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.