playing catchup.

We beat Euphoria to the first mark and remained close to for a couple of legs as we followed the early leaders and we kept in touch with Hell Razer for the work to RB as we stayed left side keeping out of the tide as far as Bradleys Head before crossing the channel to Shark Is.  Rounding RB for a tight reach to N2 better suited the boats with asymmetrical kites (Bandit, Adela, and Hell Razer) but we stayed relatively in touch as we continued in line back to RB for the second time.

The angle for the run back to LM1 better suited symmetrical kites and we ran down Hell Razer and Adela. We even managed a “float drop” at LM1!  Work from LM1 to Shark Is was a repeat of the first work but the breeze had settled in around 10kts which better suited Cuckoo’s Nest however the rain started and that suited no one.

We were happy to extend our lead over Hell Razer for the first time in the series. Lack of attention to detail may be another problem to manage on Cuckoo’s Nest, since we are unable to agree on when we headed Adela – was it on the work to Shark Island or on the last run to the finish at Robertsons Point?   Regardless, we finished a few boat lengths in front of them and carried the kite on to RSYS to give it a chance to dry off a bit in the break in the rain.

We have been enjoying the winter races with the combined clubs and have managed a start in all but 3 races as we continue to learn to sail Cuckoo’s Nest.  We remain hopeful of being able to reach a standard where we can confidently get our targeted numbers from the start, get a kite up and down in a reasonable time, round the marks with everything set to perfection with the crew on the rail and be ready for the spring series.  Deafness in the stern is being managed by gentle prods to the ribs and sign language however we need to work on communication with the foredeck team who we can’t reach.  Shouting is not working so we may just need more practice.’

See the results here

Cuckoo’s Nest – March 2022
Photo 1 by John Jeremy: Stepping Stone House Regatta
Photo 2 by Marg Fraser-Martin: Combined Clubs Race