Post match analysis

I had high hopes for blogging/facebooking while out in Italy, but had some connectivity issues at the Univela. Probably a good thing as it probably prevented grumpy old Mike outbursts from reaching the internet!
I had planned on this worlds being a bit of a last swansong for the Ninja. I’ve got a list of things as long as my arm that basically mean a wholesale re-evalution of the boat, so I really wanted me and Shredder to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper!
I had good pace the whole time, but really struggled to understand the venue, as the tactics really seemed to shift around while the breeze was establishing. My lack of practice really showed on the big Wednesday and when Friday came around with more of the same, I decided to call it a day and let Ole Frey (Shredders’ new keeper) take her away without me launching myself into various parts for the morning.
When things went right I could get in the top 10 and stay there (2nd in the practice race and another in the Q series) but I couldn’t get myself there often enough. Fitness wasn’t an issue for me for the first time in a while, but if I’m to compete at this level I’m going to need to focus my sailing a bit more and find someone to train with. Bit of a problem when your only local competition is contemplating sailing something else (shame on you Offer!) and you can cross your local lake in a couple of minutes at 20 knots!
The rest of team Ninja did me proud though and scored some pretty tidy results in a fleet dominated by full time sailors.
The next month or so is tooling time. I’ve been taking on feedback from the Ninja Co-Operative and think I can improve most bits on the boat in some way to improve reliability and repeatability of settings. I’ve also got a couple of very experienced aero/hydro folk looking at foil sections and planforms and will have some prototype foils on the water with my new boat. The plan is for the bells and whistles versions to roll out in the spring.
The ‘Rocket’ is preparing for launch.

Getting ready to roll

My plan a few months ago was to wind down work in the lead up to the worlds so I could make sure I was at the top of my game and everything was groovy. A combination of supplier problems, fiery compressors and general faffing around means the final fittings were screwed onto the final Ninja yesterday and my only sailing since the nationals was at Weston!

I took the opportunity to take Leigh’s shiny blue beast for a shakedown cruise before handing it over for him to start getting some time on the water then dragging Shredder out for a final pre-Garda sail. We were joined on the water by James Phare and a sneaky Ninja training camp occurred at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

So my boat is now in pieces and I’m starting to pack the giant trailer with anything I can find in the workshop that might be useful/hard to find in Italy. Also trying to decide which sails to take – I’ve got a stash of crazy shaped sails which might be put to good use in the lighter afternoon breezes at Campione, my MSL10 has seen better days and my new Hyde had the battens poke through the cam ends after 2 sails so what should be a no brainer is harder than you might think! I’m sure everyone else had their equipment sorted months ago and have just been training with it, but where’s the fun in that?!

Weston Weekend

Yet again, I’ve failed in my task of writing stuff for the blog. I’m starting to think I ought to rename the blog to reflect the complete lack of anything Bristol related going onto it! Ideas on a postcard…

Weston was a great weekend in the end. The forecast was looking a bit ropey halfway through the week and we arrived to no wind. The race team were confident we’d start on time and we thought they were having a laugh. This meant that quite a lot of the fleet were still ashore during the first race when the sea breeze had kicked in right on time!

Due to a lack of sailing, I was trying a load of new stuff on the boat, including a custom variant of the 2012 Hyde which I’d originally ordered for myself and due to some interesting lead times had ended up on Rich Westburys ‘Stop the Pidgeon’. The replacement for this had just arrived on my doorstep and I was keen to try it. Certainly looks how I wanted it and with some tweaks like tapered battens and replacing the top two cams with some that fit I think it’ll probably be my worlds sail.
I was also mucking around with my wand bias a little but ended up back where I started for day two as everything felt a little bouncy and slow.

I generally felt my boatspeed was actually pretty good over the weekend. I wasn’t losing out to the front runners when I was on top of things, but my first beats and starting was leaving me with ground to make up and that’s not something I’m going to be able to afford in a 100 boat fleet! 9 Days till hitching up!

Been following the olympic circus online in my tea breaks at work. Cheering on the Mothies in the 49er fleet – normally you end up cheering on your countrymen! It’s nice validation when you know that the top of your game is at the top of the world game!