Weymouth Road trip

Tom Offer and myself packed up the boats early this morning for a quick trip down to Foiltown (Not sure why we still call it that – Nostalgia maybe?) to get some weed free sailing in.

Turned out to be a cracking day for it and joining Me and Tom were Doug Pybus, Alex Adams and Helen Rollinson and later on in the day Adam May and Katherine Knight were spotted out as well although they launched from the Academy while we were all hiding on the beach at Castle Cove. The wind gods treated us well with a 15+ knot Westerly giving us all a chance to stretch out sea legs and blow the cobwebs away.
Alex also obliged with a bit of a measuring session as I’ve got my new Hyde, plus the Ellway sail to get sorted so I’m not panicking and running around Silvaplana. Speaking of which – 8 days till loadup!

Really looking forward to it. 80 boats… I think this is probably this years real world championships – a sign if any that 2 worlds within 8 months of each other were too many and hopefully a mistake the class wont make again.

Minor Bristol Mothing

Not much has been going on since the Nationals. Tom and Alan have been off with their boats to Rock and Falmouth respectively to get in some sneaky practice away from my watchful gaze!

I got out for my first post Nationals sail on Wednesday with Tom only to be greeted by 20-25 knots and piles off weed lying around the lake making it less pleasant than needed. We’ve both decided to scarper off down to Foiltown on Saturday to try and get some real sailing in – time is running out before hitting the road to Silvaplana and I feel rusty!

On the tinkering front I’ve been busy butchering cams with the aim of trying to fit an extra one in the head of the sail to alleviate a bit of a crease that has appeared which has really smoothed out the head of the sail and given a much more progressive camber up the sail as it seemed to be flattening out too early in the top. I haven’t yet decided whether to use the new Ellway sail at the euro’s but it’s currently looking good. I’ve just taken delivery of one of the new standard Hydes so I have a backup…

Nationals lessons

Well, I’ve had a week to sit and ponder on my shortcomings at the Nationals and I think I have figured out what the lesson was. If you are going to take spares, you should be prepared and pretty happy with what you could possibly end up sailing with!

So my mast inexplicably fell down on day one right near the end of race one, leaving me out of race two. I headed back in and started trying to get my head around what I had and what I could make work.
My new mainsail was working better on the stiffer mast I was running and wasn’t happy to go back to a bendy mast. I went hunting for a sail that might suit it and 2 boats down the dinghy park found Doug Pybus with a lovely MSL10 that he was prepared to lend.
So on to day two. After some rushing around with ropes and some overnight new shrouds at great expense I rigged up in the morning happy that I had something I could work with – until I tried to launch – first the bottom cam blew seconds after putting the boat into the harbour. Second attempt saw me two tacks in before the whole lot went at once. Third attempt, same deal. Gave up – not something I’m used to having to put up with.
I went back and figured my event was over now anyway as I was now counting DNS’s so started rigging up the new Ellway sail as I just wanted to go sailing at this point. After a false start where the cams fell off (highly unusual on a Hyde, mostly to do with the big hole caused by the broken mast!) I finally made it out of the harbour and went to join in the final race of the day. Had pretty good downwind pace but was really struggling for height upwind. Ended up calling it a day after two laps in 5th as my prodder had come unattached and was making some nasty noises (didn’t have a spare of that!).

Day three – Found Mike Lennon had a spare 2b (last years sail) which he would lend me and after duck taping an extra number on finally got on the water to see what this Turtle could do. 4th after 2 swims to sort gantry, a 6th after an appalling start and another swim to sort ride height adjuster and 12th after fouling Giovanni on the start line then fluffing my turns leaving me a good half a beat behind and a lot to catch up on. Not too shabby really although a bit rusty and getting myself into situations I would normally spot.

The final day saw a light 6-10 knot breeze and some careful sailing was required. I had a poor first beat but came to the top mark near the lead bunch and clawed my way up to third by the bottom gate. Managed to pull back 200 yards on Si and Arnaud up the next beat and stick with them for a round and just pipping Arnaud down the run when he fluffed his gibe.
The final race of the event had Arnaud and myself battling for the first lap or so before Mike Lennon pulled a flyer and rounded the top mark a couple of hundred yards ahead. I had managed to shake Arnaud in the marginal stuff on the beat and set about reeling Mike back in. Turned out to be not enough racecourse in the end and I finished just behind him.

So plenty of promise in there somewhere. I turned out to be fitter than I thought, faster than I’d hoped while being rustier than I’d expected! New foils felt good, rig was interesting and need more time with it. Team Ninja didn’t fare too badly either. Jason Belben was always thereabouts, winning one of the races, Ben Paton, Tom Offer and Pete Barton all got into the top 20 despite sailing Moths for about three months and it was nice to see so many bright coloured boats there. DJ Edwards also managed 8th in his Ninja powered Bladerider!

The event itself was great and the dinghy park had the same camaraderie I’ve come to expect from Moth events and I’m glad the class continues to be friendly with all the fresh faces coming in.

Torbay Photos

Emma took a load of photos while out on Terry’s gin boat on Friday which I’ve uploaded to my FlickR page. The originals are massive, so if you want any of them to print out yourself for posterity please get in touch (£5 a time?).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aardvarkissues/

Proper report to follow, including the story of how I only managed 20th and only finished 5 races! Rockin’…

Nationals day one

Well my defence of the nationals got off to a pretty appaling start.
I was finding my upwind speed was pretty much on par with everyone but I had enough depth downwind to more than make up for my tactical errors on the beats. After clawing myself into contention with the top bunch, trading places with Ricky Tagg and Jason Belben my mast folded up going up the last beat leaving me dissasembling and cutting ropes in the water.
Thankfully I have spares and have now borrowed an MSL10 from Doug Pybus. Spent most of yesterday evening reroping and sorting shrouds…

What fun!

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Forming an opinion

Well the nationals is finally upon us for another year and with the lack of any form guides on the web I’m sitting in my hotel writing one before heading down to the club!

Top gun has to be Simon Payne. He’s world number one for a reason and while he’s not had much time on the water that has never stopped him before.

Jason Belben is my next pick. He sails a lot and has had the better of Payne in several nationals – more likely to shine given a lighter regatta.

Mike Lennon has been sailing hard all year and has seems to be on top of his sail development with some cracking looking new rags. Very fast but too many toys in his boat for my liking…

I think Jason Russell is going to surprise a lot of people this year. He’s fit and sails hard and has obviously been training hard at HISC.

I tipped DJ Edwards last year and the boyo let me down in the epic saundersfoot conditions. I still think he could be up there as he is a smart sailor with probably on of the best sorted bladeriders going. Perhaps the shifty Torbay breeze will play to his strengths?

As usual, I’m not tipping myself. I’ve barely sailed, have a ridiculous rig and some experimental sails. Maybe it will all come together… Just maybe!

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Weekend sailing

We very nearly had all 7 of us out on Saturday but a bit of boatwork got in the way. I was still trying to get all my lines in order/trimmed to length and in amongst that and tea drinking/chatting with the various Bristol Moth crew whom I’d not seen most of in a very long time it my boatwork took far longer than it ever should.
So, on Saturday Simon, Leo, Martin and Darren all got out on the water and all showing good signs of improvement. Darren’s Prowler is now rebehaving after diagnosing a control system lockup which was stopping his flap going down more than halfway. Simon was back out after a long period off the water due to work commitments and while his boat is currently for sale I think he’s reconsidering it. Martin was back out practicing with his KA sail as the North has gone back to be repaired again. Leo however was smoking around the lake – recording a 25 knots top speed in his 5 year old boat! He’s also now starting to nail his gibes as the old girl gets more and more tuned up.

Sunday saw Tom, Martin and myself joined out on the water by DJ from Port Talbot. We got out for about three hours in a gusty southerly topping out at around 18 knots. We did our own windward leeward course and all waited around the bottom before restarting and going around again. It was awesome to be back on the water and the Turtle is showing good early promise with a new personal best for me of 24.1 knots. Everything feels stiff and is working as it should and just have to remind myself quite how all this sailing lark works.

Not sure if I’ll fit any more sailing in between now and the start of the Nationals on Thursday. Needless to say I’m really looking forward to it and hope to see the biggest Moth nationals fleet for a long time.

Flying Turtle

Wednesday saw Ninja Turtle take to the water/skies. My box of goodies from Hyde arrived just in time for me to roll out to Cheddar and get rigged.
Tom Offer was out there in my old boat getting some time in before the Nationals next week and is looking pretty tidy after having been firmly bitten by the bug.

Suffice to say, everything on the new boat went very nicely. The mk2 version of Kevin’s mainsail design looks really good (props to Hyde) and I’ve got a few days of practice and fiddling to try and get the most out of the new foils and controls.
Terry (spar making Aardvark) has done me a cool 2 piece HM mast with interchangeable top sections so in theory I can gear up or down depending on the breeze but will have to see how they look rigged up first before getting too carried away!

All in all, very pleased with things. Unfortunately I just don’t think I’m going to be fit enough to last a full regatta…