Moth Open at BCYC

The 26th and 27th of April saw the second Moth GP event of the season at Bristol Corinthian YC.
Bright sunshine and a beautiful 12-15 knot breeze and plenty of sunburn was the recipe for Saturday’s sailing with an impromptu foil school session from Bristol Mothie Mike Cooke. Foiling gybes and some windward/leewards were the order of the day, with a splash of video debriefing so we could all cheer on the best crashes.

Sunday had everyone sitting around waiting for the breeze to fill in, allowing some boat fettling and a GPS recovery session, after Poole Moth Squadron leader Rod Harris lost his during a swimming race, luckily he had some goggles in his car and it was retrieved from 15 feet down in surprisingly good working order! It was complaining that it couldn’t find the satellites underwater though and was asking if it was indoors…

The breeze came in after lunch and started to settle, allowing race one in a good 15 knot wind. This gave Mike Cooke in his Axiom v4 the chance to stretch his legs and take a convincing win from Chris Anstead from Queen Mary in his Bladerider and Rod Harris in his M3 in third place.

The second race was sailed in a very patchy 10 knot breeze, allowing for some big gains to be made by sailing around the moths that could be found parked in holes! Chris took the gauntlet, closely followed by Mike and these two traded places until the final run, where Alan Watson in his Prowler nearly foiled past them both. Mike got a lucky puff and made a beeline for the leeward mark while the others were forced higher. A photo finish at the line saw Chris not quite laying and forced to tack and letting Alan through to second.

Overall results:

1st Mike Cooke 3191, Axiom v4, BCYC
2nd Chris Anstead 3152, Bladerider, QMSC
3rd Alan Watson 4091, Prowler, BCYC
4th Rod Harris 4092, Mistress 3, PYC

6th Helen Rollinson, 4052, Hungry Tiger, BCYC, First female
8th Katherine Knight, 4056, Axeman, PYC, First Lowrider

Fat-Bottomed Frustration

FBG and I went sailing with lots of other Moths on Saturday, when 10 moths hit the water for some pre-open-meeting training at BCYC. The sun was out and there was a beautiful 12 knots of breeze, so a great day for some more boat-testing.

Mike and I had made a few changes to the foil system in the morning, as there was just too much play in the control rod with it going through the boat. This is due to the fact I have an early set of foils on which the flap is pushed by the rod rather than pulled. My carbon push rod had been flexing far too much when pushed, leading to a lot of lost lift, so we have now converted to a teleflex cable running on the outside of the boat (like on the Prowlers).

My blast around the lake was mostly good fun, however I am beginning to feel quite frustrated at how much tweaking is involved in trying to get a completely new boat to work properly. I am still having to work extremely hard to get the boat to take off; it’s not just a smooth transition when I hit a certain speed. I also struggle as the boat is currently set up to foil pretty low, so I wasn’t even aware that I was flying when I was! Thankfully I was filmed doing so, so I can actually believe it happened! (I’ll post the film when I have it) Plus I hit 14.8 knots, which has got to mean something was going well.

The plan now is for me to have a go in Mike’s boat, maybe on Wednesday, so that I can see how I get on in a moth that is actually fully set-up and working. I am hoping that this will boost my confidence in my abilities, as I am beginning to doubt myself sailing in my own boat. That said, I do not intend to give up on FBG just yet. Mike is going to take her out for a spin and will try to figure out exactly what needs changing to improve her performance and we will go from there.

I have to keep reminding myself that noone finds these things easy straight away and that what I am doing essentially is a development programme on an entirely new boat. And considering my helming experiences prior to this project were in Puffin Pacers and pottering about in Toppers, I am doing pretty bloomin’ well!

You’ve not seen the last of me yet….


Fat-Bottomed Freefall

So, Wednesday came around again, along with the sun and another lovely breeze. Having been suffering from an evil cold/chesty cough for the last few days, I was unsure as to whether or not sailing was a good idea. But, obviously, it just had to be done!

I left the shore feeling confident that today was the day I would get some ‘proper’ foiling in. And it was, to a point. Having stiffened up the push-rod system so that it couldn’t flex and lose lift, the boat felt a lot happier getting out of the water. It was when she was out it all went wrong! Currently, FBG appears to fly pretty low and I am having to sit a long way back to get the boat to fly and stay flying. I am finding this a very awkward position to be in, as it is easy to over-commit, leading to some rather unceremonious splats into the water. I did find, on most occasions, that I was getting the hang of pulling in the main to get me going again, even when most of my body was submersed in water.

On one occasion, however, I was flung from the boat and am pretty certain was in freefall for a couple of seconds before hitting the water. Usually, this would be all well and good, but not this time. The problem? FBG is quite keen on this sailing malarchy, so decided not to bother waiting for me. She had sailed by herself a good 100+ meters before Mike arrived in the rib to pluck me out of the water.

This little incident led to an early return to shore for both boat and me, as the splat had left me somewhat winded and spluttering in a non-ladylike manner. The water, I discovered, is still flippin’ cold!

So, an early night for the FBG (in her newly-acquired bed in the boatshed), but I think a lot of learning was done. While my flights were still pretty brief, I was certainly staying up longer than last week and I have learnt that less is more on the ol’ tiller when the boat is in flight. I have also learnt that I could do with some more lift from the main foil, so perhaps a bit more tinkering before next week…

New top speed: 13.8 knots (and I am pretty certain I was actually in the boat at that point).


Wednesday Sailing

Its good to be able to make the most of the Wednesdays now and get out sailing. After helping Emma get herself foiling for the afternoon I got out and got some practice in, with Em on the camcorder.

Its good to be able to watch yourself and see where you are going wrong!


I tried going for the race, but there wasn’t really enough wind and the rope holding my ratchet block onto the boom failed – dumping me unceremoniously into the lake… Always next week!

Fat-Bottomed Flying

This afternoon saw sunshine and a lovely 10-12 knot breeze. Beautiful, and perfect for another go at foiling my fat-bummed lady.

And cripes, what a difference the foils make! While I was having trouble getting foiling completely (a few tuning and technique tweaks to be made), the boat really felt so much better. I got in a some really good blasts across the lake and did manage two ‘pop ups’ where the whole boat was out of the water. I was also getting to grips with tacking, which had always been a problem for me without the foils.

Unfortunately my photographer (aka Cookie) was not adept at steering the rather dodgy rib and taking pictures, so we have nothing to show you. It’s a shame, but I now have the bug, so I am sure there will be plenty more opportunities for pictures in the very near future!

Anyway, here is evidence of my new top speed (it won’t be top for long, mind):

I finally understand what you folks have been so excited about all this time: foiling rocks on with its socks on, that’s for sure!


PS – that manky thumb is not mine….

Sod your F-box, heres the A-screw

Seems every good invention needs a silly name these days so here it is.
The A-screw is a bolt with a hole in that can be screwed in or out, moving the daggerboard fixing pin in a slot in the foil. Nothing on the boat changes, just the pin position in the foil. The resolution is pretty good allowing 1/2 turn increments, the Bolt is standard M8 which gives 0.625 mm of pin movement for half a turn…

Moth GP at Grafham water

Photo by Tom Chapman
The first Moth GP event of 2008 took place at Grafham Water this weekend. Despite the dire forecast, including snow and bitterly cold winds, 15 foilers turned up and some very tight racing was had in some very varied conditions.

The first race was dominated by Si Payne in his new Prowler Zero, until the final run where Tim Boon (sailing Si’s old Prowler) got past after Payne sailed into a hole and came off the foils. This allowed Tim to claim a well earned win, with Si finishing 2nd and Ian Forsdike, also sailing a Prowler, coming in 3rd.

Si made no such mistakes in the second race and led throughout with Tim in second and Ian again taking third. The third race was sailed in a squally northerly and included hailstones and a few spectacular wipeouts. Si had had enough of the cold weather, however, and had packed up leaving the rest of the fleet to battle it out. Alex Adams took an early lead until the first run where a failed gibe had him swimming. Mike Cooke took up the lead in his Axiom v4 and held to the finish, despite being chased hard by Alex and Tim who took second and third respectively.

The predicted snow saw a few more competitors making their way home overnight, but the remainder of the fleet, not to be put off by the weather forecast, awoke to a brief snowshower and made a quick dash for the clubhouse for bacon sandwiches, trying to stay indoors for as long as possible. Luckily the sun came out and some good breeze provided great racing.

Tim Boon started the day strongly, taking two wins from James Roche in his Prowler, with Mike Cooke in third. The wind was quite variable with some big holes to sail into and huge gains to be made on the downwind legs by finding the pressure. There was plenty of place changing for the top three, making for some exciting racing and great spectating . This was highlighted by a photo-finish in the final race between James and Mike with Tim just seconds behind. James took the win.

All this left Tim a worthy victor with Mike in second and James taking third. Newcomer Ant Chapman took forth after a solid weekend’s effort. There should be plenty more tight racing to look forward to at the next GP event at Bristol at the end of April. Perhaps the competitors will have thawed by then….

1st 4 Tim Boon Hayling Island
2nd 3191 Mike Cooke Bristol
3rd 9340 James Roche Weston
4th 4093 Ant Chapman Rutland
5th 4073 Adrian Murphy Queen Mary
6th 4082 Alex Adams Weymouth
7th 4095 Ian Forsdike Grafham
8th 3259 Simon Payne Hayling Island
9th 4050 Rob Campbell Grafham
10th 4096 Simon Propper Grafham
11th 3152 Chris Anstead Queen Mary
12th 4048 Martin Fear Bristol
13th 3253 Mike Airey No official club
14th 3172 Mike Owen Queen Mary

More photos from Tom Smith here

British Summer Time

The clocks have changed, suddenly there are evenings with daylight, now if only the sun would come out and stay out it might actually seem like summer is coming…

Sunday was a bit of a washout, with very little wind and about 5 minutes of foiling time. Marginal stuff is really frustrating but its the conditions where kings are made in the Moth fleet. If you can get flying and no one else can it counts for a lot.

The first Wednesday afternoon sail of the year was pretty good. I got out to the club at about 4 after having a mad day trying to get as many jobs done and curing as possible so I could leave happy that things were progressing in my absence… I’ve tweaked my daggerboard ever so slightly in the more lift direction and things are much sweeter – I can make it through tacks and get flying again pretty quickly but the elusive foiling tack is some way off yet. I feel like the boat can do it, so I just need to get out more.
Martin was out in the Axemistress too and is really getting the hang of things – nearly nailing the gibes…

I stayed on the water to try and do the race but the wind was doing pretty crazy stuff. There was low lying cloud all afternoon which suddenly descended making mark spotting pretty tricky and to top it off, the wind died at the end of the second lap. Luckily I saw it coming and was already heading in the direction of shore but it still took me ages to get in…

As the club results never seem to get done I nipped by the race box to get the first lap times to do some beermat calcs….

Moth first lap 10.31 Corrected to 750 seconds (using a PY of 800)
RS800 First Lap 11.53 Corrected to 867 seconds
RS400 first lap 14.51 Corrected to 935 seconds
N12 first lap 17.15 Corrected to 946 seconds

I didnt have time to work it out properly, but that would have put my handicap in the region of 700 to equal the RS800 on time. I picked these boats as they are known quantities to me, with both the RS800 and RS400 sailors being former/current champions in the RS400 fleet and I used to race against the 12 sailor when I was still racing them… None of this accounts for the fact that I still had a rubbish start and sailed too far down the run as I couldn’t find the buoy! Must sail more…

Grafham is this weekend, and its looking like another fun forecast, but at least there should be a good turnout for the first GP of the year… Martin and I are both going up early Saturday morning – not sure about Alan, no one has seen him!