Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poole Moth / Windsurfing Squadron

I caught up with the Poole Mothing & Windsurfing Squadron the other night. After a very windy day windsurfing was throught to be the best option, but the breeze quickly died, and we rapidly rigged Tom and Rod's Moths.

Bristol Corinthian Moth Open

I couldn’t get back in time from the South of France to be able to get my boat packed up and sorted for me to compete in the Bristol Moth open myself, but having found myself a lovely Moth sailing girlfriend, I went up as trolley dolly with plans to cast the fleet off and watch the F1 Grand Prix!

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


Gill have signed up to sponsor me again for 2008. It is great to be able to continue my association with them. I’ve been a product tester for them since I was a very small little National 12 crew (and Mike Cooke was even smaller!), and have worn their kit for my personal sailing for almost 15 years now. Not the same kit though you’ll be please to read!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Moths in Hyeres

In vague Moth news Mark Robinson, and Gary Ireson are both out here in Hyeres.

Had an unofficial Moth class executive meeting today as I caught up with Mark Robinson, while Gary was in trouble with the French Police! He wasn't able to chat up some young policewoman this time like his speeding down to Poole incident, instead it was two very grumpy Frenchmen!

He''d set up his Zhik trailer on the main road in Hyeres marina, and the local shops had complained that he was selling kit from it! Displaying of his passport, taking down of details, and a prompt removal of the trailer later all seemed okay, although I haven't seem him again since.....
He's in serious training though. His Moth is out here with him, after his Palma training camp, and I caught him out running this morning! He spied me drinking tea as he ran past the British base camp!

New Top Speed

Okay so I haven't beaten my top Moth speed, but I have managed a new personal best in a 2.4m. Surfing in big waves yesterday I managed to get to 11.4 knots! which was pretty good considering the hull speed of a 2.4m is 3.8knots!

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.

My view from onboard.

Helena Lucas mid surf, digging a big hole in the water.

Launching off a wave!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Okay this looks very cool... Possibly something to play with if Portland harbour ever froze over!

Worlds Poll

Rohan has put up a poll for people to vote on who they think will be in the top 5 at the Worlds.

I'll leave my form guide for a little while.

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

FBG Foiling

A worthy bit of foiling news is that the 'Fat Bottomed Girl' has been taken foiling by her owner and builder Emma! Who now understands what all the fuss is about!

Check out

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Paralympic Team Announced

The official Skandia Team GBR Paralympic Team representatives were announced yesterday. We knew unofficially after Miami, but no announcement could be made until the British Paralympic Assiciation had approved the nominations.

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.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I've been really poor on the blogging front recently. Loads is happening that I want to report, but don't seem to have time to write about it, and want to do it all justice so put it off until I have time, and then never do.

So in brief, we launched the prototype Velociraptor last week. It was a day of sitting around waiting for the breeze to drop.

I logged some more time in it yesterday, and I'm happy with the shape, the general feel and its stiffness. Did my little torsion test on it, and its stiffer than my last boat, which was already quite stiff. We've confirmed our tweaks for the more production version. So my Worlds boat is in production while I'm away in Hyeres, and China. Quite nice to have had a test boat to try some ideas out on.
Logging loads of time in the 2.4 at the moment, doing tuning runs against the girls in a new boat. Frustrating to not be in the Moth, but a very interesting way to get to know the breeze in Portland harbour. Travelling at 3.8 knots with a compass and a nice jib in front of you makes the shifts a bit easier to spot than flying along in the Moth!
In other news I heard the other day about an interesting rather classified hybrid hydrofoil big boat project, that sounds very cool. It goes public in the next Yachting Monthly. So hydrofoils in one way or another are taking over!