Monday, 21 May 2007

What was going through my head when it broke? Nearly the rudder!

Saturday was an interesting day...

The forecast was for yet another light wind drift but there was a chance of a force 3 in the morning. So we made an early start to try to catch the wind before it died. After rigging etc a solid force 4 gusting 5 was blowing and the sun shone. Perfect Garda training conditions...

I launched and sailed out very slowly and very upright because if the boat healed too much I hit the bottom... Once far enough from land 200m I started to sit out, sheet in bear away to see if I could get the first flight in Austria.

She flew. I had her under control but I needed to really fight to keep the upper hand. After a minute of reaching I had to stop to have a rest. Wow this was hard work. I have worked on my fitness with squash and touch rugby but I need to work on my upper body strength. My arms we starting to cramp after 15 mins. This was a battle that I was not ready to fight for 6 hours so I realized that Garda is going to be hard at best.

I was not really confident to sheet in and go for it but trying to keep the power steady and the boat in a straight line. Delicate smooth and nothing aggressive. There is so much power in the rig that it was hard to use it. This is where the modern Moth floppy headed sails mush have an advantage, because they seam to lock in to the wind and provide drive for low drag rather than exponential power, and drag.

Maybe the boat is not set up right, maybe it is my technique, probably it is both. I am a long way from ready for a World Championship. However the sun is shining and the camera boat is there so it is time to show off.


Amazingly Kati caught this moment when the rear wing bar went. The load on the boat is much higher than in the lowriding days due to the dynamic loads which I had underestimated. A joining collar that Adam and i had improvised in the Garda boat park at the Euros 2005 had split and gone.

Waiting for rescue I had time to contemplate my situation. I was a long way from being race repaired at Garda and have one free weekend before I leave. This free weekend will be spent throwing carbon at all possible breakage points of the boat. The Garda worlds looks like a repeat of the Denmark worlds where I will not complete half the races due to boat work issues. Getting a fleet going in Austria will be hard because I am the only one stupid enough to sail on a lake shallow enough to destroy the boat. Without a fleet to train with it will be hard to ever get out of this isolated no mans land where I have to reinvent every thing. The cost per fighting minute is about the same a Concorde. I have one old uncompetitive boat, an other with the build started and a pile of expensive materials. I still need to spend a lot of cash to finish the second boat. I have a workshop fitted out for building Moths with a Monthly cost. Going to Moth Events means driving to the other side of Europe. Meanwhile others train every weekend or full time in new boats from builders who have refined their construction to near perfection. I put so much into this and I am not getting close to getting much back. I am cold I have cuts, bruises and I am about 1 km away from dry land.

Basically Moth sailing is hard and it pushes the limits. If you push the limits you have to be prepared to find them. Maybe this is where i should say stop the madness and kick this bad habit?

On the positive side I think that Kati got one of the most amassing Moth pictures. I can fix my boat relatively easily. My Garmin is one of the only water prof ones (as it was underwater for over an hour) and it showed a matched personal best of 20.4 knots. I it great fun to go an splash about and it was fun flying while it lasted. I have meet some cool people thought Moth sailing and Thanks to Martin, Niki and Kati for their support and help.

I will get back on the horse and ride again, even if it is a bucking bronco. Maybe I can learn to set her up and sail better so than I can fly more consistently upwind. Maybe then I can do a bit of racing at Garda. There are possible technical solutions to the water dept problem.

I would not miss Garda for the world, and I am looking forward to a great event and meeting up with some great people again. I think I just have to lower my expectations about competing. It is the taking part that counts as many losers say but Moth sailing is a part of me.


Unknown said...

Amazing timing on the camera!

Dont give up on it, it takes ages to get sorted but the rewards are huge...

Hopefully see you in Garda

Unknown said...

Sounds very familiar. I think Moth sailing is going through great highs, and deep lows. Luckily I tend to forget the lows very quicly ;) Why don't we combine Austria and Holland so at least we have a two boat fleet? ;)