Thursday, 31 January 2008

A loan again...

Yesterday the sea breeze battled the easterly land breeze, really shifty conditions which reminded me of the World Championships in Denmark. Anyway I launched into 6-10 knots from little Jervoise Bay Sailing Club and sailed to Carnac Island. I didnt go round it because I read on the web there are a few reefs sticking out, but I did get pretty near the beach which looked nice. On the way home I sailed with a school of Dolphins, they didnt like it when I was on the foils so I went into low riding mode and then they swam nearer to the boat. I nearly bought a water proof camera on the way out here..and regret it now.

The boat seemed to perform well in the light winds that we may well get at Weymouth, but its hard to compare.. The winds here dont seem to have the "oomph" of a comparible breeze in the UK, maybe because its so hot and dry.

I was the only person on the beach yesterday afternoon as I waited for the breeze to settle down. Carl, the club caretaker came up for a chat and we had a bottle of his home brew each. Christ it was strong but it was good to hear about this little club, with only 100 members in one of the most beautiful places I've ever sailed.

That was the last sail, this pm I leave for the UK. I'm sure I'll be back here. Maybe for good eh?

And finally...

Thanks to John and Burgl for putting me up, I had a wonderful time and I really appreciate your hospitality.
Thanks to Carl, Rob and all the members at Jervoise Bay Sailing Club for letting me sail at their wonderful club.
Thanks to Phil and Matt, She's looking good boys.
And to Fastacraft, for building me a great boat.


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Little Wing

Well, she's walking through the clouds,
With a circus mind that's running wild,
Butterflies and Zebras,
And Moonbeams and fairy tales.
That's all she ever thinks about.
Riding with the wind.

When I'm sad, she comes to me,
With a thousand smiles she gives to me free.
It's alright, she says it's alright,
Take anything you want from me,
Fly on little wing

With nearly 100 miles on the clock in 3 days this has been a great weeks training. Yesterday was awesome with 15-18 knots and a bumpy sea as soon as you cleared the point. Something drives me offshore these days, I love being a long way from land, maybe I'm in the wrong boat do you think? But whilst I have this one I so enjoyed yesterday. The sand was so hot you couldn't walk on it and the sea so blue you could see the bottom way out. If I had to choose between racing and just cruising around I'd choose the later each and every time. Why? Well out there on your own, on the wing you become the poem and its impossible not to openly laugh with glee at the gift you've been given, that you can do it well, and that you have discovered your own single piece of magic.

After about 2 hours training I spied Carnac Island and it was calling me to go round it, with that slightly scared feeling I lined the boat up..but it's 10 klicks south west of Fremantle and a bit of a hike back at the end of a training session. If the conditions are right I'll sail there tomorrow.

A few people have asked why there was a smudge on one of the boat pictures. Sorry to disappoint you guys, there is no AC style secrecy here, to prove it I attach a pic taken by John, sorry its of me again.

At seven O'clock this morning I was at the factory learning how to service the rudder control mechanism.... Urghh!


Sunday, 27 January 2008

Endless Summer

In the past I may have indicated that the Aussies were not great inventors. No ground breaking cars, no innovation in the IT arena, even the BBQ was actually invented in Canada. I'd like to apologise for this slur, I wrote it long ago and before I came here. I've discovered another innovation which quickly elevates this land down-under onto the world stage...OK here goes..Y'know that plastic apron used by guys for cooking outside?? .. with an image of a womans naked bosom on it? Yep invented here folks.

But staggering though this is, it would be churlish to summarise Aussie invention by showcasing an apron. It would be like recognising Einstein for the creation of the Cat Flap. Sure he invented it ... but theres was more, much more.

Its the same here, add a little water and the Aussies get a wiggle on. I was thinking this today as I hurtled around the Swan River in one of their creations. Not long after I managed to fire a couple of gallons of water up my nose. Hmmm I wonder who invented the air bag..

But moments earlier I invented a new species.

Its called the Indian Ocean Foiling Jellyfish and Darwin would have been proud! What happened was that I capsized the boat to phaff with the wand and when I pulled it up there, in a keen to please, front of the stage kind of way was a Jelly Fish. I was looking at him and that's what made stack it. Specifically I was thinking of the great Australian book "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Robert Bach and I was speculating whether I in fact found a jelly fish with the same kind of spunk as Jono Gull? But I wasn't paying attention and we went too high. Even the Jelly Fish was shouting "for Gods sake man pull the wand elastic!". but it was too late and the Jelly fish and I shot through the air in our own unlikely air show. I faired better than the Jelly Fish, which hit the mast. He will always be my inspiration.

We had an awesome sail today, Perth City slowly staggered into life after a fantastic Australia Day Sky Works celebration and John and I were late to meet the team. Well we dont have "England Day" do we? Unless I have missed it.... Last night we had the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd telling us all how great we are, and he meant me to! Never had that back home. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently challenged the UK to come up with a five word summary of what makes the place great. You know which phrase won? "Considering everything, we mustn't grumble"...

I tacked, gybed, swapped sails, got burned and had a thoroughly good time. I feel
I'm starting to settle in the boat. I may send it straight to Dubai for the event there in March, $3000 USD prize money...We'll see.


Friday, 25 January 2008

Another Orange

Australia seems quite classless next to the UK, the only housing estate I've seen was in Home and Away and people seem to live easily together. It can be quite confusing and I'm having to learn new rules. A tattoo doesnt necessarily mean you're a tosser and it seems Australia is made up of an ethnic mix and you are judged on what you are, not who. I've decided I like Bogans and its accepted that people come from different countries. I saw a beautiful Japanese girl today and although I'm hardly the karate kid it almost brought a new meaning to the term 'wax off"

We feel threatend in the UK. Why? Because keener harder working better qualified people are coming in and doing the jobs we cant be arsed to do. They cook they clean, they sweep.. The irony is that repulsed by this mass immigration Mr Middle England, threatened and desperate to maintain his idea of what the country should be..emigrates to Spain.

Jervois Bay Sailing Club is South of Fremantle. Its somewhere between a Club Med holiday and "Apocalypse Now". I sailed there today and it was great. Again a warm welcome and the breeze was 10 -12 knots. The guys were great. Among the kind members, seemingly all Rear Commodores (Drinking) we bumped into Philippe Péché who was a helmsman on Orange 2 when they took the Jules Verne sailing around the world in 50 days. Small world.

John went out on his board, but with not enough wind came in, I sailed in some of the best conditions ever, it reminded me of sailing here at the 505 Worlds some years back but I didnt sink this time. Anyway when I'd done practicing I had a max speed of 24.2 knots on the clock. Not bad and this new boat definately takes thing to the next level. The rudder mechansim is mercedes solid and she rocks down wind, absolutely silent with not one single litle bit of ventilation. Also I was realy please with the new KA MSL10b I was using today.

Its Australia day tomorrow. We are going to see the sky show!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Absolute Zero

There were only a few dog walkers at Nedland Yacht Club as John and I rigged the boat. It was hot at 36 degrees and I felt the same tingling that I often feel when I get in a moth. There are a couple of things that I've never been able to get over and sailing a moth is one. The law of diminishing margial returns dont apply. You know the law? You eat an orange, it taste great, so do the next two or three, but after the hundreth orange you are pretty sick of oranges right? Well my hundreth moth orange is every bit as good as the first.

The Fremantle Doctor was obviously on call and a underqualified locum came uncertainly towards us but you take what you get, especially on the national health, and a cool but patchy eight knots ensured the principals of sweating worked. My God though do you have to drink! I drank half a sandwich bars cooler and went for a wee and there was just a drip and a puff of steam! See how well I know you? I'm sharing the details! You're special. Anyway I'm now 66.7kg.

The boat and the KA are white. It looks like a footballers wife tetering home from a party. Well come on princess time to see if you are the real thing or just plastic.

Dolphins jumped as the nautical equivalent of a flying tampax shot towards them. Nothing worked apart from the boat. The toe straps were so long that my legs bounced around and everything needed adjusting, so lots of capsizing. A guy said to John, "Has he done that before?" Fair question. But when I'd got back in, the gPS read 21.9 knots. In 8 knots of breeze. Not bad. Then it went to sleep. Still on UK time

What can I say? The new flapless rudder is great, so much more effective than the old one. Both my old boats "hummed: as they went fast, this one is silent and as the breeze built so did my confidence in sending it down hill. The new wand means she's bolted to the sea, even when its bouncy

The new hull is very stiff, and feels very together and solid. The new foil sections were sensational with no ventilation of any sort and although this boat looks similar to the old Prowler its very different to sail. There's the new mast, new foil sections, the new rudder mechanism is effective with no play. The wing frames are lighter, the boat is 3 inches smaller in the bow and this particular sweetie is very very light coutesy of Advanced Composite group with a painted hull weight nowhere near 9 kilo's. Thanks guys, couldn't have afforded it myself.

Small house keeping note:
Greg. Have you been to the house and watered the plants yet?... If you can fit it into your busy day..


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Sail and Anchor

Is the name of the pub I'll be at tonight. Just a quick update, John and I have put in a couple of very long days and in 36 degrees its now important to rehydrate..! But the boat is ready and the forecast is 22 knots for tomorrow and the GPS is charged. I promise to post some pics then but right now Fremantle is calling!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

He aint heavy, he's my brother...

1. "Why's it a Zero? It must be how many races their gonna win" Mr Smug, Melbourne

2. Smile Jo! OK no thats fine... BTW your not allowed to see in the cockpit yet.

3. Will you go out with me baby?

Monday, 21 January 2008

Summer Camp

Christ! Whats that? An axe murderer has cut someones head off and is banging it on the roof. Automatically I protect myself by pulling the duvet a little higher.. I make my plan and decide I'll die a hero and I attempt to leap out of the caraven door.. but its darkish and I dont check .and I rebound off the fly screen and the noise stops. Jetlag reclaims me..

"I remember you..." I say to the sun as we meet for the first time in a long time time... and we spend a few minutes getting re acquainted. But hey its not for long as by 7.15am John and I were at Fastacraft Head office and busy getting a beautifully finished Prowler Zero ready for sailing. Also I'm relieved to hear that apparently sometimes English people can mistake playfull Magpies for axe murderers..

Anyway back to the boat and I'm impressed by it! You cant go wrong with white and I always think that its the best colour (Well I worked for a long time in Essex...) Anyway if all goes well we will be on the water Wednesday and I get to train for a week or so. First impressions? Shit its light! I've actually put a kilo on since starting at the gym beginning of January so thats just as well!

The Fastacraft building is clinically clean for a boat builder and I count three other Zero's awaiting finishing. Johns deputy Jo looks like he could kick the shit out of anyone, and probably has, but it turns out he's a passionate musician and his finishing touch is exactly that, the finish you see.

My boat is lined up next to the very close to being finished Scott Babbage's boat, I note his is slightly ahead..a quick nudge and I'm happy again. Pathetic the ego's of racing sailors.

I like Perth, I like the way it doesnt pretend to be anything its not, its a beautiful clean place with the Swan river its life blood snaking its way past too many sailing clubs and open space that makes a guy from Europe feel slightly exposed. I like the open and honest friendliness, I note how many clubs are perfect for moth sailing, yet there are none here, a great opportunity exists to have the Australian Nationals/Worlds here in 2011, at the same time as the ISAF worlds, I hope someone jumps on it, think of the publicity!

"Be our guest! Said Matt, the Commodore of Mounts Bay Sailing club, sail here all week and on Saturday why doent you join us for the party"? You mean no day sailing fee, no second class citizen, not feeling welcome, UK type feeling? Oh yes please Matt! Thanks. I may join just out of politeness!.

So theres lots to say about the boat, I'll post some pictures when I can but I'm not really here to advertise, to do PR, to sell anything, so I wont. I'm just here to sail up and down, and when I've done it once, to do it again.


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Size Zero

Okay here we go. This kicks off a new Moth campaign and in a few hours I go to Perth Australia to practice in the new boat. Well look outside! The weather is terrible, Britain is underwater, its raining so hard that if you looked up with your mouth open you'd drown, everything has been painted primer grey.. so it seems sensible right?

"Size Zero" is the new one, built by the king himself, John Ilett of Fastacraft fame. I will be able to post some pics over the next few days but an immediate thanks to Advanced Composites Group for their sponsorship and help in air freighting the carbon to Perth.

Anyway I hope you enjoy reading this, a blow by blow account of one guys attempt to win back the Worlds.