Sunday, 28 September 2008

Weight Loss

My Prowler Zero is now up for sale. I guess this weekends Tide Ride competition will be my last event in it. We won the Nationals together this year and I'm genuinely sorry to let it go. The Worlds didn't go our way but Neptune, the God of the sea had a hangover and it was tough for us all, in fact Neptune is also the eighth planet from the sun, and that's where I came.

Anyway the boat is wonderfully built and strong as hell and I am in debt to Advance Composites Group for the help they gave us in making it, also to John Ilett for once again delivering to a standard all others are measured.

If anyone wants a special little boat let me know. And make it quick, so I don't cry.

And that will give me time to do all the things your supposed to do when you aren't sailing, but this weekend, in the lightest of breezes, I ghosted around on foils leaving the other boys dead. A special feeling in my own little world where normal sailing rules don't apply, you do what feels right, even if you have to go back the way you came, gybe upwind and sail against the tide.

2006, when I won the worlds, seems a long time ago now, but I still want to win again, and this year has been tough, I was more disappointed in the worlds as an experience and organiser than my position but actually that is the worst Moth result I've ever had.

But I read in the paper today that Britain had been waiting 48 years to win an Olympic gold in women's swimming, which for me proves two things, firstly if you try hard enough, and are patient enough, it'll come again. And secondly women really do take a very long time to get ready...

Friday, 26 September 2008

It's the real thing...

The Mach 2 story as a press release which is going to on and off line media today.

The hot news is that Australian boat builder McConaghy has teamed up with Moth design guru and owner of KA Sail Andrew McDougall to produce a new foiler Moth at their China facility. McConaghy who built the V70 Green Dragon for Ian Walkers team and have recently put the new Alfa Romeo 3 on a ship bound for Europe are no strangers to Moths having built over 200 hulls. McConaghy and McDougall have always had a meeting of minds and it is rumoured that when they we’re free and clear of other obligations they decided to pursue the next generation moth together forming a new joint venture company.

Mark Evans McConaghy Production Director says “Moths have always been in the blood of this company. The Moth was one of the first boats built by founder John McConaghy back in the early 60’s and coincidentally his second Moth creation was called the Mach II. The Moth has been key to McConaghy pushing the boundaries of development and it is this history that has formed McConaghy’s corporate culture of design / build excellence. Starting with a blank sheet of paper and developing the ultimate Moth with Andrew McDougall gives us a level of control over the final project that is necessary for us to build the definitive Moth. The Moth is an exciting boat and pushes the limits from a development perspective, it’s creating new markets and we wanted to be part of it!”

Andrew McDougall saw the opportunity, “I’ve learned a lot about foils, sails and Moths and grew to understand how to make them faster, we wanted to make the Mach 2 capable of winning the world championships straight out of the box, yet easier to sail than any other Moth. Working with Mark has been a breath of fresh air and I’m really happy with the result!”

McConaghy and McDougall envisage customer boats being built at the rate of several a week from January and perhaps a sign of how important this project is to them both, is they have committed to a two boat testing programme with McDougall and Simon Payne, ex Moth World Champion and the man who’s been brought in to handle global sales and marketing, signing the boats off by competing in the Australian titles in Geelong in January.

“We’ve had an unprecedented demand” says Payne who has been using his own website to release information about the boat and although the joint venture is keeping the lid on some aspects of the project it’s rumoured that more than 20 boats have already been sold, with many of the top moth sailors already in the queue.

The Mach 2 is alleged to have a hull weight around 8.5kgs, a dreadnought bow like an “A” class cat and McDougall’s second generation foils tested by America's cup designer Jim Bungener, using state of the art computational fluid dynamics.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Weekend Warriors

Easterly breezes are always the ones where you set the fastest times in Chichester Harbour but by any standards one hour dead to the Nab tower and back is pretty good. Mike Lennon and I reached there and back in a cloudless sky, scooting along at 17 knots ish. Easy relaxed sailing in my boat but the enormous mainsheet loads on Mike's boat nearly crippled him!.

Anyway the tower is large and as I gybed around it I..err.. hit a yacht coming the other way! I ask you! That far out and the only the second thing I've hit all year, the first being Graham Vials.

And then back to club racing where Mike nailed the beat so well I was convinced he was gone and the race was over. Slowly slowly I pulled him back and a wind shift sealed it for me.

And then I made for the beach, but on this Indian summers day two girls and a boy wanted a ride. We two up foil gybed in front of the club and my Prowler was rock solid despite having at times, 130 kilos in the boat.

All the wand work has paid off and I feel really quick right now, you cant set Prowlers up like a BR and its taken me a bit of time to figure that out.

There are 20 Moths entered for the Tide Ride. That's the next event for me and given that you are allowed to pump and hit things, on recent form I should be OK!

Friday, 19 September 2008

The Vietnamese River Cobbler

I was in a perky mood when I left the gym last night, for no other reason than I felt better than I thought I would after a long hard workout. And the rowing machine does give me time to think, which I did.

I thought amongst other things about next year and doing things differently, for I would no longer be sailing a Prowler, but a new Mach 2. This decision is largely driven by the fact that another finishing line is out there somewhere for me to cross.

Yet any change, no matter how positive, often involves some form of loss and I was pondering this when I pulled up at Tesco's hoping to find a nice steak for dinner.

And as I walked the same way I've always walked around the store to fill the same basket with the same stuff, to get the same result, it occurred to me to stop, and do things differently.... And this thought thrilled me.

And so I walked the wrong way round the store and bought all sorts of things I'd never seen before, like a flat screen TV, and a Vietnamese River Cobbler, which replaced the steak, and was OK for fish that had traveled thousands of miles dead and was farmed in a sewer. Still I tried.

But when things are important, really important, you need to think harder and make more informed decisions.

The above picture is from Gaussian Curvature Graph software that is one of many tools we use to get the final shape of the Mach 2 foils as perfect as possible. This means the molds are as near as dammit perfect. Straight from the milling machine.

And this excites me greatly. That’s because I know the second most there is to know about the Mach 2 and whilst a milling machine may replace a hand faired hull and (just like the terracotta army) there will be lots of Mach 2's made, I do like character and there is more human element in this boat than any other moth project. Ever.

Sometimes you have to try things new, especially when there is another finishing line out there..

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Normal service.

My little boat flew yesterday in a harbour that strangley sparkled from a big yellow orb that hung in the sky. It was a late summers day and a breeze gently blew. After the worlds conditons I'd made so many changes that I didnt know where I was, and I'd gone round the houses to get any real gain. Yet I've changed my way of thinking recently and I'm going to optimise where I'm good and not compromise that in order to minimise where I'm vulnerable. That just breeds mediocrity, which you saw.

So yesterday with a wand paddle shaped after a discussion with Bora, I had great ride height and no ventillation. Up she came like a lift and I could sit on the back wing bar downwind and the boat stayed under control.

Against Mike I was ballistic up and down, but these were my conditions..Finally everthing felt just right. This AM I am writing it all down.

Geoff Carveth, who has won more titles than there are grains of sand on the beach, sailed Mike's boat yesterday, and in a dying wind, did a great job. Another convert. If anyone has a Prowler or BR for sail, he wants a good second hand boat within the next two weeks. Post on this site or contact Geoff if you can help..That will be boat number 10 at Hayling Island Sailing Club

The Tide Ride is on the 4th and 5th of October. Dont forget to enter this week!!

Friday, 12 September 2008

I Know You Got Soul

I woke up last night at 4.00am, I couldn't sleep so I got up and built myself a new wand. Then I went back to bed and when the real morning turned up, I thought my wand making had been a dream. But it was on the kitchen table when I went down to breakfast.. That was a nice surprise, especially in the marine industry.

I've been doing a lot of wand testing recently with Mike Lennon, he has more wands than Hermione Granger, but all my best ones have fallen off, or in half.

Yet I'm not sure I'm going any faster. I may have lost my settings because I've changed so much stuff and I acknowledge that I’ve never been good at cataloguing things. To this end I privately wish that Amac would put a "Save As" button on the new Mach 2 because that would help.

You don't really know this boat yet, but I hope you get to. Yet falling in love again can be difficult especially if you’ve been burned a couple of times before. Relationships are funny things and occasionally they disappoint us, even when we are at our most eager, or willing to be impressed.

I remember Rolf Harris telling me to "bugger off" when I asked for his autograph at the age of six...I still liked his show, but not him..

But with this boat, like it or not, you have no choice but to get bit of us, the designer, the builder and People are working hard, really hard, and whilst undeniably the boat will be fast, it will have a soul too.

And it’s good looking! Its nose is hidden because we can't show you that bit yet, but check out the wing bars, which are moulded to a shape which will make hiking out more comfortable. And they float.

I've read many comments on the blogs about this and other projects, And If I had a magic wand and not a carbon one I'd make them all succeed. But I don't, let’s just hope that all this competition brings out not only the best in products, but the best in people too.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Hello Boys!

"Hello Boys" was the slogan for the Wonder Bra. An invention that promised to have the same effect on a girls pulling power as feeding a guy ten pints of lager.

It was essentially a vice, created in lingerie, that squeezed an extra 10% from every type of clevage. They sold by the truck load.

So my apologises to DB Apparel, the company that owns the Wonder Bra brand, and a company for whom I nearly worked, I shouldn't have nicked their tag line. but when I saw the Mach 2 "little black dress" image above. Nothing else came to mind.

Price for complete boat is $17,475 USD ex tax, duty and delivery

Thursday, 4 September 2008

It takes a village to raise a child

I've been sailing moths for so long that, as someone once pointed out, I sold my first boat to Noah. Boats have changed, designers, sailors and builders have come and gone, but one thing that has remained consistent is the great culture we have. It was something that Major Tony Hibbert mentioned at the World Championship prize giving. People really care about the health of the class and I'd like to thank you all for the comments and emails you continue to send with regard to the Mach 2 project. I'm not going to post them, that's only because some of you talk at some length about your less than happy experiences in purchasing new moths.. But the good thing is that you tell us in no uncertain terms how it should be done. I respect that. We are listening. But dont pre judge.

Line drawing of the hull. Do you like it?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Hidden Dragon

At this years worlds Andrew McDougall was a very fast man. After a starting strategy that could best be summarised as "no, no after you.." he proceeded to sail through the fleet. He came past me and probably also you, pointing so high he quite literally split the wind in two. He was going very very fast indeed.

And now I can go that fast, and so can you. Because soon you will be able to buy the new "Mach 2". It's the latest International Moth design by Andrew McDougall, and it's marketed by me.

It’s built to be the fastest thing around, its next year’s boat in terms of design and also delivery. It won’t be available until January 09 but two boats will sail in the Australian Nationals at Geelong, and already hundreds of hours have been worked. This machine is being built right now.

So whats it like? Its less weight and more aerodynamic for starters, the foil design will, on their own, take boat speed to the next level and it's as sexy as a girl in a little black dress.

Yet its also available, it’s built by McConaghy. And if looks could kill, it probably will, it really is going to be as hot as the centre of the earth.

Pic is of the main foil in simulated flow test.

This design exists to win the world championships, yet the production intent is that every boat we build can win straight out of the box, and does not need any of the tweaks that other designs require... and with a finish that means you will be just as happy parking it in the driveway, as sailing it, I believe you will enjoy owning this boat.

But we also recognize you are buying more than just a boat, its an ownership experience and a relationship with us that frankly should be enjoyable, and starts when you click on the yet to be made website, send an enquiry, or just read this.

It’s on sale now. Want to know more?

More details here.