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