Thursday, 24 December 2009

Carry on Doctor

Ouch Ouch and fucking Ouch and Santa has bought me some crutches for Christmas. Only my medical records made me smile with the wonderfully ambiguous sentence "Damaged knee while constantly sailing for 25 years".

If only...About 6 hours is a good as it gets these day.

The general anaesthetic wasn't a pleasant experience and possibly, and in hindsight, was made worse by staggering in at one that morning having consumed a barrel of beer and a curry in lieu of a good nights sleep.

But help is at hand and my parents are up, and although my mum would ideally have put the vegetables on last Thursday, and is still eyeing the microwave with some suspicion, Christmas dinner will be great with the family.

But pleasant thoughts of sailing at Pro Vela, Dubai and Silvaplana without a damaged knee means that my campaign has started already, although admittedly in a hospital.

A wonderful Merry Christmas to all the guys I've raced against this year both at HISC and on the curcuit, and all my friends and fellow Moth sailors. May you put on loads of weight for a great, and hopefully lighter, 2010 ;-)


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Mock the week

Saturday morning and I'm there with the guys, eagerly looking at the results, swapping war stories and kicking back in a sailings version of a post coital nap.

The only problem is they are in Sydney and I'm on skype.

Its SIRS regatta and I'm green with envy. I've not really thought about racing for a while but I knew it would come back. The Devil wears carbon.

Dave Lister is the man, winning the dash for cash and the first day of SIRS. He is showing exceptional downwind speed, the tricks of which he passed on to Little Dave who used it to win the Worlds. No twisting tiller for Big Dave, just a bit of rope and a tilting gantry (a al International 14's) married to a very small and symmetrical rudder horizontal.

John Harris '08 World Champ is picking up speed in his new Mach 2 in the same way the "Flying Scotsman" picks up speed. Slowly and puffing at first, yet when going almost impossible to stop.

The dash for cash saw 16 boats and Big Dave won whilst JH and Nathan came together in the same way tectonic plates come together and this leaves me wondering whether Colin Newmans "fired out of a circus cannon" helmeted look isn't more sensible than I thought.

Scotty, who would probably have been favorite, missed the dash for cash in favour of the office Christmas party, Swot.

This week saw the boys at McConaghy donate a new Mach 2 to the children's charity "Variety". A magnificent gesture from Mark and Jono, in possibly the most challenging economic times for many many years. The boat will be on eBay 21st of January if you fancy a bid.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Reign in Spain..

Ever had the feeling that you are about ready to take on the world? Only problem is you really only get that feeling just after the last race of a major regatta?

And with the (probable) plus 100 boat European Championships in Switzerland in August it would be a shame if that was to happen again right?

Now however there's an event at Pro Vela in Mar Menor, Spain where you can get in shape, have fun and do yourself justice when it counts.

Here's the press release. I hope to see you there!

The Theory:

A week of Moth sailing where the focus is on having fun and learning loads! Coaching and technique clinics from Simon Payne, and racing as it should be..... friendly and just great fun! Short course, slalom, long distance and speed with a flexible approach to ensure everyone has a great time! With a safe, warm, learning friendly environment where the motivation from the organisers is an event for Moth sailors by Moth sailors!

The Venue:

Warm, Flat water, great sea breezes in the afternoon and awesome onshore facilities. Plentiful flights from all over Europe, accommodation types to suit all pockets and all within easy reach of Northern Europe!

The costs: In the region of...(very dependent on numbers) £600

Includes: Return boat shipping from one point in UK, 3 days Coaching with Simon Payne, Boat storage in security compound, and all on-water activity /racing and anything else we can pull together as we gather momentum and attract sponsors....

The other costs are:

4 *Hotel right next to the centre from €38.50 pp/ night

Bunk room accommodation at the venue from €9 pp/ night (limited availability)

At this stage of planning we have all sorts of possibilities...a truck driving down Europe collecting boats? Family rates in the hotels and apartments? Extra training days?

If you are seriously interested or would like to get involved please let Alan Hillman know on or call him on 0044 7917 678299, 0034 6098222488 or skype alanhillman.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

British Airborne

November is here and I miss my Mach 2. The US Worlds seems so far away now. Here is cool little video expertly shot by Anja Rupp at Cascade Locks. Some nice foiling tacks (the Brits can do 'em too boys).
I still dont know what caused the crash at the end but I think I may have hooked the bouy anchor line..??

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Shadow Keeper

Nobody ever reads instructions, we always try to wing it and work the device as if we were the creator. This is OK if the device is a camera or a gps but its not really ok if it's a fire extinguisher. Reading the instructions by the light of the fire you are trying to put out I once found is an intense experience.

And in a way that feels a bit like Moth sailing these days. Always frantically trying to get prepared before the event. I've still got the remains of a suntan from the Gorge and already I'm well into planning for the next Worlds. South of France training, boat directly to Dubai etc

These days it seems that as you stand listening to a closing speech you are also reading the NOR of the next one.

We had the European championships in June 09 and by August 2010 we will have had two worlds and two Europeans in a 13 month period. Christ! I was European Champions from 1994 to 1997 only because no one organised anything, but now it's all go as the class expands and if we are all to keep up then we need to get more efficent. Of course you dont have to do them all. But with 64 Mach 2's sold, we do, and I'm not complaining.

And if anything it means you value your time away from the race track more, in the shadows a bit for while.

But other than putting the notice of race, the sailing instructions, the briefing and possibly the welcoming speech on podcasts I can't really think of how to make it better. It's great already.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Running from Jordan

Everywhere I go I see that woman's face, and it alone make me want to leave the UK. Trouble is I can't, with no boat and no event I might see January here for the first time in years. Recently I've been very lucky to travel to the southern hemisphere, either Perth or Melbourne, and it always seemed to make me feel that I'd hit a fast forward button and then stopped it at a good bit in my own little movie, fortunately missing most of the unforgettable part that is winter in the UK.

Yet I'm preparing for winter here, maliciously hoping that "What Katie did next" would be final and the only reminder of down under is that twat she's married to.

A fast forward movie of the Tide Ride at Hayling Island Sailing Club yesterday would reveal a manic blur of ascending and descending boats being slung from stationary to warp speed. The wind would be 10 knots then nothing then 10 again. Yachts would shoot by at 20 times faster than they are supposed to go and if you looked carefully you might even catch a quick glimpse of a rapidly vibrating mainsail.
A few frames later you might see the leader lap all but two other competitors in this crazy race and if we also had a sound track you would hear frequent high pitched squawks coming from a couple of boats. Thankfully undecipherable as remember we are on fast forward.

Rod Harris won. He is establishing himself as a guy who is still improving where others seem to have stopped.

It was best to be watching yesterday, especially holding a gin and tonic, and accordingly easy to criticise too, so I wont. Suffice to say that it wasn't a great movie, let down by the plot, and I was very glad that I wasn't amongst the cast.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Words have meaning and names have power

Lot's of discussion about the Moth Cast, which I'm a fan of actually. Although the sound is so low I can barely hear it, and the gaps are so big between the words that you can wake up refreshed before the next one, but I do like the opinion, although occasionally its a little inaccurate.

Anyway no matter, but if you throw a few stones either intentionally or otherwise you must expect to get a few thrown back and you shouldn't feel too put out when someone says you are talking bollocks. It goes with the territory. And you probably are.

But its still good, and runs well. I admire Bruce, although I have no idea what drives him to do this, but I do think he's on to something despite the fact that its clearly hard getting tall people to speak fast.

Anyway I delight that the Australian season is staring up, I like the debate and "handbags at dawn" spats which is good for the class. By bringing issues out into the open they get discussed, addressed and dealt with.

In the UK we had Simon Propper.

Simon was web editor for the UK website when I was President and we had our moments. ..Threatened with everything from lawsuits to physical violence he still made his points, the seriousness of which was missed by the easily lead self congratulatory divisions who want to shout "Oh bravo!" at every opportunity.

Now, with a healthy class and us both replaced by more talented and youthful females I see Simon is writing again, this time about his holidays.

I'd like you to read this. Its on the UK site. Its very good.

Monday, 24 August 2009

American Boy

Home at the end of the day photo ThMartinez/Sea&Co

Well done to Bora Gulari, a popular guy and a great World Champion. He worked harder, trained longer and went quicker than anyone else. He deserved his victory and I'm sure there will be more.

I ended up 5th, just behind Dalton and in front of Rohan. I took out a few races, but unreliable starting combined with 65kg wet-through meant unless I got that right I was easily buried. Also I stacked it a couple of times when I shouldn't really have. Anyway I didn't give up and a top 5 in that company is alright.

For Mach 2 it was a very successful event.

I think it was Murray Walker the racing driver commentator who said "The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical".. That didn't quite apply to us, but to have 4 Mach 2's in the top five was fantastic and to borrow a strap line..

"There's a new champion in town..."

The Worlds I think represented a tipping point for the class. The media coverage was unprecedented and the work of the USA IMCA committee in particular Nigel Oswald, who surely has an alternative career in event management, and Charlie McKee was exceptional. "On the Water Anarchy" in the form of Alan an Merideth Block did an outstanding job and I honestly could not believe the number of spectators on the bleaches after the slalom and on the final day where there must have been a couple of hundred.

Not massive by other sports standard but for sailing, that was Woodstock.

But the most impressive thing is the quality and depth of the class. You cannot compare it to when I won in 06, its sooo different. The game has moved on and the US and AUS classes are very strong with hot sailors.

So role on Dubai, The winds are said to be lighter and it's only six months away. I will do it and please God, it would be nice, just once to go down the run and think to myself "What's the best way to get round the leeward mark?" rather than "whats the best way to get round the leeward mark without stacking it.."

Saturday, 15 August 2009


Leading Dalton and Bora photo ThMartinez/Sea&Co

Sorry for the false alarm, (and thanks for the nice comments) but I managed to race today and it went OK. A cartilage torn in two and some mild ligament strain was the damage report from yesterday. The knee brace helped although I had a sleepless night, mainly texting back home. Knowing that I wasn't going to cripple myself and it was just going to be weak/hurt made the decision easy. Also I still remember those words from Roger Angell all those years ago..

"Its not the size of the dog in the fight..."

So the first race went ok, I finished 7th, not a bad result in this company, but not great either. I had good speed and got out the line OK. Bora won it and the gap between him and Nathan got smaller.

The next race I felt good and got out the start well. I went round the top mark fourth and pulled up to second on the next beat.

All the time I was smiling, and on each tack err.. wincing. The tacks were bad actually.

On the final run I wanted to sail in the flat water, just to make it home. I went right, Arnaud left, and I snuck it on the line. Funny that I'd be winning another race after yesterday.

I can recommend the pain killers.

In the final race I did the gybe of doom after working hard to pass Rohan down wind. I just fucked up the gybe, that's all. But unforgivable on my part. In this race Charlie McKee broke his hand in a pitchpole and was off to Hood River Hospital. He still completed the last race though..Get well soon Charlie!

After a nice evening with the Camp Epoxy boys and Meridith and Alan Block, its now time for bed...

Tomorrow will see a new World Champion.


Friday, 14 August 2009


Today was a horrow show, on only one leg I sailed and sailed badly. Each race I capsized three time plus just tacking. Crossing the line in the second race I was white and physically sick with the pain. I started the third race but had to sail in at the windward mark. I was taken to the hospital in Hood River. I had X Rays and other tests. The doctor replicated tacking and hiking. I screamed.

I now have a splint from ankle to thigh. Fuck. I hadnt planned on it ending like this.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Dont stop 'til you get enough..

Lay day today and yes I sailed. I wanted to test out some more mast rake, my Swiss made ride height control system and toe straps that I'd moved further outboard.

It all worked OK. The boat felt better balanced upwind and I was still OK down (I think.. ) I was sailing (briefly) with Nathan and Kevin Hall but everyone was trying new things and there was no datum, in fact we could all have been going slower..

But I didnt have to capsize to adjust my foiling height, and the changes to the toe straps made my 65kg's feel more effective. It hurts more than before but unless I can rev it up a bit upwind the alternative will hurt worse..

But one of the reasons I sailed was because I wanted to. The rain had stopped. A few boats were out, there was nothing else to do and what better way to enjoy the afternoon thatn belting around at 20 knots with your mates.

Anyway.. it all starts again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Mixed Feelings

Arnaud and me, mid gybe, fellow Mach 2 sailor Jonathan McKee in the background photo ThMartinez/Sea&Co

About half way through now and its close at the top and good day for the Mach 2's yesterday taking out every race.

There was very little wind as we rigged up, I was out early, mindful of what the race officer said about starting on time. When we started though there was plenty of breeze and Scott and I hit a great first beat to round one and two. In those conditions I was fast although with a knee injury from day one I struggled to tack from starboard to port quick enough. I took the lead down wind and lost it again up. On the final run I saw the line from a good way out and luckily got a gust which meant I could hold a long starboard with only a small gybe to the finish.

My first race win and a good way to start the day.

Scott, Arnaud and Bora shoot it ThMartinez/Sea&Co

Unfortunately it could only get worse, and it did. Two sixth's meant I'm in fourth overall at the half way stage. Other Brits; Adam May is in 14th, Andrew Friend is 21st and James Phare 35th.

Bora had a great day with an 11, 1,1 and So did Nathan with a 4,2,2. Bora seems the quickest boat, his 82kg coming into its own but tactics are important here too, Arnaud Psarofaghis also had a good day with a 3,3,3 and its going to be really interesting to see who winds up World Champion

The racing is great, only matched by the atmoshphere and the chat in the evening was about how we could take the class to the next level by changing the racing etc.

Today we are on a layday, good for me and after a near 12 hour sleep, with ice an ibruprofin cocktail I feel much better. I really was out of gas yesterday pm for some reason. This pm when the rain stops, I have some boat work to do, and if I'm up to it a little more testing to improve my upwind speed in a breeze

The AGM was effective and well run by Mark and Adam, the Dubai worlds next year seem well organised and top ten in the World get to take their place as their sail number like the 49ers and current ex World Champions get to have a gold Moth symbol on their sail. Also a strong desire to move to 15 races per series, with a view to 18 after Dubai.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Day 1 at the Moth Worlds

The girl at breakfast wasn't really concentrating, Even as I repeated myself it was clear she had that "am I bovvered" look written all over her, and at my third attempt of ordering she looked again uncomprehendingly at me and said " do you speak English?"

"I am fucking English" I replied without adding anything insulting.

It was then I knew I was in for an interesting day.

Me and Nathan downwind.... photo ThMartinez/Sea&Co

It was great actually! When you're my size you have to work hard in this breeze. Today I was reminded that sailing requires lots of water, mainly perspiration. Anyway, always best to work while you have the light and I had a few good starts, decent beats and buggered up a few windward mark approaches. I had problems keeping the cams on and had two off at one stage on the run. Convinced that this was slow I actually gained a place.

Most intense moment was gybing and getting putting my tiller extension between the outhaul rope and clew on the sail. Extracating myself was fairly hard.

Bora gybing, photo ThMartinez/Sea&Co

Putting the cam back on downwind was easier than I expected, because I expected to capsize and get my head stuck somewhere in the shrouds.

But it was close racing! And its hard not to just enjoy it, Christ, people dream of this and we are doing it, I'm counting my blessings and keeping things in perspective, Sometimes I find it quite spiritual out there, looking at the scenery before the start and stuff. I'm not really religious but I find it a damn site easier sitting in my Moth thinking about God than sitting in a church thinking about my Moth.

It was medium conditions, maybe 18 knots at the end and in the gusts. Nathan had the best of the day, Bora did well and so did Dalton. I'm lying fourth and Arnaud is fifth. Scott and I were royally fucked by the barge that came through, due to the wind shadow and wake, and where we should have crossed in 2nd and 3rd in the last race, we didn't. The races are only about 25 minutes long, but thats enough, this is tough racing, the games moved on.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Formula Aqua

Bora Gulari.. Fastest man in Cascade locks.. Photo Thierry Martinez

Yesterday we had the Velocitek Speed Challenge and the North Sails "dash for cash" Moth slalom. Mach 2 rider Bora Gulari was $2000 richer at the end of the day as he claimed both prizes. With a lighter breeze we had to chase the wind upstream towards Hood River to get a fast time and Bora eventually came back with (I think) a 25.4 knot ten second average.

Getting it wrong.. Practicing at the gybe mark before the slalom start.. Photos Thierry Martinez

The slalom was excellent. Rohan did a great job as the MC and kept the crowds interested, informed and entertained through an hour and a half's racing that was so close to the shore that if you got your gybe wrong you wound up on the grass. I won both my heats and made the final along with Bora, Scott, Rob Gough, Arnaud and Dalton. My plan was to stay low and go for bouy room at the first gybe but the wind died and we all struggled to get onto the foils. It was great racing though and I think shows the way for how Moths can compete together in the future. Finally sailing, a true spectators sport!

It was a good atmosphere in the evening with beer being served and the spectators and competitors mixing togther. Arnaud built on an existing theme to create the "boom of doom" complete with automated beer loading device. Even the Major of Cascade Locks had a go!

A good day in a breeze I'm a bit more suited to. Racing starts tomorrow so it gets serious again.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Rough and Tough

Its a bit lighter at the windward mark.. Photo by Thierry Martinez

The American Nationals have finished, time for everyone to rest a bit and service their kit. I did 3 races of the seven race series, I scored a 6th (I think), 2nd and 3rd. Today I came in to avoid some damage getting worse. But it's tight racing and I feel I'm gradually getting into it, but whether its too little too late I guess we'll see next week. Nathan won (I think) but Scott Babbage has made a big move and won two races today.

Arnaud Psarofaghis in the big breeze.. photo by Thierry Martinez

We have the Slalom event and Speed Trials tomorrow, hopefully it will warm up a bit. Its pretty cold here!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Burger Boy

My boat still isn't here and it's hard to sit on the shore watching people sail. I've got that same feeling that I get in queues, listening to slow talkers and watching people eat. Its a feeling of helplessness mixed with irritation not assisted by being in the "great outdoors" where people who tuck their shirts in, and open doors on railway trucks make me nervous. People are friendly, yet the town is small and basic, and I've noticed several things. No one wears make up, even the roughest and toughest have manners and say "Hi" (unlike the UK) and clothing seems to be purchased purely for its function. This last point in particular makes every day feels like "casual friday", and time just drifts... Without a boat.

People still believe the weather forecast though which is charming.

But theres not much to do.. and even the Bridge of the Gods, is too freekin low to commit suicide from,

Miles to go to the Worlds and yes it was nice to watch the guys sail yesterday in the big breeze. Bora was fastest apparently in "clunk, click smile on impact" type conditions but all the Mach 2 sailors were going quick. I detect a certain tension in the dinghy park as all the big players seek to get one over on the other guys.

This will be a good Worlds with the added benefit of the Velocitek Speed Challenge and the slalom racing to make it more fun. Its been windy so far but really we need, and are likley to get, a mixed set of conditions. That would suit me best I think.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

An unfortunate event

CNN on a slow news day have just published the results of their "Mans Greatest Achievement Survey". Oddly the lunar landings were not on the list at all which was made up of woeful replies likes the "computer" or "fire" (which wasn't exactly man's achievement) and were followed by even more unrelated entries like "world peace" (which simply proves people don't listen to the question). Anyway a very thin article

Of course you and I know that man's greatest achievement is the Cat Flap, but like those in the survey you are probably too scared to suggest it, driven by a mandate to be come up with a seemingly profound and deep answer.

Anyway here's mans worst one. It's Lycra.

Let me explain. Years ago, and normally after Christmas you had to diet to get back into your clothes. That doesn't need to happen any more because Lyra just says "I'll be any size you want me to be", and that's why we have so many overweight people. Lycra first appeared in Star Trek and the only reason we had "The next Generation" was because the original lot were at the clinic getting stomach bands fitted.

So what is man's greatest achievement in Sailing do you think? Rope advancement has to be up there, as does building materials. All significant but is Hydro foiling one? Darwin would be proud. We are learning to fly all over again and without an engine too.

Nope, the most significant invention was made by Doug Culnane at the European Championships this summer. Most people put the cover on backwards, inside out or sideways 78% of the time. Doug is making one out of prisoner uniform material, and all the arrows point to the front. Utter brilliance and right up there with the Cat Flap.

Anyway its kinda hard to think of doing well in the Worlds having just come last in the Nationals.. I intended to do well, despite arriving a day late, but I had a breakage and on a wet beach in Wales, with one umbrella between 37 sailors and a lone battery powered dremel, I knew when I was beaten. So this past few days I've been fixing the boat and it now incorporates a lot of elements from the less glamorous side of the periodic table.

Congratulations to Australian Moth National Champion Nathan Outteridge for winning the 49er Worlds in lake Garda. He'll be at the Gorge and what racing it will be!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

My form guide - more lies ahead

This is my first and possibly last ever form guide for the worlds. And only for the people that I know. Its quite possible that it's right but its more likely that its wrong and it's based on my warped syntax rather than any logical theory.

So here we go.

1st place overall.

Arnaud Psarofaghis. Switzerland

Physically lazy, mentally strong and battle hardened recently. Will probably win by miles unless I can lead him a stray with a few well timed night outs down the local strip club. More talent in his little finger than most have in their whole body. Annoyingly good and a reminder of how it could have been if motorcycles, alcohol and women hadn't got in the way.

2. Nathan Outteridge. Australia. Seemingly perfect sailor and looks like the bloke from that gay cowboy film. Accordingly might attract persistent, distracting and unwanted attention from the locals.. I could be wrong, but don't drop the soap mate.

3. Amac. Australia. If he was a horse you might shoot him but now seemingly the Benjamin Button of Moth racing. Will redefine what fast is. Starting and tacking are areas of concern. New starting procedure as follows.

a. Wait for starting siren
b. Drain glass.
c. Confidently engage full ahead.

Tacking procedure as below

a. Wait for layline or shore
b. Drain glass.
c. Purposefully push helm down
d. Alight onto centreboard

4. Scott Babbage. Europe. Rumours from down under says he's fast with something in reserve, actually Italian so arguably on our side for the Ashes series.

5. Charlie McKee. USA. Form, grace and style. Will go ballistic if anyone starts pumping. Rightly.

6. Rohan Veal. Australia. 20 knots upwind indicates a rigging error and the subsequent use of rope as a tiller extension. So low he will be knocking holes in the banks of the Columbia River. Entirely possible Rod nicked the original to use as the "tiller of doom".

7. Bora Gulari. Excess windage and a choice of too much kit could be his downfall. Rumoured to have 10 masts. Good news for the organisers as the sponsorship didn't stretch to event flag poles...Pick the right stuff though and he'll fly. And the helicopter won't.

8. Kevin Hall. Will bugger off into the distance like the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel run in over 20 knots. Will hold his own in a lot less.

Others to watch:-

- Dalton Bergan. Mach 2 fast and one of the band of great USA 49er sailors.

- Morgan Larson. nearly as above.

- Jonathan Mckee. Fast DNA and proven mental strength by way of racing the Barcelona double handed race with a howl at the moon crazy Spaniard.

- Mike Lennon. Will probably arrive as British National Champion. Fast, but tacks slower than a Hobie cat.

I haven't included myself cos Scott doesn't, no other reason really. I just thought that was what you were supposed to do.

In truth though any of the above could finish in any order.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Baltic Ballistic

That was a great championship! I’m so glad I went to the Europeans. I cannot recall an event that I’ve ever done where the race for first was so close. Arnaud and I tied on points, we tied on the number of firsts, we tied on the number of seconds.. When we came ashore we didn’t know who had got it, we just laughed and congratulated each other, never more than a couple of metres apart after half an hour at warp speed, we were nearly always a leg in front of the rest at the finish and it was just bloody good racing.

You know that Arnaud won. He’s back to his best. We had identical Mach 2’s, both using KA sails, (although he was on a 13 and I was on a 10B) and unlike the Australian Nationals where he struggled so badly on boat speed, he’s firing on all cylinders now. I warmly congratulate him. It was a great battle and a privilege to be part of it. Bet on him at the Worlds.

For me it was everything. Importantly it brought back my love of Moth racing, something that had left me over these last few months in the UK. Back home I’d race the Saturday.. but not the Sunday. I guess it was just the law of diminishing marginal returns… The one that says if you eat a grape, it’s very nice. If you have twenty grapes, they are still good. But after a couple of hundred you are kinda sick of grapes right?

Well you are until they turn into wine, and that’s the feeling I had out there on the race course. I had a tremendous battle with someone who in the end, edged it, and sometimes it was so close, with an almost photo finish in one race, that I felt it would be good to just have been watching. Sometimes I felt like giving up, Most of the times I wanted to be heavier.. But all the time a bit of hunger started to come back and that event did me a lot of good.

And giving away 8 kilos I was pleased to be battling it out. I was the quickest downwind. Arnaud had the edge up when the wind was at its most,, he was not high, but he’s very fast. In the last race with my usual slow out of the blocks first beat (gotta work on that) I could feel my heart almost bouncing out of my chest as I clawed myself back into the lead. But on the long starboard that the shore made us take, just shy of the lay line, I tacked on Arnaud and didn’t have the horse power to keep him there in the 20 knots that made the last race the windiest of the four we sailed on the final day. (BTW this is a Northern Europe 20 knots, not the unleaded Aussie or West Coast USA 20 knots, both of which I’ve raced in within the last year, and they do got that go that speed, but lack the sensation of being hit with a wet towel)

The prize giving night was good, although many people had gone. Rod kicked things off with the infamous tiller of doom, (see above) and the lady from the sailing club who downed a litre of red wine made us all laugh with her attempts to stand up afterwards.

As I left Horsens this morning the bay was once again calm. The fresh winds only occupying our three days of racing. I new that today the sea breeze would have gently built and I would have been ballistic, as I had been in training the week before. But I didn’t ponder on that for long. I had some of the best racing I’d ever had, principally against just one other boat, and I wouldn’t have swapped that for the world.

So now I’m writing down all the things I can improve, the list is long, but that’s great and it starts with getting a little bit heavier, cos sometimes 65 kilo’s just aint enough… And the Worlds isn’t far away.

And I can’t wait!

Thank you to Soren, Henrik and the others from Horsens Sailing Club who made us so welcome and put on such a great event, and finally thank you to Andrew McDougall and McConaghy for designing and building me a great boat. I have never been so fast. They have definitely taken things to the next level and if anyone doubts it. Just look at the results. Finally, finally it was so wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones.

Until the next time


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Europeans Warm up.

Horsens, Denmark. and the Europeans start on thursday, most people are already here, or arriving soon. 46 boats should make for great racing. Yesterday I hit the water for the first time in full sun and 8-12 knots of breeze. About 25 other boats were out, everyone testing out their speed. I was fast on this pre practice err..practice day. Current European Champion Arnaud Psarofaghis was quick but didnt have the height and he was back using a KAMSL13 for the afternnon session.

It doesnt really matter now though, people will get faster and faster and the forecast is sunny and 15 knots for the event. Hmm.. heard that before.

The Brits have erected a small marque which has been quickly taken over by two ducks, or "dinner" as they are now referred too.

More later, we are waiting for the wind now...


Thursday, 11 June 2009


Yesterday still thought it was June 08, but then the sun came out, and natures Prozac made everything better. I didnt even mind that the wind had died. I put a new sail on with a view to trying it. I couldnt, but still.. It measured OK.

With the European Championships just around the corner I guess everyone is working hard. I know Arnaud Psarofaghis, the current European Champion, is completeing some final tuning and that as the holder, he has to be the favorite. Michael Lennon has done everything you should do to ensure a great result and he'll be up there too. Mike Cooke has had a great run in the UK recently, finshing second in the UK Inland Championships and winning the Weymouth open last weekend. He'll carry that momentum all the way to Denmark and will be the boy to watch, especially in the light. So too will Mikis Psarofaghis from Switzerland

I think Adam May will do well, he's sailed there before and will go a few knots quicker with his mind on the job That will depend on his Olympic coaching obligations.

But there are other good sailors and some depth too. there will be interesting battles up and down the fleet but I think the event will be won by either a Swiss or British sailor.

Friday, 5 June 2009

British Summer Time

Well June is here but really it should be re branded February, because the temperature has plummeted, as it did last year when we were at Weymouth. An event notable only for its pure misery. I read the other day that apparently the month of June is known as the month with the the most number of marriages in the UK.

Which is logical as sharing bodily warmth is a recognised way of preventing hypothermia.

And it was Weymouth Moth open this weekend too. The WPNSA, under construction when we were there last, is now finished and I've never seen so many ramps. It was windy Saturday and as I struggled to hold my boat on the concrete I knew we were in for a wild ride. Launching into the harbour hid the worst of it, but when we got round the corner, bang! A full and lump 25 knots hit us, the wind was OK, but the waves, coming through the two gaps in in the harbour wall made the sea confused and aggressive.

My immediate thoughts were "what the hell am I doing out in this with only two weeks to the Europeans?" and, as I looked across at Adam I silently pleaded with him to say we should go in. Downwind I was very solid in an "oh shit" kind of a way. It was almost fun, and I might have laughed out loud if I hadn't been frozen through fear... and cold.

Almost fortunately though the webbing that I'd replaced the kicker rope with, in order for it to be kinder to the boom, took its role rather too seriously and broke. That meant I could go it. And escaped any real damage save the obligatory destroyed tramp on the concrete ramp.

I love the Moth class, It's cool that everyone is still there waiting for the next boat home, whether under its own steam or being towed, our own version of the Battle of Britain spirit. Next came Rod, wild eyed and laughing, then Andrew Friend, rig less, then Jason Russell, rig less, then Olivier Vidal, err rig less.. But no one had told Moth new boy James Phare that you should do anything other than sail in that, and he came back a bit shot up but still airworthy. The next ace in was Robin Wood, Moth World Champion in 1983 and 1984, then Mike Cook, then Adam next who had to drift the entire length of the harbour as without a wand, he couldn't get down wind. The rest all came back and last man home was Mike Lennon, who won the the race but I think Paul Hayden and Jason also managed to finish.

I couldn't make yesterday, but apparently it was lighter. Mike Cook won two, Adam the last one in a light semi foiling fickle breeze. Mike Cooke won overall, Mike Lennon second and Adam third. Next stop Europeans in Denmark.

Monday, 1 June 2009


The year I started Moth sailing... Same beach at least...

Killing me softly

"Why are you making so much noise?"

"I'm trying to get a barrel of beer upstairs"...

"Have you won one?"

"No, I've drunk one.."

Was how Sunday started.

But Saturday was awsome sailing, an empty harbour with too many boats that put an emphysis on boat handing. Like a hedgehog trying to cross the M25 I darted this way and that, keeping out of everyones way. The moon was leaving again and it confused the sea, making its spirits wobbled as the hurt became too great. It made liquid cliffs and holes to fall into and and through this wildest tantrum I told it I still loved it. The boat was magical, offering me a glimpse of true control in a Jonathan Seagull kind of way.

Anway on Sunday I had to get into the boat, It was the only way to stay alive after the party the night before, and out in the bay, caught in the middle of a fight between the north and south breezes, I trained with Mike Lennon. I was please with my speed, and going downwind for the first time really I was able to get to block to block on the main sheet, hiked hard, so fast....


Wednesday, 20 May 2009


With only a month to go until the Europeans its train train train and yesterday Mike Lennon and I rigged up our Mach 2's for another evening session. Now I would vote for any government who abolished daylight saving, it fucks up animals, kids and heavy drinkers but last night I had to concede that the ability to sail until eight o'clock is a good thing.

Anyway it was a nice sail, my boat felt awesome and I could have gone down wind in the bouncy waves off East Head all day. The ride height was rock solid and although my trusty KA MSL10B sail is getting a little worn out, having twice been run over by the life boat, I reckon I was going pretty fast.

So last night I was thinking about different types of sailors. I thought this time, rather than considering individuals at the event, I'd look at categories of sailors instead. Here are mine, I'm sure there are more...

- "The Contenders". People who are as good as you, if not better, and can beat you. Deal with them by training harder, going faster, sailing better. Recognise that they will beat you sometimes, but you just need to beat them more than they beat you. Respect and learn from them. Buy all local stocks of Ibuprofen so they can't.

- "The Emerging". Up there in a few races, often inconsistent, but possible stars of the future. See if you can coach them, and possibly charge for it.

- "The Completely Insane". Wild eyed and look like they've just been fired out of a cannon, with a boat that looks like something off "The Gadget Show". All their ideas fail, but one, which ensures the survival of the Moth class for the next few decades. Good in the light, see if you can figure out why for an albeit brief period, they went twice your speed. Don't make any sudden moves..

- "The Mobile Chicanes". Give a wide berth, you don't know where they are going, and nor do they. Often the best people to socialise with after the racing.

- "The Troopers". Solid, tough and quiet with a tip top conditon but now outdated boat. Always finish and good sailors. Trust worthy and fair on the race track. Always have tools you can borrow.

-"The Ow! brigade". Often seen walking aimlessly round the dinghy park after the race holding either a piece of broken boat, or limping/bleeding by way of silent explanation of their performance. Encourage, help 'em with their boat and lend them a plaster.

-"The Delusional". Dangerous this lot. Talk the talk and feel qualified to comment on your boat and criticise you, do everything apart from get results. Rise above and ignore.

-"The DNF's". Not a competitive bone in their body, retire when they feel like it, enjoy every aspect of being at the event, not just the racing. First of three to board the lay day coach. Well rounded complete people. Envy them..

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Swiss Air

A really wonderful picture of Jean-Pierre Ziegert sailing his new Mach 2 on the Lake of Geneva at the weekend.

Image courtesy of Loris Von Siebenthal – Myimage©

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Feelin' Hot.

Oil of Olay (Ulay) recently ran an ad about the seven signs of aging. From a marketing view point it’s a good campaign. The “seven” signs though are utter rubbish, starting at fine wrinkles, moving through uneven skin tone and ending at skin dryness. It’s all waffle.. Most sailors, even the girls I know, have all three.

There are of course more relevant ones, which although don’t immediately generate the primeval desire to purchase face chemicals, should be discussed.

The problem is that the seven signs of aging are a purely personal psychological phenomenon, and are often event specific, but here are mine.

1. You intend to drive to Queen Mary sailing club, where you’ve been 50 times before, but before you know it, you are at the Twickenham rugby stadium, where you've been once before.

2. You are appalled at the £30 entry fee, which is a tenth of your monthly mortgage payment.

3. You can’t tack because your knee is temporarily buggered. You do not however feel the need to put a picture of it on the web.

4. You get a 2,1,2,1 and can’t remember your results.

5. You rehydrate at the local pub, and, with your eye on three good looking girls you make polite conversation with the one who’s buying the drinks “Your wasting your time with us mate” she says, "two of us are lesbians and Julie thinks she’s got swine flu…" So you wink at the one who’s coughing.

6. You are lying on your yacht, listening to the water, watching the deep blue sky and you sleepily think “I have two boats, if I have to sell one.. It won’t be this…

7. You look into the mirror and see fine lines, an uneven skin tone and a certain dryness. McLube fixes that.

It was the UK Inland Championships at Queen Mary.
I won, the Mach 2 was awsome, so much speed that despite my best efforts, it dragged me to the front.
Mike Cooke sailed brilliantly to come second
Mike Lennon in the other Mach 2 came 3rd.
Adam was fourth
Alex Adams was 5th.

20 boats! We raced four heats yesterday and it was abandoned today. No wind. That was great, and mean't I could come home. Olay, Olay! Olay, Olay!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Lone Star

Well actually two Lone Stars. I arrived back from Dallas to see Mike Lennon rigging his new Mach 2 on the beach, helped by budding Moth sailor, and champion of the future, Marcus Payne.

Mike went out and won the "Toe in the Water" Charity pursuit race at Hayling Island SC, sailing off a handicap of 586! An incredible result which has well and truly buggered any chance of winning for the rest of us, but its nice having someone else to blame for a change ;-)

Malte Muenke is the only moth sailor in Texas. we met up with him on Sunday and he kindly let me sail his boat on a lake not unlike Grafham Water (but a little warmer) It's a prefect place for a moth sailing with great launching and more Texans should give it a go! We met Malte at Lewisville Lake Park and we'd nearly found him before we were stopped by the police for speeding, but sooner or later, Malte, the copper and my friend Michael were all chatting about Moths and watching as I went for a spin.

We have the Inland Championships this coming weekend, and with Mike clearly going fast it should be a good shoot out!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

A semi by the sea

I read in the Telegraph Newspaper that "The over 40's may benefit from Aspirin".

Benefit? Its bloody essential! I was using it 20 years ago and right now I'm on the cusp of moving from Ibuprofen to Volterol, just to keep me sailing. Slow news day in the UK I guess but not here..

I'm in Dallas and I like it very much. The people are friendly and all have nice teeth. And in this politically correct part of the world they are desperately trying to re brand "Swine Flu" with a name that doesn't make pigs feel bad.

Although I thinks the word "pigs" could do with a little work too.

It's a shame that Swine Flu started in Mexico, they don't seem to have much luck and personally I think its a just a conspiracy, and another excuse not to give 'em a green card. They really should re brand that country "Mexican't"

The only thing I don't like about Dallas is people keep using that hateful word "beverage". Why cant they say "would you like a drink"? It spoils the rep of this hard drinkin' tough lone star state and reminds me of washed out salesmen. JR didn't like a "beverage" he liked a drink, so did Sue Ellen. I bet Davy Crockett, whilst successfully defending the Alamo from the second Mexican't attack in 100 degree's of heat didnt go "fuck me I could do with a beverage" did he?

Although it might have been a good idea, because they didn't repel the third attack and they got..err.. mullered.

The biggest breakthrough in my sailing this week has been the discovery of a Zhik "Loo Rip" feature in my new super warm wetsuit. Although I forgot to shut it the other day and the sudden and immediate jet of super cold water that hit my gonads as I launched effectively turned a decent life size model into a "double O" gauge replica. To quote James Blunt I really did have "a semi by the sea"

Above is a nice picture of the Mach 2 that appeared on Sailing Anarchy. Photo taken by Ingrid Abery

Sunday, 26 April 2009

A game of two halves..

As I ran down the pontoon all the other boat owners just looked at me in that same way that people look at you on planes when your the last guy to board and the pilot's missed his slot. I was late to get "Callisto" out of the lock, I'd put her in the day before but the business meeting had run on. I slung my laptop in the cabin, started the diesel and turned hard right out of Thornham marina. Three miles later my admiration for Ellen MacArthur went even higher as I struggled to get a main and genoa down by myself in a force 6. Also I must have looked odd as I was still wearing business casual and Hugo Boss wasn't dealing too well with the Solent.

That was friday night and on Saturday we sailed the Glyn Charles race. Handicapped to oblivion we tried hard, it was windy and rough and staring 10 minutes after the 49ers was just too big a gap to make up on that course. I had to stick it in twice to stop myself hitting a wall of glass fibre. It was just so busy out there. Once I went involuntarily down the mine so hard that I just got me nose the right side of the shroud as I went past. Mental note, put a May stick on this prototype, like the production Mach 2's. Other than that the boat was great.

Mach 2 images courtesy of

Martin Harrison sailing his low riding Axeman was 6th. A brilliant result.

I'm off to Dallas on Wednesday for a couple of days, if there are any Moth sailors out there, it'd be great to see you!


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Glyn's race

It's the Glyn Charles Pursuit Race at Hayling Island Sailing Club this Saturday. Please do come, whether you sail a moth or not. It's open to all dinghies and small racing keel boats with a handicap number below 1432. Glynn was lost in the Sydney Hobart race some ten years ago, he loved Moths and this race is about remembering him, raising money and having fun. There is a stunning array of prizes and although you will have to go some to win in a Moth (Our handicap number is currently 586 courtesy of lapping those mobile chicanes, the International 14's, 3 times last year). Who cares..

Necessity breeds invention, I need a break and I'm going to give it a go in my Mach 2. The weather forecast looks good, I've got me porridge and its time to light the afterburners. Holiday for two anyone?

OK, well just come down and watch, and see the boat too.

Talking of invention its was great to hear, at the recent Olympic dinner at Hayling, some of the enterprising business ideas that my friends have had to beat the recession. My "best lateral thinking award" went to Mark, who recognising the DNA that ensured success for the "French Connection" clothing company (FCUK), was along way down the road to announcing the launch of his own clothing brand "CNUT"....

I can just see that one on "The Dragon's Den..."

See you Saturday?


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Back in Black

I was looking forward to this one, and for the first time in a very long while I felt a touch of nerves before the start. 22 Foiler Moths turned up to the new home of UK foiling, Hayling Island Sailing Club, to be greeted by sunny conditions and 12 knots of breeze.

For me it was my first proper race in this country in my Mach 2.

We were out in the bay and on a 3 lap windward/leeward course I won the first race by five minutes fifteen and the second by just over four. I had outstanding boat speed and despite low to medium levels of boat handling just sailed away. Michael Lennon was second in both.

Then the wind went fickle and in race three I led by 300 meters around the last windward with a run to the finish. In a dying breeze I foiled into no wind and the others came around and gybed. The race was won by Andrew Friend, I came eighth...

The next race and again I led around the first windward mark only to park it in no wind, and the others, seeing me stopped, gybed and I went round the leeward eighth. I gained 6 boats on the next beat but couldn't catch Mike Lennon who won.

Overnight I led but I had a feeling I'd been beaten by better sailors in the tactical light and shifty conditons of race 3 and 4.. That evening I discussed with a friend how to re-hydrate and what to eat before the start to keep some energy. Porridge and banana it was!

Today it was windy and even getting to the start was a challenge. I dialled the ride height down a bit and won all four races. These two lappers were closer and I saw three boats racing for 3rd place cross the line within seconds of each other. Just great competition, but it was important to me to win and I didn't push the boat hard, or me.

Special mention to Rod Harris for coming fourth and demonstrating that hard work pays off.

Extra special mention for Tim Boon who port tacked the fleet only to nose dive in front on 15 starboard tackers. But then he did it again and it worked.

Extra extra special mention to the new Zhik super warm skiff suit and super warm top I was wearing. Just the best kit I've ever used, no prehistoric zips and a quality and design that's a cut above the rest.

So a great weekend with four races each day, and some tired sailors. I'm very pleased to have won, this thing is a rocket ship, I don't think anyone would deny that. I need to let my knee heel, get back in the gym, and do some regular racing. Then we'll see how fast I can go..

Friday, 17 April 2009

Hayling Island Preview

This weekend is the International Moth Hayling Island Open meeting, the first big event of the UK year. I'm hoping for a lot of boats. The forecast is sunny with 10-12knot breezes. That can't be bad if its true. Christian Kirshner and Gerold Pauler are here representing Germany and I'm sure some new faces will turn up. In fact as I looked down the entry list I saw "3168 - Ian Southworth". A name some will remember from the past and a World Champion in many classes.

It's been a funny week, more boat work than I needed but I can't wait for tomorrow, when we race three races out in Hayling Bay.

Who will win? Well I just dont know. Michael Lennon won Parkstone, that's the only bench mark we have. I'll go OK I guess, if I can keep the rig up.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Can I just say that the mildly embarrasing issue of me leaving my foil covers on as I left the beach is I think, not in its self enough substance to qualify me for a Facebook discussion... It was bad enough drifting past the balcony trying to get them off!

Anyway no I'm not trying to protect sea creatures, and yes I know its important to wear protection... I do agree I'm a twat though..Perhaps now we can move on?

Was there any wind in the world this weekend? On Sunday there wasn't and I sailed an RS200 which I enjoyed very much. The only surprise came when my very good (and also very good looking) helmswoman belched so loudly that I thought they'd launched the lifeboat. Suddenly I was sailing with Shrek.

Yesterday we had a sea breeze in the afternoon, nine moths were out practising for the Moth open meeting at Hayling Island SC this coming weekend. Great to welcome Olivier Vidal who has bought "The Weapon" from Adam May and also Gerold Pauler who is over from Germany and has bought my old Prowler. Both were up and sailing really well.

Both Ricky Tagg and Michael Lennon looked great sailing my Mach 2. I think we'll have another front runner when Ricky gets his.

Monday, 6 April 2009


I always believed Michael Lennon had an affliction. I've never seen someone spend so much time working on boats, showing such skill and expertise in things like rope work. It's the same with some other great sailors I know. Just obsessed. I suspect Scott Babbage is the same.

Me? the only degree I had was in "Ductology". This is the science of using duct tape as an integral element of boat maintenance. I began years ago with light temporary repairs, mainly to keep the water out and progressed to complex load bearing engineering solutions that were likely to result in a DNF. I even began tapeing my worn out sailing kit up. I've recently read that it is widely accepted as a qualification in the motorcycle racing industry, but for me it became all consuming. Boot laces were no longer needed and dry suit seals were replaced by it. The only down side being trying to get out of the suit when you'd wound half a roll around your neck to keep the water out. As a result of one particular close to death changing room experience I felt very near to Michael Hutchence when he died as a result of his own particular rope work.

But I'm getting better, twice my boat has been back for a tweak and I'm beginning to pride myself on the odd bit of quality maintenance. Knots are largely now a thing of the past.

This weekend we raced in Haying Bay, which was unfortunate as the sea breeze was only in the harbour. Mike and I sensibly retired after a lap of low ridding, but Spring felt like it was here.

This Easter weekend we have an open Moth race in front of the club Friday and racing each day with the RNLI pursuit race Monday, an event I've always supported, as I've been rescued by them more that once.

Largely as a result of the Duct tape giving way.

Anyway because its Easter and because we are racing the weather will be appalling. It always is. Specifically a tornado will come to town and wreck a small caravan park in Portsmouth. It always happens...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

New Mach 2 + 2 launched!

Simon Payne wih crew Andrea Ralph hit 23.5 knots on first outing!

Photo by Thierry Martinez 01/04/09

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Feathers, fur and gold

I nearly died of fright friday night.

Really, I mean it!

I was relaxing in the shower when two pigeons flew into the bathroom and frantically flapped around hitting things, knocking things off and pinning me in the shower unit and scaring me shitless. If ever there was a time to die of a heart attack that was it, as my pulse went from idle to the redline in a beat.

Once I recovered I immediately thought of catching them to eat but my children are still full of scorn after hearing about the bunny incident, where too far down the line of promising a rabbit stew I was horrified to find that the butcher didn't have any, and that meant some lateral thinking was called for.

The pet shop did..

It seemed the pigeons weren't sent to kill me and are now quite friendly, I found them on the bed yesterday, I'm trying to think of names.

And in a way it was the same with with my Mach 2, Boat No 3 and the third prototype. After a scary start we became friends too this weekend as she looked after me Saturday and lit the after burners on Sunday.

Saturday was awful. If you didn't get mullered by 30 knot gusts on the water you were pounded by hailstones on the beach, unable to go anywhere, as you were at that point, a boat anchor.

And with Mike Lennon, James Roche and Tom Whicher sailing the weather stablized in the afternoon and a good little training session was marked by James smacking a fish so hard he thought he'd broken his foil, only to capsize and see it bent double around the vetical section.

I would have eaten it.

Sunday I raced Boat 3 for the first time, I came off the start line and accelerated so fast that suddenly the world started to go backwards. Actually I finished a beat and a run in front on the 5 lap 1/4 mile windward leeward course. Nice for people to see how fast it is here after all the hype.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Blink and you're..


Me and Boat 3 at Parkstone.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Rescue Me

When a tree comes down you shout "Timber" so when a mast comes down, should you shout "Carbon"?

I shouted something else as I'm afraid that's what happened just before the start of race one at Parkstone. The forestay fitting pulled out, which was a shame because not only did I want to race but we had the boat rigged up with Predator cameras, (which fortunately were not on at the time). A double shame actually as I was planning to take someone foiling between races and she was already in a wetsuit and on the committee boat.

Anyway occupational hazard of sailing "Boat 3", the third prototype and we are working on a repair plan now which is why I'm up so early and on to Aus. In the cold light of day I guess its best it broke then and not last race of the Europeans or Worlds or something. The production boats have a different (and bigger) bow pod and cannot have this problem.

But it was great to see everyone with Mike Lennon scoring three races wins, but an OCS in the last race means I think Adam is close on points. Adam May had the Cosworth formula one derived telemetry system on his boat that only someone with Adams intellect can truly understand. Apparently you can create your own polars and it will be good to see his data published. It also means you have to sail around with a five foot lamp post on the bow which surely must have hindered his boat speed a bit.

As the tide dropped I watched the guys trying to get into the harbour, sailing over a hidden underwater wall with a cleareance depth of only about 18 inches. First Adam, then Mike... then Geoff...I had my heart in my mouth... James hit with his rudder..

Its harder watching sometimes.

A big thanks to Ron and Helen on the rescue boat and Tim Ollerenshaw, for pulling me out.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

You Got Me Floatin'

I've been putting it off for ages but finally Boat 3 and I went for our first sail today. Oh good Lord was it cold launching but my new boat felt great with no ventilation on the rudder and every bit as nice as the Geelong boat.
After half an hour the wind was on the way out and I drifted silently back in my empty Chichester harbour. Good to be home really.
It's Parkstone open this weekend but I'm unsure if I'll be there. I may just sail here, for a few weeks more yet...It's nice not to race sometimes.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

British Visitor

Nice pic in "Australian Sailing"

Friday, 27 February 2009

Daydream believer

It was 0420 and I’d already killed a cat. Two minutes later a rabbit copped it and it seemed at that time of the morning Hampshire was like the Serengeti. Actually I think the cat jumped. It had that “I’ve no regrets” look in its eye. Dignitas seemingly hasn’t reached the feline species yet. The rabbit was stupid. When you make a run for it, keep going! Never turn back. There’s a lesson there.

I was on my way to London’s Gatwick airport for a business meeting in Holland, and forced to think about animals, it occurred to me how astute cows had been. You see if our goal as individuals is to ensure the survival of the species, then they’ve got it cracked. Cunningly they’ve made themselves indispensable to man. In short we eat ‘em, and they are nice! We always will. A great marketing strategy from a misunderstood animal. Except by Indians, who literally worship them.

And you can extend that survival of the species theory to those of us who have children. Well sorry but we are now redundant. “Spent” if you will. If we were Salmon we’d develop a hooked beak, a hunched back, and be swimming up the river of our birth to be caught by a grizzly bear, but failing that, to spend the final hours with our mates drowning in it. Which is exactly how I plan to go.

So a lot of animals must be feeling a little threatened right now. Not because they are going to be eaten, but because they are not. Take your average Tapir for example. Must be shitting it. Neither tasty nor wearable. With a big nose.

Anyway you can tell I was in work mode, I have sales and marketing business with several customer in the marine industry. Mach 2 boats being one of course.

At the airport I fell into line with the usual queue of primer grey passengers who had that the same look in their eye that the cat had. Christ I’m glad I’m not part of that anymore. I was reflecting that now being in charge of my own destiny was really what I’d always wanted when I err.. fell asleep. But 45 minutes later it was time to land and I awoke in the middle of an erotic dream convinced that I’d mumbled “err Sorry” out loud.

It was a nice day, and I write this in the evening sitting in an Amsterdam airport bar where I’ve just identified a Dutch Bogan! He is fat with a beer bottle on his T shirt and a slogan underneath. The actual translation didn’t matter but what it really said was “I haven’t had sex for a year”.

I do think when people get past a certain size we should just simply burn them as energy, but then I once believed in castration at thirty and euthanasia at forty. That’d fuck the masters trophy up eh?

So its time to board the aircraft in a place in time where catching a train is now more exciting that a plane, and where I’ve just finished chatting to a girl on-line who jacked it all in and is now travelling the far east, where stopping and thinking about what you really want to do in life means that sometimes you can get it right. Or to put it anothern way, in a dog eat dog world it really can pay to be a cat… Sometimes.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Sail on the right side, sleep on the left.

Have you ever noticed we go left on the first beat, right on the next two? I can't think of an event in recent times where this hasn't happened. Apart from events at Hayling, where you can't. Otherwise you bash into a neighbouring county. Same with The Gorge if I recall, and that may be good. Odd though isnt it? Especially with all those books written on tactics. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm imagining it, I dont know. Perhaps this is just a slow news day.

And talking of slow..

Slowly I'm getting my Mach 2 together, there's no hurry but I may even sail next weekend, but then I may not. There seems so much other stuff to do these days. I went to see four great bands last night. I'm now deaf, and briefly was covered in piss.

Anyway the Mach 2 will be at the Dinghy Exhibition on the Foiler stand 7th/8th March. Come and see us.

Thank you to Zhik for asking me to join the Zhik team for 09. I cant think of a better clothing partner. I feel very lucky as I think their gear is so good I would have scrimped and saved to buy it anyway.

PS. Deep breath and fingers crossed for John and the boys on the Rag for the final races of the JJ Giltinian (2009 18ft skiff World Championship)

Monday, 16 February 2009

If there's a rocket, strap me to it.

I think every blog should have a "comments" facility. You can always delete the tossers and I think comments show a sense of respect for the people who take the time to read your site.

In the Times newspaper yesterday it listed the top 100 blogs, and nursing a hangover, I went on-line to look. Anyway I'm delighted to see that not only does Paris Hilton have a blog, but even a comments section. I was reading her blog yesterday. She's refreshingly honest without any sense of discretion, reporting she was "bummed after the Cardinal game", which is quite a thing to be told when you've just had your breakfast. Although of course not surprising. That's the thing with blogs, you can say anything. Anyway she had 157 comments. All offers.

You see the Sunday Times says blogging is a spontanaous expression of instant thought and should be taken as thus. And that shows sometimes.

Anyway it's warmer here now, but there's no denying that this country has been a miserable place. If an alien came and landed they'd think the place was inhabited by traffic cones and its just stopped raining/snowing for the first time this year. And we'll still be on a hose pipe ban by March.

Long live Geelong with its down on its luck, fading star of a silent movie looks and its glamour seafront, where you may well be run over by a cyclist but that's better than a snow plough, and where Bogans show off in huge numbers.

Yesterday I watched 3 intrepid Moth sailors launch at Hayling. It reminded me of the other side of mothing, people demanding no more than an a bit of breeze, some time alone to sail and practice. No fuss.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

It's a Mach 2 adventure

It's the fastest thing on the block, but it's an adaptable and useful little companion too. In the UK where the temperature is around zero, and the place is covered with snow... Well who else has a carbon fibre coffee table?

In Melbourne, where the temperature has been in the 40's, it's happy to be a pool noodle..

And at the end of the day? We'll its your teddy too..

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Mach 2 Moth in the UK

A new Mach 2 will be delivered to me tomorrow, snow willing. I know a lot of people are keen to see the boat so do feel free to come to my house. I live in Emsworth, Hampshire. This is not the boat I used at the Australian Nationals in Geelong but one shipped directly from China.

Shoot me an email at if you are interested.

Friday, 30 January 2009

And finally...

One day I would like to board an airliner and, as I walk in, turn left for a change.

The trip back from Aus was particularly long and despite flying up and down a lot I moved towards the UK with all the speed of a tectonic plate.

To pass the time I tried to taste every type of wine they had on board and I achieved this by telling the waiter it was my intention to do so, and he gladly oblidged,

Largely because he thought I was gay.

I know this because when it came to filling out the landing card for Aukland where I had a seven hour lay over, he gave me his own silver pen and asked me to send it back to him at the attached address. I wrote him a letter. What the fuck, it passed the time for while.

I then thought I'd be the first person to do a handstand in a 747, but fell side ways into that thing your not supposed to sit on, but looks like a seat near the back door. I got told off for that.

We had a great result in Geelong and I want to say a public thank you to Lex Bertrand and Brett Cannon for the long hours and support, to Bora Gulari for his invaluable help in Melbourne, to the guys and girls at McConaghy's for all the hard working in helping to produce a great boat. To the McDougall family for putting me up, or putting up with me, which ever way you look at it.
But most of all to Amac, designer, world class sailor, mentor and mate who taught me more about making a Moth go fast in two weeks than I've ever learned in all those years. His leadership, vision, shere determination and ability have made this project possible.

Thank you.

Monday, 26 January 2009

National Velvet

I was standing on Geelong seafront reflecting on how lucky I was. Here was me, racing some of the best guys in the world, in fact this probably was a mock worlds, in a beautiful new boat, with one of the best race committee's I've sailed under.

Life was good. I'd just won four heats and it was nice to be at the front again.

I was thinking all of this when I stood in a camel turd. That was on Saturday. That day didnt get any better.

Nathan deserved to win. He wasn't flawless but he is a polished act. A professional racer. It's great to have him in the class and I hope he can make it to Cascade Locks.

Dave Lister is so big he probably has to buy clothes at "High and Mighty" but jeez he's fast downwind. Where the rest of us are Microsoft he is Apple Mac and does his own thing. If he can make it, he is a contender for the Worlds in windy Cascade Locks too.

The rest of the results were a bit surprising, John Harris is a big regatta guy and will always perform when it matters, but he was a bit slow upwind actually.

Scotty was consistent but never got the best start, the best first beat..

Bora showed brilliance but also flaws, he was there at the windward mark but just well.. thought to much about things..

Anyway for me it was great to be running up at the front. I had only raced twice since the June Worlds in the UK and it showed a bit.

Every now and again.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Clunk, click, smile on imapct..

Bad, bad day yesterday. Nathan took the lead as I OCS'd and then RTD'd due to ripping a six foot whole in my tramp.

I felt uncomfortable in the big breeze of yesterday, the boat see sawing down hill which ultimately lead to a big pitch pole and the resulting collateral damage. We came ashore to find the wand mechanism under the bonnet had slipped. A grup screw had come loose allowing the wand to go down, without pulling the flap up.

Which was a shame.

Anyway all to play for today. One race left, Nathan three points in front.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Australian Nationals update..

Four races gone and we are on a 1,9,1,4 and are currently top of the leader board. Nathan Outteridge (AUS)is just behind me and Andrew Brown (NZ) also close. So a good position for us at mid way point. We are on a lay day today. Which is good at my age.

The racing has been close and hard. With light and strong winds all in one day. Ironically I had my worst result in the light winds, a set up issue. No lift and a silly mistake.

Today is a chance to chill out and go over the boat with a fine tooth comb. It's blowing like hell so we woudnt have raced anyway. More later.

PS This is a great place to sail, reminds me a bit of The Gorge with its flat water and breeze and its the only place I've ever got a 0.8 for finishing first..

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Lone Gull

Out training today in Port Phillip Bay. Geelong is on the bow, about 25 kilometers away. Tomorrow I will go there and race against the other 44 competitors. I think there are seven different countries represented. How the Moth class has changed, and again I'm looking forward to meeting new people.

Today I noticed how easy the Mach 2 was to drive through waves, the slim frontal area offering much less drag, and she just punches out. When the wind came up and with a slightly sticky wand mechanism I nearly had the hull two foot underwater. Green water everywhere, but she still came out.

We are untested in combat and I am pragmatic about next week, but a couple of times today she felt very very fast. Tonight the boat and sails were measured. All good.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Sorry Girls

We launched the Mach 2 today. Bloody hell it was a hard day. As hard as climbing a wall leaning towards you or kissing a girl leaning away from you. Either way I'm glad it's done. The belle did go to the ball and although she came back minus her knickers. That's a sign of character, in my book.

We started early again, on another hot day that I lost count of, on a trip that I neither enjoy nor dislike. Just one goal that will please me and that is this boat sails and sails well. And that you guys who have purchased her, or will purchase her, will be happy. It's my future and my past rolled into one (Oh and btw. For all those who say I can't start a sentence with the word "And". Well fuck off, all the 10 commandments do)

And the Mach 2 did, and when we turned up at Black Rock, with two 21st birthday parties going off within 50 meters of each other. It was always going to be difficult for a carbon fibre missile to steel the thunder, but even our eyes were hard to drag away from the slinky black carbon, a touch more attractive than a woman's stocking I'm afraid... Sorry girls.

Amac sailed out, and all looked great, You will read else where that the gantry fell off. That's because it did. No excuses, but the reason was that we lost the metal fittings on the way back from China and because we were so caught up in the emotion of the moment we used plastic ones.

Ever used a Mars bar wrapper when you can't find a condom? Its the same thing.

Anyway we found them tonight in a rope bag. And that's great.

So with three days left to the Australian nationals and all the minding numbing moments of mediocrity that are other peoples views on that event. I've got something to write about. A new boat that's a new design hit the water today. She's a looker. and I'm taking her to the dance.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Room Mates

Bora Gulari is a top guy, we are having loads of fun and with 6 days until the Australian nationals the banter hasn't stopped. He does snore though.. And in a bid to get a good nights sleep I have had to resort to some extreme measures.

This small device now hangs over his bed and has the control line led back to my side of the room. I'm anticipating an effective remedy. I'll let you know..

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is..

He's off! Andrew with his Mach 2 in its (optional) travel bag. Sorry the photo isn't great, it's a phone one. The real camera has a flat battery.

Today I head for Melbourne. I hope I've helped here during these last two weeks, and when it was touch and go whether we'd be on the start line, we just threw every resource we had at it. That's the sign of a good project I think, the sheer will to succeed. But its not only my camera battery thats flat. We need recharging too, and this was the scene in the bus to work this morning.

I like this place with its courteous people and crazy roads. A place where even the local store sells infra red thermometres, but try buying a jubilee clip! Where (as I did) you go to the pharmacy to get something for a nasty bite on the forehead, and the guy nods in understanding, and then comes back with a hat!

A place that redefines beauty and nothing is impossible.

I'll be sad to leave. I've made new friends and (DHL pending..) we'll have two Mach 2's in Melbourne on Monday. In the mean time I'm going to go the the Esplanade on Saturday night to have a beer or too.

Then the next part of the project begins! The Australian National Championships, but the way these two boats look, I'm sure it will become the "Australian National Gallery" too.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Boat People

The minibus picks us up at just before seven. Everyone is quiet, head phones in, sleeping, thinking, watching. It's a 40 minute ride to the McConaghy factory along the Zhuhai road. I watch. We go past the new VW dealership, the No 1 primary school, and lots of empty buildings. The recession has hit here too but the road is still busy. The pedestrian crossings exist simply as a designated place for accidents. No one stops and a girl sits on the back of a moped reading a book in the outside lane.

Its good here. For some reason that I can't describe it feels right, for me at least anyway. The food is good, the people are nice and I feel part of the world. I've been to China a few times and it has a habit of aligning my perspective on life. Something that gets skewed in the UK. Anyway it's hot for January and I'm reminded I'm in Southern China by the banana trees that line the road.

Back in the bus going home there is hi jinx. Its already eight thirty pm and time to relax. The guys stop for píjǐu (beer) and dumplings in a village. Its a good atmoshphere and I can see why people want to live here. I would.

But soon I'm off to Melbourne and the Australian Nationals.

So here she is, one of three Mach 2's built, all dressed up and some place to go.

We do go straight into a big event, but as they say "some like it hot.."

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Dinner in Seafood Street

Process: Walk to restaurant. Walk down street with owner. Agree dishes you will have. Select the (live) ingredients, all of which were in "Finding Nemo". Haggle, pay, wait to be served.

Not for the squeamish. Or Vegitarians, but an excellent evening off with friends.

My brother (above) came down from Beijing for the evening. We had him building gantrys the next day!