Sunday, 27 April 2008

Man and Boy

I've decided to find it salutary to finish 152 overall.. But who cares, it's handicap racing and with Moths sometimes you're the pidgeon and sometimes your the statue...

It was the Glyn Charles pursuit race and an incredible 215 dinghies came to Hayling Island SC to compete. It was a chance to remember Glyn, a good friend, who died in the 1998 Sydney Hobart, and raise money for the John Merricks trust.

Before the start I sailed around with my youngest son, just having fun and spending time together. Very cool.

Although warm and sunny it was pretty light and we were on foils for all but two legs, but they were a long to legs and I was reminded why I gave up sailing low riders..

Very proud though to have recieved the "top foiler" prize and thanks to the generosity of James and Toby at The Daily Sail I was able to donate 200 quid to the trust and buy myself a rig tension gauge.

Last night at a party at the sailing club I tried to drink my own body weight. Thank God the wind was light today.. Club racing was fun though and Mike Lennon, Tim Boon, Jason Belben and I got some good practice in.

Then I went to the gym, hopeful that after the work out my headache might go in the steam room...

Friday, 25 April 2008

Uninsured loss

I lost something the other day, it was very special and I really loved it. I quietly carried it everywhere with me and I will never get it back now. That's why there's been no blog recently. I've been worrying about it. Actually I may have lost it last year, and was too stupid to notice.

We have the Glyn Charles race this weekend. I start ten minutes after the 49ers. People are moaning about the seemingly harsh handicap but I think its OK. Handicap racing is fun and so let's not be too serious about it. I'll just be glad to be on the water, albeit a bit later than usual.

Thats good because it gives me a bit more time to keep looking.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Last years leaves

Are now just smoke in every lane where I live, never thought I'd learn from a gardener, but that's what you've got to do with last years leaves, they never come alive again.

At the airport in Italy I smiled because the shoe shine lady wore a short skirt and fishnet stockings. Admittedly she was a little shocked to be presented with a pair of Nike trainers but fuck it, I wanted a go. And the girl at the Ryan air check in called me Simon..

Its eleven weeks until the worlds. Time to rev it up a bit. The new mast is now the last piece of development, as that part of the programme is now closed. Anyway we go to Keil for Keiler Woche and maybe also to Holland to train, and whilst I'm fit, I could be fitter, and to put that in perspective I'm writing this with a glass of wine in my hand.

Ha! It dawned on me that even if we didnt have a World Championship, I'd probably, with the help of a magic wand, still sail this much..

Regarding the predictions and top five stuff, I havent figured out how to vote and anyway frankly I couldnt give a toss who turns up, or how fast they go.

Class of 08

Back home now after training the Swiss team on Lake Como. Although the weather wasn't good and we lost the last two days I'd like to thank all ten sailors for being excellent students and great team members, and it was really cool to make new friends as well as to be reunited with old ones.

Higlights of the week? Watching each person improve mainly, but also seeing Martin's boat, (very cool, you can tell he's a architect, it's definately not made of concrete). Seeing Arnoud sail a moth like I've seen few others, Jean Pierre's innovative and effective developments, and the complete and the utter lack of inflated egos that you find at events (except mine) Just people keen to learn and work together. I suspect one or more will do bloody well at the worlds this year, and I tend not to make those predictions lightly.

From Left, Coach, Tim, Florence, Patrick, Frédéric, Ernst, Samuel, Lukas, Arnoud and Martin. Not in picture Jean-Pierre (New Swiss IMCA President and behind the camera)

It dawned on me that I enjoy coaching as well. A new discovery!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Black Gold

I dont understand a lot of stuff. I'm still in awe of photocopiers and if someone told me that if I put freeze dried rice in the micro wave, I'd go back in time... I'd probably believe them.

But I do understand that windage is important, and that's why I cant wait to try my new mast from CST. It's beautiful, and at just 40mm dia should cut the drag down by quite a bit. Because its made from hi modulus carbon its also the same weight as my current mast... which is good.

It also has strong practical benefits, its so small you can actually get your hands around it to put the rig up in a breeze!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Das Boot!

Today at Lake Como. Its a hard life eh?

Here is Martin Zaeh's new boat. He particularly wants Doug and Felix to know that it flies...!! I have the video. I just cant post it...

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Swiss cheese

Another challenging day weather wise yesterday, no wind for most of it and then 20 odd knots at the end. Last night it snowed...

This guy is the star of the show. His name is Arnaud Psarofaghis, and he's bloody good. An ex 49er sail he only got his boat in February and within an hour of getting it he was gybing on the foils. Yesterday he was nearly tacking on them too. He's sailing is excellent, a future world champion I have not doubt.

He'll be up there at weymouth and he has more talent in his little finger than most Moth sailors have in their whole body

Monday, 14 April 2008

Lake Como

I'm at Lake Como in Italy coaching the Swiss moth sailors. We have ten boats,and amongst them 3 Bladeriders, a Prowler, and Martin Zah's beautiful new foiler. It's every bit as good as a professional boat and seems to go like hell. Anyway its raining today so Coach took the 9 men and one woman running to kick the day off. Right now its boat work until the wind comes... We had three practice races yesterday, great to see everyone foiling around so well although there were some tired people in the restaurant last night.. I'll post some pictures soon.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Harbour Masters

Yesterday I hit the water around three. Shortly afterwards I was joined by Mike Lennon and Paul Brotherton. It's funny how you just fall into a routine and no one has to say anything. You go to the bottom, beat up, tack after tack, and then down again. And then again. I'm very lucky to have such good sailors to sail against this year and although Paul has Olympic coaching commitments you should add Mike Lennon to the voting of who might be in the top 5.

Anyway its great to read all the predictions, F**ked if I know what will happen but I'd add a few in and take one or two off the current list, but it's all just theory. I'm just looking forward to my cottage by the light house and I may take some oils and paint. From a social perspective my Worlds house mate Mark Robinson is rumoured to be considering a small soirée at our place week before the worlds. That right Mark?

Today my boys helped me to rig the boat. I wasn't really happy with yesterdays settings. Anyway I'm buggered if I'm buying a rig tension gauge for 60 quid, so we improvised. The weight of one small child hanging off the forestay is the setting I'm on if anyone is interested.

My new CST mast should be at Carbonology by now. I'm hoping to collect it at a convenient time.. Its been ages in transit, and God knows where it is, but you shouldn't worry about things you cant control, I've learnt that.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

S Class

I've had a couple of days off with my boys and its been great! We've been in Devon with my parents and today I slipped away for half an hour to take my old Mercedes for a spin. It's in perfect condition and when it was made the '88 Olympic trials had just finished... and I was going... but only as tune up, having led most of the week. Yeah I know, you weren't born..

Anyway a lot has happened since then, and now half way through my Worlds programme it was time to take stock. And it seemed appropriate to do that on the rowing machine...

But this evenings mid programme insights were interrupted as Miss UK decided to row on the machine next to me. This was nice as normally I get the attentions of an eighteen stone boiler with a face like a bashed crab.

And she was awesome (in every way actually) but I started off well too and we found a natural rhythme, yet as the minutes went by I began to resent the mirror we were rowing in to. Her good looks were doing me harm..

This was because despite a cardiologist telling me 4 years ago and mid way through a messy divorce that I hadn't had a heart attack, that I'd got a huge heart and it was just in fact just trapped wind, and really I should find exercise easier than most... this time my heart was at ten tenths and seemingly intent on powering other organs too!

I spied on her T the words Cambridge/Oxford/Rowing/1998. This caused me to row harder ... Spectactulary I hit a personal best, Fastest 2500m I've done.

We left the changing rooms at the same time (planned) and mentioning her T shirt, I asked what boat she was on in 1998. She looked confused then smiled.

"Spectator" she said...

I'll keep you posted, but dont hold your breath...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Isle of White

Yep, good idea not to sail today....

Saturday, 5 April 2008

No ice thanks

It was minus one according to the race officer at the briefing.. It's Grafham Water open meeting and I know I go on about the cold but Christ it was! So much so that I bailed on the last race, I've never been sick in a moth yet but it was touch and go today.. The cold hurt my hands that much.

Race one, and on the last lap, with huge lead, I sailed into the Grafham version of the Bermuda triangle. The wind died and I sat there as every other part of the course had 15 knots, Rodney Patterson at one Olympics stopped at a leeward mark, because he was so far in front, and let the fleet catch up in order to sail in the same wind as them. I should have done that, but Tim Boon saw what had happened, gybed and sailed down the other side and won. Good for him, he's really sailing well.

The wait between races was torture, even Rambo would have talked, and at one point I'm pretty sure my eye froze shut.

Race two and as the breeze built, I was off, and nothing was going to stop me getting to the showers first. I was dreaming of being curled up in a duvet, watching an old black and white movie and eating Battenburg cake. I won by several minutes and that was it for me.

Some of the other guys went out for race three and I admire each and every one of them. The breeze gusted to 25, and the sleet was horizontal. Well done to Mike Cooke for taking the win.

It snowed on the way home and at one point I had to hide under a motorway bridge to prevent the hail stones damaging the boat.

The forecast tomorrow is just too cold to go sailing..I'm off to the video shop.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Hi Fidelity

The International 14 sailors wrote a letter of complaint to the club because we won by so much at the RNLI race. Their prerogative I guess, but last Sunday liquidated their argument as in the light stuff I didnt make the start on time despite leaving the beach early, and I got overtaken by a Topper on the first leg.

But there you go. In handicap racing, sometimes you're the pigeon... and sometimes you're the statue.

I guess everyone is worried about the Glyn Charles pursuit race coming up, where there are some great prizes, but I wont be there, I'm in Italy for a week.

Anyway I'm thinking a bit more about the Worlds and have booked a cool little cottage on Portland Bill, right next to the light house. Not unusually for a light house its on a cliff and it did dawn on me that the bedroom might illuminate every few minutes...which puts me on high alert.

Last time that happened I had to buy the negatives.

Anyway I'm sure it will be fine, but if you sleep walk, you're fucked. And as the particulars said, it's possible it might be noisy when its foggy..

A wild party in London on friday night left me minus several brain cells and despite my best intentions I missed the last train eight hours. I slept on a bench and woke up with a slight dusting of snow down my left side...

Anyway its all good training.. for Grafham Water open meeting this weekend.