Tuesday 24 June 2008

Tomorrow the pilgrimage starts.

The rig is loaded with the Austrian Moths. I have sorted a new spare wheel.
The ferry is booked. I have nearly packed etc....

I will spend the next 2 days driving to the UK and hope to get there in time to meet Kati and Max who fly in on Thursday evening. My sister is getting married on Friday so there will be a big family party for 2 days after that. Then it is down to London to show Max where he was born and try to impress Kati with my cockney charm (wot I got wen I woz livin in Gwenich, init).

After being a tour guide and making up lots of stories about London. It is back up to Cambridge to pick up Niki and Ozren from the Airport. Then we all travel down to Weymouth on Thursday Morning. Kati will be there for a week before she goes off to play in the touch European Chanpionships in Paris, and Max will stay with Granny and Grandpa for an English holiday. If the logistics of this all work out it will be a bloody miracle.

So that gives me about 9 days of training, boat testing, repairing and tuning in Weymouth so I should be ready to start competing when it is time to pack up 3 boats and drive home at the end of the worlds. So I am not expecting to win the worlds but I am expecting to have a lot of fun.

So this is me going off-line as the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a laptop when I am on holiday. I will however try to keep the IMCA site up to date, but as I understand it there is free beer at the wedding and at the worlds...

Thursday 19 June 2008

The new rig,

Team Austria were packing our new rig till midnight last night.

The trailer that we got on ebay has been rebuilt for Moths and is really cool but does not fit Moths with wings on....! The guy that made it is a brilliant trailer builder but the result, although beautiful, is impractical when the boats have wings on. So the frame needs a re-think and the back cross bar needs to be removable or something. So we have a trailer redesign project for the light wind days at Weymouth, if you have any cute ideas....?

On the way back from the UK we will bring 3 boats so again we may need some cute ideas about how the 3rd boat and it's bits can be lashed on the frame or it will have to go on the car roof rack.

So finally we got 2 boats on the trailer and its box full of foils, toolboxes, epoxy, carbon, prodders, spare prodders, trolley wheels, covers, kite surfer, Bladerrider rigging mallet, wingbars, tramps.... This was a great relief, but not for the tyres, one of which relieved itself or air.

I wanted to take a picture for the blog but is was dark and very late so I will have to do this on Saturday, when I run around trying to get a flat tyre fixed.

Monday 9 June 2008

Ammersee skiff regatta

So the big Moth event of the weekend is of course the Ammersee skiff regatta near Munich. I was uming and aring about going then I decided sod it lets go, and I am so glad I did. Niki also decided to come which I think he also thinks was a good decision.

Here is a very quick report on my weekend:

Saturday was great but on Sunday there was no wind, which since I was so knakered from the day before I was not too disappointed about. On Saturday we were foiling in the gusts but mainly low ridding. My boat went great but I broke the prodder on 3rd lap of the first race. Then spent 2 races trying to find car keys to get the old prodder out my car but could not find them dispite sailing out to ask Niki where he hid them.

I sailed the 4th race with no prodder and no rig tension, kicker or cunningham so he mast would survive and I would get some more flying time. I was very slow upwind, then I sailed the wrong course and got DSQ. So I came last overall in the four race series with a RTD, DNS, DNS DSQ.

On the negative:
I had no watch for the start. I sailed every shift in the wrong direction. I got the course wrong. My wand jammed up just when I had the chance to take the lead at the leeward mark resulting in 2 crashes and a capsize at critical moment. Broken prodder, and tramp lashing rod. Cramps in the arms and sore everything. Chasing around trying to find car key for half the races. The wind was horrible. All in all I have a few things to improve on.

On the positive:
It was great to meet some "local" moth sailors. It was great to see some old familiar boats again. I learned lots and lots and lots and lots. My boat is fast, and flys well. The German fleet were great and we had a really nice atmosphere. Michi's holiday house was a amazing setting for a barbecue, breakfast and beers. The other skiffs (int 14, 49er and 18ft skiffs) were cool boats to be out sailing with. The sailing club was great. I now have 4 times as much flying time in the new boat.

The Flashheart is an awesome shape. I was taking off as early as or earlier than
Bladeriders with the same weight helms. The transition from lowriding to
flying is not noticeable. I have yet to crash in strong winds but the fine
bow and bouncy aft really works well in flat water. The V forward sheds
water like we wanted. Adam May did a great job on this hull design.

Felix and I met and exchanged boat building tips. He broke a push rod before the start of the first race so we could not get a picture of us both foiling. So here is my 2nd place in the build race pic.

Harald won low-riding Si Payne old Skippy. I will post the results up later.

Wednesday 4 June 2008

The German Job.

- Our trailer is not going to be ready to use.
- Niki's new centerboard has not arrived yet.
- I have done 2 flying hours and not really tested the boat.
- There is no wind forecast for Ammersee (5 hours drive) and a force 2-3 for the local lake (1 hours drive).

There will be a Moth regatta at Ammersee this weekend in Southern Germany and I really want to go to meet Moth sailors in person and get a weekend of Moth racing, beer drinking and barbecues. Carlo has done a great job organizing this and I really want to go and support this "local" Moth event. However Niki is reluctant to borrow gear which i understand and I do not want to miss out on training to sit by a windless lake. I also do not want to drive on my own for 10 hours when I could use the time finishing jobs on the boat sailing in more wind in the east and not spending a fortune on petrol.

I picked up my boat from the sailmaker yesterday. I have dismantled all the wings so it sits on half of my roof rack waiting for Niki's boat to join it. I just want the wind forecast to improve, and Niki to get his bits then it will be all systems go. Our fate is in the hands of the Wind Gods and the Delivery Monkeys.

The Italian Job

Last weekend we went down to Italy for a friendly Touch Rugby Tournament. Camped out by a lake in Southan Austria on Friday night and then visited Venice on Saturday.

Venice is amazing and well worth a visit before it sinks. It is a city with no cars only boats and river traffic congestion, and tourists.

So after a day and a half of tourism we get to the Tournament on Sunday mid day but the German Touch Rugby refs have pulled out. So there were 2 Italian touch rugby teams that new the rules and one non playing Touch Ref. We were the Austro-Irish team consisting of some Vienna guys and 2 Irish guys. There were 20 Italian Rugby teams, Rugby Refs, and 6 fields to play the 15min long games on.

So we explained the rules to the stand in rugby refs and started to play. Now do not get me wrong Rugby is a great game and these guys were good at it and there were even 2 guys that play for or have played for Italy, BUT Touch Rugby rules have evolved from Rugby training into a new sport where fast team work by mixed teams have fun. The rythum and tactics are very different to Rugby.

So we were frustrated that we could not play properly because the Rugby players did not know the rules. They were constantly committing pentaties. The Rugby players got more and more aggressive because they were getting beaten by a bunch of whimps and girls.

At one point a Rugby player did an instinctive Rugby full body check on me. I was so angry, not because he was trying to knock me out but because it was like playing tennis and someone running off with your racket. So I was ready to take a swing at him when I was wisely told to clam down and let the ref handle it (which he did).

Note to self. Do not pick a fight with an angry rugby team.

Anyway needless to say it was not the best tournament. We had a great close game with one of the Italian touch side who luckily beat us, so we could get out of there and start the long drive back. Some of the other Vienna guys stepped in and did some reffing which was brave...

This is not the last time I go to Italy to do a touch tournament because I like Italy a lot and the 2 touch teams down there were great. However it is the last time I play touch against a rugby team as it is a waste of time. This is a shame because these rugby guys were very skillful and have some great moves, but it is like playing table tennis on a volleyball court, it just does not work, unless you can agree on some rules and play to them.