Monday, 21 May 2012

Glyn Charles Race

Was it that long ago that Glyn died? The Sydney Hobart race of '98 on Sword of Orion. It seems like yesterday.

Each year Hayling Island Sailing club host an open pursuit race in this Team GBR sailors honour and this year 110 boats competed. The wind was good, about 12-18knots and it was great to see nearly all the best UK Moth sailors there as well as countless sailors from other classes. We sailed off a handicap of 499 which is 15 minutes after the 49er (big rig). Especially difficult if that 49er happens to be John Pink and John Gimson.  The biggest problem we faced was the weed, having to capsize or back up on a tack regularly to clear the foils and as I got to the windward mark I was down to 9 knots boat speed and full ride height, but I daren't capsize to clear it for fear of hitting the bottom!  I could have sailed that beat better actually. Still Chris Rashley and Jason Belben lead at the windward mark but with a choice of three marks (and not knowing the harbour that well) got the wrong one and Mike Lennon in his Mach2 nipped around the first mark in the lead. I was second and led at the next mark as Mike hit weed. The other guys caught up lots too. On the next leg I nearly missed the next mark and as a result of loosing time ducked Mikes transom out of a tack and just cleared Chris. I managed to get round the next mark first and extended on the run trying like hell to dodge the weed. A short beat later and that was it. I finished 25th, and without the capsizing could maybe have got the the front but  I guess everyone, whatever the boat had weed issues. Fellow Mach2 sailor Mike Lennon was going well and just behind me and the event was won by James Peters and Alan Roberts in an RS200.

Most improved Moth performer goes to fellow black boat sailor Graham Simmonds, and Simon Hiscocks and Ollie Holden were going well too.

Still it was a good work out, and it was a fun day in memory of a  great guy.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Little flashes of sun on a cold dark sea

Those, the words of Jean Paul Sartre in his book Nausea could have described the French Nationals the other weekend, but to view the event from just the five races on the last day would be missing out on the wider adventure that is Moth sailing. Olivier Vidal and Peter Barton also made the overnight ferry trip/small drive down to Quiberon,  and Fabien Froesch, Philip K√§sermann and Mikis Psarofaghis drove up from Switzerland to complete the International contingent.
I went there for a chance to race on a long course and to support the French fleet as the class continues to grow there, and what a fantastic time it was. We didn't sail on the Sunday, too much wind, but to be honest its such a nice place it didn't bother me too much, and we met Thierry Martinez in his Locmariaquer based gallery and went to dinner that night.
The next day the Moths were sent out just to make sure it was impossible to race and I came in 20 capsizes later with mild whip lash and a taste for some more bonhomie...
The only race day was medium conditions and very bumpy. Race one went easily to Philip, with Peter Barton second as I struggle into third place after a major pitchpole and a resolve to drink less in future.
The next race and I still capsized twice but a devil may care "lift it high and fly" strategy (which you should only ever use on the last run) saw me first to the finish. It was great to see Yann Andrillon from France getting up there in his Mach2 and also Fabien going very well.
Great pace rather than any specific skill saw me do well in the next three races and importantly I felt like I'd had a good work out and learnt a bit more about my boat set up.  Peter Barton wound up second, with Fabien third overall but several French sailors showed a lot of grit to give it a go and get round the course.
After the racing we sat around drinking beers in the dinghy park with the members of ASN Quiberon who were so welcoming that it was quite hard to go back home.

Now the worlds are not that far away but with an air temperature on Saturday of 5.7 degrees at HISC (colder than Christmas day) I elected not to sail. I guess my next event will be the UK Nationals so time for some evening sailing.