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!