Friday, 24 June 2011


Apparently in ancient Egypt when they packed up mummies for the journey to the next life, they used to paint the heavens on the underneath of the coffin lid so the occupier could navigate his way to the Gods. And so equipped with these aspirations it must have come as a quite shock to wind up in Bloomsbury, at the British Museum, on display. and even worse, next to the "Australian art exhibit" from circa 1973. But thats what happened to one mummy called Nesperennub, whom I would imagine was probably called "Nubs" for short.
And I was thinking about this as I wound up in a place I didn't want to be either earlier this evening. Specifically that was Hayling Bar, upside down, mast smashing on the bottom, my trusty Velocitek speed puck missing and a ripped tramp giving birth to a soon to be set free bladder. And that happened largely because I tried to race a trimaran who was on his way to Cowes for the RTI race which starts at an unearthly hour tomorrow.
Worse still my hand, courtesy of falling off my scary as shit but totally mesmerising fixed wheel road bike, is broken and if you will forgive me, hurts like fuck, and is now swollen in the same way Nub's hand probably isn't.
And so now I'm Velocitekless (new word), with my hand holding a tub of Häagen-Dazs that I would rather eat, and a windy forecast tomorrow. However things aren't all bad, because in the other hand I have a rather nice glass of Argentinean Malbec and this is replacing the Ibruprofen that latterly I've decided I've had too much of.

And so given the above I wasn't feeling best placed to give the nicest guy I've never met Arjan de Lange advice on travelling downwind at Travamunde, an event he's already at and one which I haven't even entered yet. Still I will and I will have a bloody good time.

But tomorrow is another day, and its not too long until the Zhik UK National Championships and then the Nordea Moth European Championships are upon us so some more time in the boat and please, the right way up this time...


Monday, 6 June 2011

Le Hayling

Its not easy to decide which is the most beautiful creation in the world. The E type jag is gorgeous and 50 years old this week apparently, the Burj Al Arab, which we could see from the race course in Dubai is amazing, and lately Pippa Middleton's ass has been getting headline news. Yet to me, in my tiny sphere, its the foiling Moth. It's a perfect little boat where every component is relevant and if any one things fails the thing doesn't function. I also like the intimacy that you get from spending a weekend racing. Life is simple and your world is small, just you and the boat. You cant blame any one else and at the start gun we are all the same. What you've done before doesn't matter, what you've said, what you've won.... But after the final race yesterday my Mach 2 wasn't exactly pinking and cooling down like a racing car but it seemed like it and it winked at me and I winked at it.

After 6 races duking it out with Mike Lennon and Jason Belben at the Hayling Island Open meeting we'd come away counting five first places and discarded a second. It was a bloody hard regatta where waves and big wind shifts made it hard to settle, but it was a proper course, a sailors course and not a go kart track, where fast boats got to stretch their legs in the same way that big V eights get to blow away little cars at Le Mans.

My engine was a KA MSL10C and I was using a stiff mast. Possibly too stiff actually and I contemplated changing it to a medium on saturday night. I reckoned I would have gone quicker with the medium, but on Sunday the forecast was for the breeze to drop, so I left the stiff one on. It wasn't light out to sea as it turned out, but we still went ok.

First race on Sunday and my starting went from poor to woeful. I might as well be a registered charity called "Startline", I got pushed the wrong side of the committee boat due largely to being out of position and all but hit the bloody thing, but as I tacked and gybed to finally start I was so angry I knew I was going to win that race. The next one Mike Lennon beat us all fair and square, out of the gate well he nailed the shifts and deserved the win. The final race the wind did drop and it was a lottery, I won largely though a gust I didnt know was coming.

And then we were in, watching the Abarth stunt plane perform in front of the club. I'm aching a bit today but satisfied .

Racing is important when you try to do it well, the UK fleet is really healthy and it was wonderful to see young guns like Cam Stewart out there in his Mach 2, getting knocked down but getting back up again, and out there til the end.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Hayling Island Open meeting, like Hawaii really...

Hayling will be like Hawaii this weekend for the Moth open meeting, so do come down and race, or if you want to see the boats and talk to the sailors, do that too. It's a great time to see a Moth close up and the sailors are only too willing to chat, some endlessly.

On Sunday at 1400 the Abarth stunt plane will be performing in front of the club as we are on the race course.

With the UK Nationals literally and figuratively just around the corner this is where the battle of Britain starts and there are some key players ready to pounce. God knows who will win and don't expect a prediction here but Hayling Islands version of the Mach 2 "Mothsquad" must be feeling confident. Sharing information for the good of the group isn't something thats comes easily to Brits, especially when you have to race each other the next weekend, and we are already seemingly about to loose one member, but that's how the Beetles started and I think we've made progress.

I like events like this. Sailing Moths is like alcohol. Essentially a truth serum where default behaviour comes to the fore. Some perfectly rational sailors, once airborne become completely unencumbered by any form of common sense, some sing, others shout, and others just have the memory of a tree shrew. This was ably demonstrated last weekend where Mike Lennon essentially forgot to start and I forgot the course.

The only thing I dislike intensely about any event is the briefing, always unnecessarily long I generally want to smack the first competitor who asks a stupid question. Why can't they do a pod cast where I can watch it at home and swear at the screen? Still as I look out of the window now summer is here and looks like it will stay for the weekend so come to Hayling, and if you see the Abarth Moth with a limping sailor next to it (cos I fell off my bike last night) give us a lift into the water?