Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Racing, Italian Style

Photo by kind permission of Thierry Martinez

"Is your boat tied down?" "Yes".
(Boat flies through the air as 60 knots of wind hit the dinghy park)
"Your boat is not tied down!!"(Shouted this time, not spoken..)
"That is not my boat"

And so a touch of Pink Panther style humour ended an excellent Moth World Championships!

Stand out performances came from Anthony Kotoun who sailed into 4th place overall, Tom Offer who came in 15th, and of course Josh McKnight who decided to win. And did!

This World Championship was an experience for sure, in all aspects actually, and whilst one might argue that the qualifying goes on too long, in the same way that Christmas seems to go on too long these days, there is no denying the new levels of excellence that the top boys have taken the class to.

We used to have the 20 knot club only 5 years ago and now the front runners are hitting 17 knots upwind, and its clear that despite the more evolutionary development of late, the boats are going faster and faster in a way that no other class can or does. What a great time to be sailing Moths.

And whilst we at Mach2 came equipped with the excellent Simon Owen Smith and a couple of crates full of spares, there was probably less breakage than one might have imagined. There would have been even less if the start line wasn't so chancy.

Its clear that the new KA MSL16 has taken the rig to the next level too and that Mach2 Moths remain the leaders choice. Another great regatta for us which of course makes us very proud.

For me? Well I was pleased to make 9th overall and achieve 2nd in the European Championships. I'm looking forward to working with Andrew on a new rig for the lightweight sailor and I take back all I ever said about adjustable wands, and I'm going to get one of those soonest!

I loved the last day!  Sometimes we get into thinking that we shouldn't sail when its too light or too windy, but we must remember that we are a sailing class that foils, not a foiling class that sails and in years to come we'll cruise round in those winds and waves, but only because we are going out in them today.

Very many congratulations to Josh. He sailed superbly and said, as does every winner, that his overwhelming emotion was one of "relief". As he was waving the Aussie flag I remembered that feeling from 2010. Not any delirious happiness at that stage just sheer simple relief. He will be an excellent World Champion and I suspect he is the youngest ever. Time for plenty more.

The UK fleet did OK! If we can figure out how to work together better, a great strength of the Aussies and the Americans, then we can get more than two boats in the top 10 for sure!

Right now I still feel exhausted. A by-product of giving it my all, and a long drive home. I may not manage rigging the boat tonight, but I probably will the day after!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

2012 Moth World Championship Form Guide!

Lagio del Garda. Dramatic breathtaking scenery where we rig in the stillness of the morning, and as we launch the Ora wind slowly wanders down to greet us on the racecourse. Now it’s a great time! The onshore wind smoothes the sounds of the day and if we are lucky might mercifully drown out the noise of those who are incapable of launching without yelling at themselves.
Still, the evenings! With fine dinning and that “come on and relax” feeling that only (in our experience) the Italian Lakes offer. This is the place where the Worlds will be fought out! But who will win? Here is our light hearted form guide in order of only how we wrote it. Of course we won’t be right, but we won’t be far wrong either….

Scott Babbage, AUS- been there or there about for years. Was racing Moths when the Dead Sea had only just called in sick. Still, always fast and likes Garda. Coming into this off the back of a fairly successful Aussie summer. Everyone will be happy if Scott does it, no one deserves it more. Ride it like you stole it mate.

Rob Gough, AUS - Current Australian National Champion. No one will be more prepared, a past windsurfing world champ, he's proved he can win. Sometimes though it's a fine line between trying hard and trying too hard. Which side of the line is The Tasmanian Devil? No flash photography or you might find out! Anyway, we will see in a couple of weeks.

Chris Rashley, UK- great to see a promising young Brit! Chris works hard and his tacking is the best. He's fast across the range and added the UK National title to the European title he won last year. The Worlds will be his first big event, and of course it's another level higher. Will he handle it? We suspect so! Weaknesses are that he's late onto the foils, and if we get more than two low riding races the restaurants will be shut by the time he gets in.

Peter Burling, NZ- could be coming to Garda straight from the best week of his life! Peter is one of the favorites for a 49er medal. Super fast, super good, but in Moths hasn’t always managed to stay attached to his boat for the entire race. He's a big bloke and might be a bit sticky if it goes light. If it doesn't, the trophy will go to NZ for the first time ever.

Brad Funk, USA - Top bloke, stick your boat next to him in the dinghy park and by the end of the week you will be faster, and also probably a scientologist. Bloody fast, very fit and Moths seem to suit his natural “march to the beat of a different drum” style. He isn’t good at boat work however believing they heal over night. Strong in the light for a biggish guy.

Joe Turner, Aus– Naturally fast and with the least wetted surface area. (Joe cuts his foils down to the minimum) . Earlier this year Joe looked to have wintered well and, probably, as a result wasn’t so flash at the Australian Nationals. If it’s windy “Big” Joe may go very fast indeed, but aesthetically better off not wearing Lycra ;-)

Jason Belben, UK– Don’t call starboard on him as he’s wearing headphones, and he won’t hear you. And he ain’t young either. Surprise the old boy however and watch him tack! Ex Olympian, albeit from another time, he’s got the skills to pull this off.

John Harris, AUS- 2008 world champion now living in the US. Early form this year in Miami showed promise. Would've been faster without a girl in the front, but still.  Bit of a wild card this one, on the one hand naturally fast and proven winner, on the other living in land of supersize, and consequently could be carrying a few more pound than he ought...

Francesco Bianchi ITA– Possibly the fastest Italian. Won all the races he sailed at the recent German Nationals. If they ever translate the rule book into Italian he might benefit from a quick flick through, and too unpredictable to top this list, but with all that Italian flair! You never know.

Andrew McDougall, AUS- rumors of superfast straight line speed (at times-ed) and his boat has more lines than a Zebra wearing corduroys ….Anyway If we are racing in the middle of the lake he's made. If not, its six tacks to the first mark and he'll fade. A mix between Mark Webber and a “high heeled girl on a wet floor” depending on whether its straights or corners.

Bora Gulari, USA - Quiet as a mouse and not even on the entry sheet yet. 2009 World Champion at the Gorge, which isn’t too dissimilar to Garda. Very accomplished with probably an invention or two up his sleeve, or in his container... Looks Italian which is just as well.

Simon Payne- GBR Simon Payne GBR - With two world championships under his belt, you can’t bet against this wily sailor. Unless it is windy of course, then bet away! Has put more hours sailing a Moth than any other contender, but that could be because he is really old! Claims to be the inventor of the now obsolete Cleat de Payne in desperation for recognition for services to the class.   In all seriousness, he could… no, dammit, how can we take him seriously, he doesn’t! (Andrew wrote that! – Ed)

The “ex Olympic sailor “– Several “new to the Moth” World-class sailors will be competing. Can be identified by boats covered in sponsors logos and burst of brilliance mixed with some minor moments of a more humble nature. Those who stick at it will be great. Yet to learn that the protest room is really just a place for storing stuff.

And the Rest? Mike Lennon of the UK, Arnaud Psarofaghis (if he races but we don’t think he can), Anthony Kotoun... there will be more