Sunday, 25 December 2011

Fly with smile

Happy Christmas! The kids were up early but now are back asleep! And I find myself with a little time to reflect on yesterdays Christmas Cracker race at HISC which was also the first event in the Moth Winter series here in the UK. It was great to see so many visitors, and especially to see Olympic silver and bronze medallist Simon Hiscocks going so well in his new boat.

The course was typical Hayling, a nightmare for visitors to follow, but as the Winter series only piggy backs other large events, such as the Bloody Mary at Queen Mary sailing club and the Steve Nicholson Trophy at Northampton, then we've got to recognise its a bit of winter fun which goes wrong if you apply a championship attitude to it.

Still I thought I'd won until confronted by Ricky on the beach who from 400 metres back apparently saw me and Jason Belben miss a downwind mark we were supposed to keep to port of on lap two. I didn't want to upset anyone, especially at Christmas, so I retired from the race. It had been a good day out and I was going really well! But listen kids if you ever get accused on the shore of doing something you're not really sure you did or didn't do on the water, then do I what I should have done and tell 'em to find a witness and protest. The winter series results are now a bit fucked up as everyone else who missed the mark scored points and prizes.

The most heartbreaking thing! As I hurtled towards the finish a young boy in an RS Tera, sailing so well and still in the lead, was only a hundred yards from the line as he was completely engulfed by the Moths, which arguably took the first six places, and then the rest of the fast boats! Character building? He'll need it!

1st Ricky Tag
2nd Mike Lennon
3rd Jason Belben
4th Peter Barton
5th Simon Hiscocks

Right coffee time! Have a great day!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sweat, Tears, or the Sea

I went to the sailing club yesterday to see if the boats were ok after it blew sixty knots in the night. They were, but the sea was a maelstrom and what a gift! I watched it for a while and went back to work exhilarated. Boats aside, I'm really glad I went down.

There's a lot of sailing to watch right now, and each morning I dive for the computer to see how everyone is getting on in Perth. I thoroughly approve of Ainslie trying to take the colonies back, and after hand pumping a Finn down the course, I admire his restraint. I've spent my life yelling at media boats, not lately of course because (at the last worlds) you don't generally find them hanging around 13th place, but before then yes! The only thing that has stopped me diving over the side to confront them is 1) the uncertainty of being able to actually climb onto the media boat, and 2) that most of the time the camera crew are bigger than me. I'm sure he'd choose to handle the issue differently next time but if Ben's actions do wind you up, it must also mean that you take Jeremy Clarkson's views seriously, and this means you're thick.

But our year is next year and I'm uncertain whether the current World Champ can make the unchanged Garda Worlds, but even if not, I'm excited already. Finally Finally, a place as cool off the water as on it, and I think it will be a big event. Mach2 took the first 30 places at the worlds this year and with a strong focus on the 2012 Worlds you'd be hard pressed to bet against much change.

Last night I was in the gym flogging away on the rowing machine watching Sky's coverage of Perth, and Tom being interviewed. It certainly made the 2000 meters go quicker and I'm getting a bit stronger, weight is 65kg, hand don't hurt, and Clinique for Men is taking care of the ageing, but salt water is the cure for most things I think, whether its sweat, tears or the sea.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Tough Economy

There must have been 7 Mach2 's sailing yesterday at HISC. I wasn't one of them but I did get to see the smiles on the guys faces as they came in, and so last night I went to bed early determined to do well today.

A reaching start with a big windward/leeward was very "America's Cup" and I think I'm finding my feet again after a non too impressive period. Ricky and I rounded the bear away together and I led by a boat length at the leeward mark, which at 26 knots wasn't far away. I felt I had really good upwind speed but couldn't tack, until I reminded myself that you do actually have to cross the boat at some point! Ricky's vang rope broke and that was his race over, and I found myself a really long way in the lead.

I'm still surprised how it happened, and still kicking myself for not doing a "gack", but anyway trying to tack in about 18 inches of water tends to produce only one result.

I could see Mike Lennon in the distance and was frantically dragging my boat back upwind into deeper water. It was a long pull and in the end I just jumped in, and with the boat bouncing along the bottom I took off again with the uncertainty of Wilbur Wright's first attempt, I was on on a dead run but up nevertheless "up".

I'm still amazed at the punishments these Mach2's can take and equally my ineptitude in a harbour that I've only been sailing in for 3/4's of my life. Anyway I just crossed Mike, keeping my lead and had no further incidents.

When I got in there wasn't even a scratch on the foils. just a bit of sicaflex missing from the tip. A bit that I'd put in last week. Sure, other designs may be cheaper but none are as tough as a Mach2!