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



Veronique Psarofaghis said...

Hi Simon
Thanks you for your congratulations to Arnaud, you're also a great helmsman.
Véronique (Arnaud's mother)

Anonymous said...

bad luck old chap!

Anja said...

I never saw you sail better.

Arnaud and you are really a dream team,
it's amazing to watch this.

Happy Birthday