They say that in order to move to a higher level you need to force yourself out of your comfort zone. Of course in a Moth you need to be sensible too, but if you always stay inside a figurative and pre prescribed four walls I guess you wont ever really fail, or in fact improve, and that's because those four walls are really a jail.
Chichester harbour has offered some pretty shit racing this year for me to be honest. It's full of weed, yachts and a tide that goes about as quick as a solar wind, but its my home, I love it and yes it's very comfortable. Yet I'm also keen on improving, and the bay is the only place you get to sail around an international sized course. (That's excluding Silvaplana of course which you could quite easily replicate in the lagoon)
And those four familiar walls seemed temporarily more appealing as I pitchpoled off another wave in the middle of Hayling Bay on Sunday with 24 knots on the clock. By the time I'd done it four times I was even managing to fit a little prayer in between leaving the tramp and hitting the mast. I don't often bruise, but today I feel like I can't take a deep breath.
The ride out was fine. A bit bumpy but your only gonna go one way so might as well get on with it. The racing though was magical. It was just me, and the boat, and its a pretty connecting experience when its not the two of you against another Moth, but against the elements. It makes you feel really good.
It was full foam up and I was trying to hang onto the imaginary tails of Bora, Nathan and Jon Harris in the big waves. I faffed with the boat but in the end gave up and was safer down wind just by steering really accurately. At first I couldnt get back down to the start but the more downwinds I did the better I got. The last three laps were incident free.
In between races I caught my breath and also caught sight of some very black 25 knot plus gusts coming my way. Holding onto an always too short mainsheet I ran for the skirting boards as quick as I could and to the shelter of the harbour!