This blog reports on Cove SC’s Friday Night League. It is, therefore, a race report – I suppose. However, it is more than that. It is a ‘me-piece’. I’m not sure if that is an actual designation. But, that is what this is to me.
‘Me-pieces’ generally go like this – ‘My name is … this is what I did … this is what I make of it … it might be of interest to you’. It’s a bit conceited, maybe. But, this ‘me-piece’ is always about Jay. That’s why I write it. There’s clue in the title, to be fair. It is called ‘JayJ24’, after all. And, it does glory in the wonderfully euphemistic moniker of ‘Jay weekly’, in some quarters. And, this is really important. Especially, given the reaction to last week’s entry. For, whilst these entries recount events that take place in and around sailing in Cove SC, they are not official Cove SC race reports. They never have been official Cove SC race reports. And, at this point, I think they never will.
At the risk of laying it on with a trowel, this blog is built on the reflections of a participant – me. It is based on my experiences on the water (in partnership with the other fella, of course). All analyses spring from conversations conducted by me, with my crew, my friends and my acquaintances, about incidents that impact on my sailing. There are, you’ll agree, a lot of ‘my’s there. That, for example, is why ECHO rarely gets mentioned. We on Jay, don’t take much notice of that handicap category. That is why the White Sail division rarely gets mentioned. We only rarely sail in company with boats from that division. ECHO works well and is of interest to many. It’s just not that important to us. And, it doesn’t get mentioned, overmuch. White sail works well and is of interest to many. Again – just not for us. And that doesn’t get over-mentioned, either. I trust that readers understand this and accept that they are listening to my voice when they log on to www.liamcoakley.wordpress.com. This blog does not, and should never be taken to represent, Cove SC. Which is just as well, for many in Cove SC clearly do not like this blog.
Some fuzziness may have arisen over the last few months, on foot of this blog’s relationship with Cove SC’s official platform www.covesailingclub.ie. Cove SC’s website administrator has been supportive, I think. Some entries have been reposted verbatim. Which is great. Some have been edited and reposted. That’s OK too. The edits generally work well. Some have not been reposted at all. That’s actually fine, as well. A submission to www.covesailingclub.ie is different to an entry in www.liamcoakley.wordpress.com. The two platforms require different voices. Sometimes, I try to take that into account and keep things ‘centred’. Sometimes, I do not. Especially, when I have a strong opinion and wish to make a point – as I did last week.
Of course, other boats/crews impact on the events recounted in these pages. Cove SC’s Friday Night League races are fleet races – pretty much. I’m sure that many of the 40-50 unique IPs who log on to JayJ24 regularly, are attracted by the prospect of seeing their boat’s achievements recognised in this format. Not by JayJ24, per say, but simply in the format itself. That’s an entirely appropriate motivation, I think. And, I try to bear that in mind. Conversely, no one likes to see their boat/crew’s efforts reflected in a negative light. That is an entirely appropriate concern. And, I am mindful of this as well. And, therein lies the conundrum at the heart of this bloggery. For, these entries are not descriptive, in intent. Such writing bores me. I’m just not hugely motivated to provide a blow by blow account of who went where and when. I do it – barely. Rather, I am often more motivated to use Jay’s experiences to make a point. That, I suggest, is the hoped-for value of this blog. It starts with Jay’s experiences of racing with Cove SC, it takes those experiences, albeit filtered by a necessarily Jay-centric world view, and seeks to make fair comment about a range of issues that, I suggest, may be of interest to others in the fleet. Other boats, and other boats’ achievements are necessarily referenced. But, that is not my focus. Conceited, it may be, but it is useful, I think.
In this way, JayJ24 exists somewhere on a continuum between two poles – that of ‘balanced description’ (if there is ever such a thing) on the one hand, and subjective analysis, on the other. For, you see, there really is no such thing as balanced analysis. And, this can be a difficult ‘circle to square’ – as I found out over the past week. You see, last week’s entry caused quite a stir. In truth, I thought it would. However, I was surprised by the upset it caused. That was not an intended outcome.
Without wishing to go back over the ground covered in that entry, in the end of the day, Jay simply should have protested. The other parties involved would certainly have been annoyed. But, witnesses would have been called and all parties would have been afforded ample opportunity to present their position. Something, I think, the others felt unable to do in response to last week’s blog entry. Here’s the thing, you see – everyone who participates in Cove SC races has an opinion on the events that take place. That’s normal. Not everyone harbours the impulse to air those opinions in a forum, such as this. That impulse is not a common thing. In seeking to make a broader point, last week’s blog singled out another, albeit unnamed, boat for criticism, in a sphere I command. The sphere of the written word. That, on reflection, was an unbalanced thing to do. Not everyone is motivated to write. And, I can see why those others, still unnamed, were annoyed. That said, we did have a ‘sit-down’ after racing last Friday. Not a Sopranos-style sit-down. But a ‘sit-down’ nevertheless. There was no rapprochement. But, we did agree on that one thing – Jay should have protested. And, we should have put the incident to bed, with that. Placing the incident in the public domain was simply not worth the trouble it caused between two boats. Especially, as pretty-much no one else bothered to comment. And, the only impact seems to have arisen between the two boats involved.
Of course, that brings me back to the whole point of last week’s entry. Back to the issue I wished to raise and put out there for debate. Back to the fact that there is no culture of protest in Cove SC. Back to the fact that most Cove SC boats do not ‘take turns’ when they transgress the RRS. And, back to the fact that those who wish to seek adjudication in this manner are justifiably wary of being cast as aberrant by those who do not share the same view of the RRS. It really is a culture that must change. And, that is something that is worth putting in a blog such as this. That remains something worth placing in the public domain. That remains something worth troubling Cove SC about.
For you see, this is not simply the product of a “sore loser”. This is not just another “silly blog” – based on nothing other than an unrepresentative view. This is not doing a disservice to Cove SC. This is the considered opinion of people who participate in the events under description – every week. Jay is the only Cove SC boat to have participated in every Friday Night League Race so far this season. Jay is the only Cove SC boat to have turned up for the two cancelled early season races. Jay is the only Cove SC boat actively seeking to engage with young dingy sailors and bring them through into the cruiser fleet. Furthermore, Jay was interested enough in Cove SC to turn out on Titanic race day, when the rest of the club were simply not bothered. Jay was interested enough in Cove SC to eschew the chance to defend our ‘Cobh at Home’ title and do OD instead – to help the club out As such, our thoughts on Cove SC represent fair comment, I think. Whether you agree or disagree with the views expressed – “silly” this blog is not. Some in Cove SC have been kind enough to offer their support for the views expressed in last week’s entry. That support is appreciated. Some have been pretty strident in their condemnation. That is fair enough, as well. Most however, have not bothered to venture an opinion. Forty two unique IPs were logged by www.wordpress.com last week. It would be interesting to know what those people think of the opinions expressed.
Of course – there was a Friday Night League race last week. Whyte Knight’s Fergus Coughlan acted as OD on this occasion. From Cove SC’s usual start/finish-line in the vicinity of buoy number EF4, Fergus sent a somewhat smaller fleet than usual on a series of triangles between Cuskinny and Crosshaven.
Kodachi, last Friday
Everyone did really well! Didn’t they? That is, everyone except Jay. We had an awful race. Our normally assured start was mistimed and we were 20-30 seconds late for the gun. And, it got worse from there. We were massively under-powered for the start of the race. Whilst conditions were pretty much on the margins of our Genoa’s range, we chose to play it safe and go with our jib. Unfortunately, conditions abated quickly after the start and Jay simply didn’t move. We were nearly two full minutes adrift of Bedlam at the first mark. Our night of misfortune didn’t end there. We were slow downwind, to boot. Things improved when we changed up to the Genoa at the end of the first trip to buoy number 13, but by then our race was run. To add insult to injury, we later lost our spinnaker halyard ‘up the mast’ and dropped the sail in the water. I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened. All in all, Jay had our worst race of the season so far and we finished last in IRC. Some, of course, might hold that this was karma for mouthing off last week. Maybe, it was. But, maybe it was bad JuJu instead. That said, the young guys on the crew did really well. Every manoeuvre was a scramble. But, the crew scrambled together.
Bedlam won the race in IRC. Gaelic Kiwi placed second in this category. Kodachi placed third. Bright Wings won the ECHO category. La Chanteuse won the White Sail division.
Jay still leads the spinnaker division in both Handicap categories. The perennially well-sailed Gaelic Kiwi has now leapfrogged over No half Measures to claim second place in IRC. The Kiwi only lies about eight or nine points adrift of Jay, when likely discards are taken into account. Jay may yet be in for a nervous run to the finish of this year’s Friday Night League. Bombora lies in second place in ECHO, only four or five points behind the leader (again, with likely discards factored in). The Alastair/Kenny/Cavanagh partnership must be quietly confident of pushing on from here.