Friday, 30 July 2010

The Scorpion Tales

Some of you will notice that my boat will look a little different this weekend.
I will now be working closely with Abarth, the Italian performance car manufacturer. The company's philosophy is to produce "small but wicked" products, and as you can imagine this is in line with the performance and ethos of the Moth.
The Abarth Team are a great bunch of guys. We were their guests at Silverstone last Saturday where we got to enjoy great hospitality and watch the Silverstone round of the Trophy Abarth 500 series from the pit wall. They are committed to racing and very proud of their stunning new range of Abarth road cars. You couldnt get me out of the Abarth Punto Evo! More on this soon.

Mach 2 Moths racing with the Extreme 40's at Cowes this weekend!

Come and see us if you can!

5 Mach 2 Moths will be racing along side the Extreme 40's at Cowes Week this weekend. We will be racing slalom style courses between 1200 and 1500 each day off Egypt point near where the "Extreme" bar is located. It will be fun, and great for us and the Moth class, with full commentary and excellent spectator facilities.

The Mach 2 pilots are Mike Lennon, Ricky Tagg, Jason Russell, Paul Hayden and me.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Mach 2 drain holes

The Mach 2 has small drain holes in each bulkhead. These little holes allow water to flow through the boat so it can be emptied via the bung holes in each tank. We wanted to point out where they were in order to make it easier for Mach 2 sailors to empty any water that may get into the boat.

Just click on the image to enlarge and all drain points are circled in red.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


It's hard to keep life in perspective sometimes, particularly when racing Moths is your hobby. It can be all encompassing, and it has been for decades. I can recall a time when winning moth sailors would have laboured over a project in an unheated shed to emerge after six months, newly single and with rickets, but with a fast creation that scooped up the prizes largely by making all other boats redundant.

Today you have to race sailors who are bred to win world championships until the end of time, so given the need to make every second count it was a surprise when I experienced a wonderful evening in my Mach 2 on Tuesday night. I was the only Moth out, like I had been years before, and the harbour was empty. I was pleased that I wasn't too far gone to be reminded of the soulful beauty of foiling and occasionally low riding across the harbour. The only thing that I've still yet to get used to is the "phat" of a failed take off; it still reminds me of a dead pheasant hitting the ground, but other than the round the island race it was the best sail I've had this year.

It was just fabulous actually, I could have stayed out all night and very nearly did. Largely owing to an ebb tide which made France the next stop but it was great to briefly get away from the constant communication that evades our lives, from the very moving Facebook status updates "so and so has to go to work today (boo) but she may take a sicky (te he) but they really need her (lol) to the constant news barrage that modern tools and lack of will power mean I keep constantly abreast of, and of course from blogs like this. I swear one day it will be possible to die from binary exposure.

Mothing takes on many forms, and its "pick me up" ability is never lost on me, but it does come at a price, and that's the price of the boat, but you need to keep that in perspective too, getting married cost more than a Mach 2 and getting divorced costs more than two and you'd need a fleet to pay for the cost of dying.

Monday, 12 July 2010

UK Nationals - Overall

That was a really good series! I was pleased with my pace and I feel back in the groove a bit although I have some work to do on some less than perfect aspects of my game. We had some good sailing and it was great to meet new moth sailors who have started on the learning curve and are every bit as engaged as we were when Rohan Veal turned up with "White Knuckle Express". But you never stop learning and one cool thing I learned from watching Arnaud was that on the Mach 2 you can kneel on the tramps and reach forward to change the wand adjuster bolt between races (if you are careful and hold on tight with the other hand) without getting wet. I also learned (on the way in from the last race I sailed) that if you try the same while foiling it cannot be done and you do get wet as you simply run yourself over. Anyway I would like to publically apologise to the Harbour Master. He told me not to do more than 5 knots and in 16 knots of breeze and with the harbour directly to leeward I just couldnt even when he told me 5 times. Accordingly I may have called him a "Knob Head", oddly a term which I have hardly ever used.
Thanks to Arnaud and Mikis for coming over and for the great racing I had with them but also Mike, Jason, Mike C, Ricky, Richard etc. Its certainly getting close at the top these days.
Full results here

Friday, 9 July 2010

Nationals Day 2

What a great day on the water. We had three races, two were light and around 10 -12 knots I think. The third was up there at around 17 -18 knots.
We were held by the race officer until the breeze settled down and then were called back after a general recall before race one got under way. From then on the one minute rule was used on every start.
Arnaud broke a shroud just before the start of race 1 and that was him out for that race, At the end of the first lap Mikis Psarofaghis led after a blinding hard right beat with me second and Mike Lennon on my heals, then Ricky Tagg and Richard Lovering. DJ Edwards was going well also. We swapped places a bit, it was as shifty as hell, the kind of shifty that you know you should pull more kicker on but didnt in case while doing so you missed a shift.
I won, Mike was second and I think Ricky was third.
Race two and Arnaud and I had a bit of a battle,him gybing on the gusts and catching me downwind. I had a better beat but boats were coming in from all angles and Paul Hayden and Jason Belben were there or there abouts..
I managed to win and Mike was second, Ricky was third and Arnaud after a frustrating last beat was fourth I think, or Maybe Richard Lovering was.
The final race and the breeze was up. Arnaud got out the line well and was off, I was second and Mike third.
Coming back in was the usual faff but the English Riviera lived up to its name and we sat drinking cofee and watching the world go by.
It was a great day on the water, the race team did a really good job and the four lap races were certainly taxing. From my side I need to tack better and start better.
It was a day for Mach 2's, taking all the top places in each race.
The UK fleet is really on fire, not since '94 have we had this many boats and never have we had this many good sailors coming in from other classes and competing at this event. The racing is tight throught the fleet.
Great times.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

UK Nationals day 1

I've come to the conclusion National Championships should be approached differently to Europeans and Worlds. Largely they are run by a friendly club, new to Moths who give us a really good and enthusiastic welcome. Royal Torquay is such a club and the members are just great. For a number of years now I've decided to find all the little idiosyncrasies you get with this kind of event "charming". So today we had a charming kind of day, where we charmingly launched into a tiny little working harbour and we sat around on the water having charming chat while waiting for the rest of the fleet to join us. Of course it would have helped if they had bothered to put their wetsuits on the right side of the start time, but I've decided to find that charming too.
When we did race it was in a shifty and gusty breeze that quickly spread the 42 boat fleet out. The first race was the less shifty race and I won with Arnaud second, Mike Lennon third and Jason Belben fourth.
The next race could be described as charming but I'd stretch to shite. The wind turned on/off and I sat in a great big hole for a long while. Not for the fist time in my life of course but fairly new in sailing. Anyway Jason Belben won and Arnaud was second and I was third. Should have been shortened or thrown out, but it wasn't, which was charming.

Monday, 5 July 2010

National Trust

Its the UK nationals this week and I'm not really ready. I've wanted to be ready and nothing should have really stopped me, but other little things just keep coming up. I've tried to supplement dodgy boat handling by acquiring the ability to read peoples minds but when everyone was at Weymouth and I was at Hayling it was clear that wasn't going to work either. Anyway I've decided to be positive and conclude that it takes immense skill to waste so much preparation time.

I am not a jealous man. I do not sit around all day coveting your friggin private jet or your hair, but I was jealous yesterday. Specifically jealous of Richard Loverings tacks. They were so much better than mine, which weren't really tacks but a pathetic luff head to wind followed by a capsize. I only won the club race because the boat hauled me to the front, and we hit 24.7 down wind in a bumpy Chichester harbour.

Will it do at the Nationals? No I doubt it, and I will have to find other ways of getting to the front. Work will mean I cant get there until Wednesday which wont leave much time, but a quick call to UK Border Patrol seems to have kept the Swiss out for another day and I may build on Phil Stevensons law and claim that you cant be UK national champion unless you have survived the blitz and find it impossible to speak French...