Wednesday 13 June 2007

Austrian Fleet is GO! No more underestimations.

It looks like we will have an active Hydrofoil Moth Fleet in Austria after the Worlds. Or two boats at least. The report I wrote 2 weeks ago for Austria was supposed to be optimistic, but it turned out to be very conservative. I am so pleased that sailing against other boats may not mean a drive across Europe.

It seams like the Moth Class is gathering momentum faster and faster than anyone could predict, (and there have been some what seamed like outrageous predictions). Are we seeing the start of a new sport like kite surfing? If we are then it means bringing the Moth to the masses, which is part of what the Bladerider is trying to do. (I think but it is not too clear to me.)

If the masses are to sail Moths then we will have to see if they are ready for it. There is a big difference between a Moth and a normal production boat. The amount of material in the layup is totally different. There is no way to make a competitive Moth as robust as a Laser. So if masses of people are to get into hydrofoiling then they have to evolve to be able to handle these racing machines. Maybe this is what is happening.

Maybe what is happening is the same thing that happened with Asymmetric spinnakers, trapeze boats, planing hulls, aluminum masts, plywood... If it is we will see 20 different one design production hydrofoil boats popping up soon. This will give people the benefit of one design racing, where you can race in a handicap fleet of 20 very different boats, and be held to ransom by your one supplier...

In the mean time the Moth is continuing to show where it is at. Check out the worlds preview there will be around 70 boats from 15 different countries. There are loads of new boats, and designs. A lot of the boats are very different, I can not wait to go round the boat park with my tape measure, and camera.

If you still do not think the Moth is on a big hype mode at the moment check the IMCA site stats at: These always peak around the worlds but lets see how much they peak around these worlds.

My boat is repaired and I think she is better prepared for the racing than me. I can not wait to go down to Garda at the end of next week.

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Worlds Preview.

OK so everyone is at it so what about a worlds preview. Here are my thoughts leading up to the event.

I think for the first time Rohan made a claim that was an underestimated. ;-) He said there would be 60 boats at the worlds, but there will be around 70. There is a lot of new kit out there too. There are of course the Bladeriders which and leaving the factory as fast as they can but also Fastacraft are knocking boats out at a surprising rate. It is exciting times for the Moth and the Worlds will be a really great event.

As for who is going to win. My money is on Simon Payne. It will be a big fleet of boats with a lot of guys who have a chance to get to the windward mark first off a crowded start line. Therefore transitional big fleet skills could do it. This is where I think Simon is going to have the edge over Rohan. However Rohan's boat handling is amassing and in the big breeze of Torbole his determination could grind down the competition. So It will be very close.

There is also a lot of other guys that are on form and getting close to the top. I think that the first 10 will be racing together not just the first 3 as it has been for the last 2 big events. We could see some surprise performances, as there are a lot of new boats and riders.

Which boat will prove to be better? The Prowler will be more reliable because this is a refined bit of kit and very well made. I think the Bladerider will be close on quality but does not have the maturity that the Prowler has. The Bladerider is a newer design and does not have the "old fashioned" prowler freeboard but I suspect the difference in weight is neglagible. The differentiators will be how well the boat is set up which will mean there will be a mix of Hungry Tigers, Mistresses, Prowlers and Bladeriders in the top 10.

The middle of the fleet will be getting lapped before they complete the second lap showing that there are big gains in boat speed from small setup and skill differences, and for most of us it does not matter what boat you have.

A lot of beer will be drunk and it will be windy and sunny every day with the wind changing direction at midday.

I will leave Trobole having had a great sail and frustrated trying to compete with boats that are 10 younger than mine. However I hope to get a few bits of racing in before my body and/or boat say we have had enough for the day.

I have 3 free days before I leave for Garda to throw carbon at the boat and pack it and my windsurfing gear on to the car. I can not wait to get there.