Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Katherine is on a fast track route to foiling! She’s got an old Axeman that we’ve got sorted into a good little lowrider, with my Mistress 3V ‘The Weapon’ on standby for her to use in the Worlds if she feels ready enough for it.
The wind didn’t comply with my wishes early on and the fleet sat around in the sun and near calm conditions. (And there was no tele to watch the Grand Prix on….) Rod Harris lead the fleet into the water for a swim, only to lose his gps off his wrist, and prompt a bit of free diving to the bottom of the lake to retrieve it! It was a successful mission, but at the expense of Mr Whicher’s rash vest which was taken off in the diving attempts, and found not to float!
The breeze started to fill in and the lowriders were first onto the water to go for a sail, but it came in quite quickly and the fleet leapt into action. It felt a little funny watching a Moth race from the shore, but I kept myself busy with Rod’s camera, and my fancy new image stabilised binoculars to keep an eye on proceedings. Mike Cooke showed the fleet the way round in impressive style.
Katherine decided to sit the next race out, and let me take out the funky purple Axeman for race 2. I think she’d just seen the rain cloud coming though as the heavens opened on us, making for a marked contrast to the sunbathing earlier in the day.
I got off the line well, but those evil foilers just flew past me! (Apologies to all those lowriders I’ve buzzed in the last few years!) Tom, Mike and Rod shot off to leeward, but not before I’d dug out my camera and got a quick shot of them! There were still some light patches so I played the right hand side, delighted to see the foilers struggling to remain in the air out on the left! Oh we might have a race on… With torrential rain by now it was hard to see where the pressure was, and it was funny watching foilers zig zagging around in search of something. I think I rounded the top in 4th or 5th, just ahead of Rod, so I had to get a photo of him! With a light run next I managed to pull away from him and started to chase down Mr Whicher. We had a great little tussle with many lead changes, and if it wasn’t for a slight navigational error on my behalf at the club finish line I’d have got him, but it was a beep, beep finish, for 4th and 5th with Tom deciding to wrap himself around the committee boat anchor line for a while!
I think I’ll retire from lowriding now though, and recommend anybody considering the change to foils to do it early. As long as you can handle the low speed handling of a lowrider, you’ll be able to sail a foiler. I think lowriders are harder in many conditions.
Special mention of the day must got to Alan Watson. Alan ripped his tramp on the Saturday, and stayed up until 3am stitching it up again (then rumoured to go out clubbing until 5am…) It unfortunately ripped again during the first race on Sunday. Not to be deterred though he returned ashore, and covered the ripped area with a towel! Lashed the corners to the wingbars, and went back out to claim 3rd overall in the open!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
We are sure Helena got up to nearer 15k when she got surfing towards Richard Langdon who was doing a photo shoot, and she got caught in his rib wake as well, and had a near miss with the outboard. It is a great video! Surely to appear on a Volvo Sailing podcast soon.
Helena Lucas mid surf, digging a big hole in the water.
Launching off a wave!
Friday, April 11, 2008
People seem to think it is going to be a light winds Worlds, but I think we'll get a bit of everything. Certainly not the 6k average somebody quoted! 10-15k would be my guess.
Although with 50k on the breakwater wall today, it might be all gone by the summer!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Six of Britain’s top disabled sailors have today been named as part of the Paralympics team for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
Britain qualified and will be represented in all three Paralympic boat classes at the Games – the Sonar – a three-person keelboat, the SKUD – a two-person keelboat or and the 2.4mR single-handed keelboat.
The British Sonar crew in Beijing will be the same as Athens in 2004, with skipper John Robertson, aged 36 (Sunderland), again leading 22-year-old Hannah Stodel (West Mersea, Essex) and 31-year-old Stephen Thomas (Bridgend, South Wales). This team, which won world championship golds in 2005 and 2006, finished sixth at the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004 so will be looking to better this placing at the Games this September.
Thomas, who now lives in Cardiff, is a talented multi-sport athlete who also represented Great Britain at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Turin as part of the Ice Sledge Hockey team that finished seventh.
In the 2.4mR one-person keelboat, Southampton’s Helena Lucas will represent Great Britain. Lucas, who turns 33 at the end of this month was a reserve for the Sonar crew in Athens 2004, however this will be her first Paralympics as a full competitor.
Lucas, who finished fourth in the selection regatta in January – the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta – won silver at the 2006 World Championship to secure Britain a place in this class in Beijing.
Finally, with the SKUD-18 class making its debut to the Paralympic Games in Beijing Paralympic newcomers Alexandra Rickham (Epsom, Surrey) and Niki Birrell (Knutsford, Cheshire) will be looking to make a mark for GB in this inaugural competition.
Twenty-one year-old Birrell previously sailed in the Olympic 470 class before starting his Paralympic sailing career in the 2.4mR single-handed keelboat. He joined forces with Epsom’s Rickham, who will celebrate her 27th birthday during the Beijing Paralympics, to vie for selection in the two-person SKUD class. The pair finished fifth in the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January before taking bronze at the US Disabled Open Midwinters regatta in March to secure their berth in this boat class.
ParalympicsGB Chief Executive Phil Lane, said: “It is fantastic to be able to name the British sailing squad for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
“With the SKUD class making its debut to the Games in September we are delighted to be taking a larger number of sailors to the Games to contend for more medals than ever before and we hope to see the squad live up to sailings reputation in Britain as one of the country’s most successful sports.
“To be selected for a Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of an athlete’s career and an achievement that these athletes should be proud of. We wish them the best of luck over the next few months as they put in their final preparations for the Games.”
Sailing Team Manager Stephen Park said: “We’re pleased that the RYA’s nominated sailors have been accepted as part of ParalympicsGB for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
“These six sailors, although a mix of youth and experience when it comes to the Paralympic Games itself, are all proven performers at elite disabled sailing events on the world stage, and represent Great Britain’s strongest chance of success in Qingdao in 2008 while at the same time building towards a successful home Games at Weymouth and Portland in 2012.”
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games opens on 6 September and closes on 17 September. The sailing events at the Games take place in Qingdao in East China at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre and will run from September 8 with finals scheduled for 13 September.