Friday 17 October 2008

No faith in democracy only Darwin.

I has been a bad political month in Austria. The 2 far right parties managed to get a third of the votes (luckily they had so much in-fighting that they spilt a few years ago into two parties or they would be very powerful now). Their Nationalistic Social campaign and message that they would fight for Austria and Austrians was very popular and attracted a lot of voters that were feed up with the the 18 month old failed coalition. Then a week ago Jörg Haider, who has been a key figure in far right Austrian politics for many years, entered the Darwin awards.

Jörg was supposed to be clever and the original National Social leader but I think Hitler beat him to it. He got pissed and drove over twice the speed limit at 3 in the morning on a foggy night which does not really strike me as that clever or even original. Luckily he only killed himself and did not take out anyone else, when he crashed.

The last time I heard Jörg talk it was on the radio and he was explaining that there was a court case in his home town where a male Muslim teacher would not touch a girl because she was dirty. So he made the point that this is not the kind of culture Austria should tolerate, and I totally agree, but it was obviously not tolerated or there would not have been a court case. I assume that if this Muslim had imprisoned the girl in a cellar and repeatedly raped her over a period of decades, like 2 Austrians men that there are court cases about in the last year, then there would be not course for cultural integration concern and fear.

Speaking as an foreigner in this beautiful land it is hard to feel like the root of Austira's problems. I pay my taxes here and the UK paid for the education that Austria profits from. However there are other non Christian (for the record I am a Jedi Knight) foreigners that are having a negative impact on Austria apparently. All I know is this cultural diversity has lead to my favourite food: Kebab Pizza.

It is interesting to watch politics in the US where anyone can be president (but it seams to help if your Dad or husband was once president). It looks like Gorge Bush may go down in history for the biggest positive impact on the environment by sending the world into global recession. The hard fact is that we are a parasite on this planet and doing stuff cost resources. If we want to preserve resources then we need to stop doing stuff. This goes against all our principles of day to day living and the only thing that will slow us down is lack of credit. So maybe Gorge is the ultimate Hippy, and not just some dumb cowboy.

So democracy seems like the worst form of government apart from all the rest. I am angry and frustrated that such stupidity can be tolerated as main stream politics. However there is a greater force that Democracy called Darwinism.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Releasing the IMCA website Editroial Power (only slightly).

There is a new feature on the IMCA website, that allows Members to submit news links to go on the home page. You must log in and if you are an active member you get a link in the Members tool bar to "Add News". You then enter a country, title and Website URL and hit save. I then get an email and will approve the item to go on line, unless it is really not appropriate.

The idea is to let IMCA members suggest new links so it is not just down to me and my opinion about what is news. However I want to retain some kind of editorial control and so I have introduced an approval step in the process. Maybe I am being uptight but there is so much SPAM on the web that I think it is a good idea to start with atleast.

I still intend to spend every waking moment trawling thought the internet to give you the latest and greatest Moth news highlights, but I also want to try to introduce a bit of power to the people so that the website becomes more than just my personal view of the Moth sphere. This is something I will no doubt later regret.

Coming soon will be the ability to add new Moth events. These then go in the events database and are available in the iCal files and Google Calendar etc... At the moment this works (sort of) but I need to think about who can enter new events, Members or Committee members? Can you edit the event after it has been created? etc...

Also there will be a boats for Sale database integrated in to the site at some point but I need to again think about data management and control... Erwan has set up something at so the pressure if off to get this on-line ASAP.

I also want to make the event pages and data management better. This will tie in the people, boats and events with results. It then should be possible to build up personal profiles (and maybe a seeding) for each sailor (and boat) based on their results. Again this is something I will no doubt later regret.

Friday 3 October 2008

Class War.

I am as middle class as they get, because I always finish in the middle of the fleet although each time I have done an event I have improved my boat speed dramatically.

I started in the middle class when I was 18 in a Magnum 5 that was twice as wide as everyone else narrow boat. I got beaten by kids my age in new Magnum 9, and Axemans etc... OK they were good sailors but how could I compete with their hardware? (Interestingly 20 years later one of these kids was complaining about a kid who had been bought a brand new boat by daddy.)

I had out growen the Magnum 5 so got a second hand Gentleman Jim and then I begged and borrowed to build my own modern Moth. I used both these boats to come in the middle of the fleet again in the early 90s. The boat I build in 93 I got back into to come in the middle of the fleet in 2005 in a lowrider and then in the middle of the fleet as a foiler 2006. I dramatically improved the set up and reliability to come in the middle of the fleet again in 2007. I built a brand new boat to come in the middle of the fleet again this year. Some people are born winners, some loosers,
I am born to be middle class.

I would love to be World Champion, however as the Moth stakes rise the commitment to win does too. You need Money, new gear, to travel lots, training partners, a coach, spares, shore based boat repair and support crew and you have to spend hours and hours on the water no matter what the weather is. Whether the guys that are putting this level of commitment together are professional or not is hard to say but for sure they are putting in am impressive performance.

All I know is that in my line of work it is important to have fun, and that is why I am in this fleet. To me that means some good racing, building some cool boats and some good mates to play with. It is fun to be part of the Moth fleet and to meet up (in reality and virtually) with
old and new friends. After all the boats are the star of the show not some ego that just won a race (unless I win a race of course).

So since I am bound to come in the middle of the fleet I can only hope that the standard of the fleet continues to improve, so that I can too. I do not think a 2 tier system is good for the racing or atmosphere and how do you split the the professionals from the amateurs, and the rich from the poor, and the young from the old and the fit from the unfit and the people that have done some training from the guys that launched the boat at the event.

The fleet is a group and there is more than one star. Without the crazy prototypes that turn up, the new ideas, the hard working committee members and event organizers, the tiller of doom, saluting the squadron leader and top gun quotes it would not be so much fun. If the only thing we as members can appreciate, is the guy that won, then we are reading too much of our own publicity and should go to an event and have a curry, beer and laugh with the Middle class because that is what it is about for the majority.

I think every Moth sailor has to know what they are wanting to archive in the Moth fleet and set their own realistic personal goals and ambitions. If you are frustrated because you get beaten by some dick that has bought, or got given a new boat that is faster than you then "Harden the Fuck up". In this world money and success are closely linked. Being talented and hard working is not enough, and life aint fair. If you really want to win then you need more commitment, talent and resources than everyone else or you need to make sure you have a smile on your face at the end of the day.