Having missed out on Queen Mary, Parkstone last weekend was my first ‘proper’ Moth event of the year. By proper, I mean not having to dodge other boats on the racecourse and I think it delivered on all counts.
Rodders was back in charge, organising plenty of racing, a bit of video coverage, an excellent meal out and putting up half the fleet in his house and all the above is a recipe for a good event. We had 25 boats out in total, with a few new faces and plenty of old ones.
Saturday saw a mixed bag of conditions, building over the course of the day to a solid 15 to 20 at times and shifty light airs at others. I had a good start to the day, mixing it up with Jason B for 3rd but hooked some weed on the last run eventually finishing 7th. Karma came good in the middle race with a second place after going over the top of Rashley down the final run. Unfortunately it came back to get me in the final race, after I messed up the start and then proceeded to scrub myself off the side of the boat at 20+ knots using the leeward mark as a trampoline! I called it a day after that incident to try and save myself a bit for the second day.
Sunday turned into an epic of epic epicness building to a 30 knot gusty mission by the final race. I started well with another second, never really got motoring in the middle race and turned in 5th and then duked it out with Doug Pybus for a third in the last one with Doug taking a well earned second place, motoring upwind faster than I was motoring downwind making for a great duel. I’ve was trialling a new mast over the weekend and have got some ideas as to how to grab a bit more upwind pace to try and hang with the bigger boys. I think the sail in after the final race will live on in Mothie lore for many years to come. Reaching through a line a moorings at 25 knots trying to make a gybe through the gaps in the moorings for an even smaller gap in the harbour wall – kinda reminding me of the trench run in Star Wars only with Vader replaced by black clouds and 30 knot bullets!
It was great to see the Queen Mary Ninja team starting to get on the pace, with both Doug and James getting top places along with Alex Koukourakis starting to get in the game with some solid results in the big breeze. DJ Edwards was flying in Donatello – very fast out the gates and rocketing upwind despite weighing less than a small toddler! Unfortunately for everyone, no-one could get near the consistency of grandmaster Payne and he took a comfortable win from Jason Belben.
I was quite pleased to find I could still walk on Monday morning – usually after a beating like that I’m feeling it well into the week and I think my current mountain biking fixation is doing me some good. I’ve got some things to play with to improve my upwind pace and I’m toying with a sail choice decision for the rest of the season. Coming up is Ullswater in the lake district. Looks a lot like Lake Garda, only with cream teas and more unpredicatable winds.