Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Striking the colours

Holding a passport allows UK citizens to exercise one of their fundamental rights, that of leaving and re entering the country. Getting one however is a crusade and that's because when its summer and holiday time, the fuckers at the passport office are on strike. No wonder people hide under the axles of trucks to get into the UK, they are probably just bloody tired of waiting..

Now some may argue that the right to join a trade union, and the right to strike, are as fundamental as free speech. If you don't have them, you're not an employee but a serf, and a society that outlaws strikes isn't free.

I think that's rubbish. It's well timed and meant to cause maximum disruption by blinkered selfish individuals too thick to realise that in time, this and other administrative services, are best outsourced to China.. Their actions are just speeding that process up, particularly as one of their complaints is that they don't think the service is efficient enough...

This means I may have to get to the US nationals in the wheel arch of a 747.

Anyway I've been experimenting with wands recently and the conclusion I've come to is that the standard BR one is probably the best. It's stiff and with a relatively high swing weight (new term) you don't need much elastic tension. Anyway the boat feels really good with it. I have tried an AMAC style "broke back" wand with a paddle which is good upwind but down it creates some drag which has a noticeable effect in the light winds we've had here. I think it will be great in a breeze but for now its off the boat mainly because it makes an incessant "chat,chat,chat" noise all the time and reminds me of an ex.

This pm I've promised the kids at the club that they can have a go in my boat. I've had to refuse a few, which isnt easy, one in particular just can't sail, but we should get a few new recruits down at Hayling Island and they should have fun.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

American Beauty

I keep learning. This week I've learned that you shouldn't cycle in flip flops and go to the loo when you've just cut chilli's. I've learned that our new prime minister is no leader and I've learned that importantly also, he's a twat.

But most of all I've learned never to say I will not sail again. Because I will.

After the worst worlds result I've ever had, after arguably the most effort, I was all set to pack up and head for the hills. Literally.

Ok the weather was a bit challenging in Weymouth, at our club you dont go out in that, because with three knots tides, you get mullered... But my speed! An asthematic ant with some rather heavy shopping would have gone into the wind quicker...

The only good bit about the worlds was all the nice people I met.

Anyway, I learned alot from Amac. We spent some time together after the event and I listened, which when you've won 1 worlds, 3 europeans and a couple of nationals in four years can be tougher than you think..Why? Because you arrogantly think you know it all and you dont.

So I'm pleased to say that with radically different boat settings I was delighted with my speed at err.. Mengham Regatta at the weekend. The boat really did feel great, and whilst drinking tea and eating cake after the race an elderly lady came up to me and politely asked what handicap I thought they should apply to my race time.. I winked and said "600 should do it", and promptly came .. third.

But I'm back at the gym and although I've replaced the rowing machine with pizza eating, cos I'm still 64 kgs, I'm in training again. That's because I'm going to sail in the American National Championships at The Gorge in Oregon this August!

Tom Driscoll has kindly lent me his new Prowler and I cant wait to meet all the American moth sailors, and see what this fabled and beautiful place is really like!

Monday, 21 July 2008

CST Masts and Booms

Just to let you know I have 3 CST 40mm high modulus carbon fibre masts in stock, and due in shortly 3 of the new CST high modulus carbon fibre booms as used by new World Champion, John Harris and the super fast runner up Andrew McDougall.

You really will feel the difference! If you are interested please do let me know.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Anyone seen this on Sailing Anarchy? Should be a light wind event then..Incidently they managed to upset our volunteer press officer at our two day worlds which I think was poor form... She was just trying to keep the planet informed. We would have mentioned the US competitors anyhow boys, even if, like me, they didnt quite do as well as forecast. Manners maketh man no?

Talking of forecasts...

"The heavy air excitement continued on Day Two of the 2008 505 North American Championship held at Cascade Locks, Oregon. Being sailed in the Columbia River Gorge, this year's competition is being held as part of the Gorge Games. 33 boats have entered, and more than a few have suffered some wounding in the extreme conditions of The Gorge.

On Friday, the Columbia Gorge Racing Association veteran race committee fired the starting gun on three races held in breezes ranging from the low teens to mid-twenties and the usual Gorge two-foot chop. Racing began early in the morning as the RC aimed to pull off more starts before the breeze kicked up to nuclear. Courses were windward / leewards twice around and lasted roughly forty minutes apiece. Competitors were sent ashore following the third race at 1300 to wait for more manageable winds. However the thermal continued to develop and the RC had flags “N” over “A” flying by 1400. Racing was abandoned for the day.

The damage report for the day was a much shorter list than Thursday's: 1 broken mast, 1 damaged deck, and 1 torn mainsail. Following racing, a raffle was held with gear donated from the regatta sponsoring companies, Zhik, West Marine, Fisheries Supply, and Kam Gear"

Should eat lost of burgers lads... Oh you do.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Oregon Trail

I was supposed to have a dream last night where I took off on my motorbike and had the greatest adventure, I re met someone, got married, and found gold. But the dream wasn't like that because I took off on a motorbike, and then got woken up.

It was Amac coming back from Germany...

When I went back to sleep I was travelling light and on my own, and somehow wound up in a sleezy gaff where drunk truck drivers watched dead eyed hookers flick flack down the bar. Guess not every dream turns out OK.

And that's what I did preparing for this worlds, travelling light and training on my own wasn't great, and possibly my biggest error. Sure things would have been different if the wind was, well, how I dreamt it would be, but it wasn't. Anyway I didnt have much choice. What the fuck, dry your eyes princess and harden up a bit.

My boat is good but I learnt too late about the importance of lift from the main foil on the works, knocking it back to stay in the water downwind is the equivalent of an upwind handbrake, and it needs better control to compete with the others with an aggresive angle of attack.

But I know what to do now.

Amac, who has been staying with me, sailed it the other day and has given me a wand.

Actually we've had fun...Except I cant find the masters trophy.

Do we live to fight another day? Sure...

Friday, 11 July 2008

Over and out

Congratulations to John Harris from Australia, the new 2008 International Moth World Champion. John made the most of both days of racing keeping his nerve to hold off the other 99 boats. He's a great guy and we have a worthy and popular champion!

Congratulations to Arnoud Psarofaghis from Switzerland who is the new European Champion, I'll have to find something else to put in that corner of the room now...

I finished 8th, never really got to grips with the conditions, but although I'm dissapointed, I met some excellent people.

So there you go, a journey over, a new one to begin.

Blown backwards

Lying eight after day one, or the peunltimate day, which ever way you care to think of it. Struggling a bit in the big winds but its good fun racing and it's just as windy today. John Harris and Andrew McDougal showing us how its done..

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Veerry Niicce

We are back in one fleet tomorrow! Finally we will have 100 boats on one line! Doubtful again for today but a good (by AGM standards) meeting, even if some of the guys in the crowd got a little creative with their laptops...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Where there's life, there's hope..

And here there isnt...Did he do it deliberatley? I speculate he did. We took this photo in our house here this week. The insect eqivalent of throwing yourself in front of a train. Guess the fly knew what was coming. You can only take so many low pressures at a world championship.

Yes you guessed it, no racing today. 30 knots...again.

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Revenge of Gaia

Getting old waiting. From Left Bora Gulari, Scott Babbage, Matt Belcher, John Harris...

We lost day one yesterday, too extreme to sail, and today is looking terrible as well. We already have 40 knots in the harbour.

We may race later, but its not looking good and by way of an omen the they can't get the postponement flag down.. its stuck up the flag pole.

The outlook? Tuesday is by these new standards less angry yet still on the limit but just dont mention wednesday....

It's possible that this world championship could be decided over two days...

The top guys are bearing up with well though but Bora Gulari is walking round with a knife, John Harris has taken caffeine addiction to new heights and Andrew McDougall is making "beeping" sounds.

I feel OK, tired of being on standby but OK I guess.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

God's Fist

Yesterday we were battered, Hobie 16's skated through the dinghy park and anchored Moths strained at their leashes. Torrential rain brought zero visibility and the practice race was cancelled.

Shame, the only time we would have seen 100 foilers on one start line.

Today we are in fleets, red and yellow, 50 boats in each, and the World Championships start for real...In theory.

My fleet looks tough with John Harris, Bora Gulari and Andrew McDougall to race against, but so does the other with Scott Babbage, Matt Belcher and Arnaud Psarofaghis and Graham Vials...

But again the Armageddon conditions mean that the race office is putting all his hopes on a two hour weather window at 1400 hours. Hmmm..Its already 30 knots and we are on a postponement.

Rest of the week looks the same. Shit.

Last night, with 40 knots and the highest tide of the year Portland Race was awesome, smashing waves into the Brittany esque coast that had us in awe. We crept to the craggy edge and then bolted for a rock as all hell broke loose and waves with the power of God's fist smashed all around us.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Second Mouse

Am back home, a nice retreat after a few tough days. First and foremost to see my son's school play, which I made by the skin of my teeth, and also a welcome break and retreat from the Mothosphere that is Portland.

We've had breeze this training week and we are going to get more, perhaps too much to race...But these last few days the big guys have been showing their metal, and frankly its impressive.

But that was yesterday, the regatta hasn't even started yet, and when its medium I hold my own and when its light I am ballistic. Anyway I can't change my weight, I can only be the best version of myself and that's what I aim to be.

Maybe the wind will go down and the second mouse will get the cheese...Forecast have been wrong before..