Montag, Juni 30, 2008

Great Moth Shots from the Windy Days at Kiel

You can´t get it any better. Have a look at the great shots which photographer Sommerwerck at: Sommerwerck, Maritime Photografie took during a typical race day in Kiel last week. The appetizer here at the front (Christian in typical airborne style) is one of these shots. I think we will see a couple of them in some future magazines and advertising about some „fresh products“, mens aftershave or whatever. I am glad that I have been one of the fleet. I am not so happy that I did not find myself in one of the shots. A few other guys missing also but honestly: He took the leading fleet. I have not been in that bunch of sailors. Just behind. And not flying so spectacular high.

Yesterday, on Sunday, I had a good sailing session on my home water. It was important for me to get back on to the boat. To check the setup which did not make me happy during Kieler Woche. I have 2 sets of foils and I compared them closely. Found out that the set I had used had some deviation. It was visible. And it explained some of the problems I had with ride height (actually my boat sailed very low and did not want to fly easily) and with ventilation. A pity I did not had the chance to look at them earlier on (borrowed out) but than I maybe would not have had the experience which I do have now after an extensive Kieler Woche. I will not excuse myself for not being fast enough, there is a lot to improve but if the boat sails easy, it comes easy for me. Next regatta shall be in Horsens, Denmark, at the end of July and I am looking forward to it.

Kieler Woche wasn´t finished for me after the Moth sailing. Instead I had been asked by a friend to skipper his classic 50 footer (S & S style) at the distance race last Saturday, the Schabernack Cup from Kiel to Holy Harbour (Heiligenhafen). There had been about 80 boats varying as wide as one ex Aussie racer, called “Wild Thing”, now being called “Calypso”, to a Mac Gregor65 and the smallest being a Sunbeam 22 (22ft). We had a very good start at the pin end. Closed hauled and were able to free the sheets just a little. After a while some modern IMS boats (Sydney41, X-482) tried to roll us but we could show them by luffing with all the momentum of a 13ts boat that they should pass to leeward. It worked, but not with every boat later in the race. We got rolled slowly but surely by a couple of faster boats. One particular 33ft boat impressed me. A Stern33. Looked really nice and sailed quick. Later in the race we changed to a fractional Gennaker and than later to a top spinnaker which felt good with this heavy boat. The whole race was sailed with the wind from the starboard side. No tack, no jibe. A bit boring would we not have such a nice owner, who brought food and drinks not only for the race but for a really nice crew dinner which we had on board later in the evening. We finished in the middle of the class 1 group, I think 2 or 3 places behind “Wild Thing” on corrected time, though this boat did win on sailing time. First ship home, best berth, best girls as they say. Not that Holy Harbour attracts a lot of them.
Photo: courtesy by Sommerwerck, Maritime Photografie.  See link above.

Donnerstag, Juni 26, 2008

Kiel Week Video and Result List.

There is an interesting Kiel Week Video here. It shows some heavy weather action from Monday, when the wind was above 30kn, gusting up to 38n. No dinghy sailing on the various courses but a few Laser enthusiasts where practicing jibes. Also some footage from my German Moth friends, Peter and Carlo. The full Moth result list is here: Moth results, Kiel 2008

Mittwoch, Juni 25, 2008

Kieler Woche in the Moth class

...or has it been "Killer Woche", with my bones and muscles feeling so tired? And for a lot of boats which had to retire from some races for repair. Kiel Week lived up to my expectations: Windy, gusty and lot´s of waves from the hundreds of RIBS, spectator crafts and other floating objects who wanted to see the Moth´s flying on course Hotel. Herrmann from the press office had "hammered the message home" way to often.

Now being back in the office there is lot´s of work to do and I will leave you fellow readers with a great link to Adam Mays blog, Adam Mays Blog. He did not only write a great report about his racing, he is also the winner in the Moth class in her first appearance within this truly international and great regatta. Well done, Adam. Congratulations! You are a worthy winner! Thanks for reporting so well. I could find myself being one of the guys being lapped by you, not only in one, but nearly in all races. Nevertheless I enjoyed my foiling but have a lot of work to do to increase the speed upwind and the handling downwind. I will write up my personnel thoughts and experiences about "things to do" later.

Mittwoch, Juni 18, 2008

The excitement is building...

Kieler Woche, yes! Haven´t sailed it since a couple years. Last time in an X-382 under the famous IMS rule and we did win in a field of abt. 25 yachts not only in our group (IMS II) but also within the IMS divisions over-all. It was impressive and the load of silverware which I had collected at the price giving caught the attention of Ross Field, the New Zealander who was the skipper of one of the Grand Mistral Maxi Yachts which were supposed to go "Around the world" in one-Design 24m yachts. Anybody knows the whereabouts of these beautiful Farr designed boats?

OMG, all this name dropping. Anyway, the Kiwi asked me later in the evening, if I would like to join in their next leg of the ADECO Race to Stockholm. No way for me I decided. 36 hours on the rail of such a beast, maybe to jump at the grinder and to collapse after 3-5 minutes. No, not good for me. And my navigation skills weren´t any good either. I have been a helmsman most of my sailing life but to ask for this position was not adequate.

Now on Saturday I want to race in Kiel again. On course "HOTEL" and with my Moth. My goal: Not to become last in the fleet. Not to get too many alphabets. My heart is jumping at the thought of lining up with other boat class enthusiasts as it always did before the week was coming up. Boat prep has top priority now though the body should get in shape as well. But: too late now. Too many reasons not to go running, biking or swimming. Now, with 2 days to the first start it would not help either. Instead I will head out with my crew tonight for the Wednesday night race. Do some start line checks and all the things which I have to do alone next week. The weather report is a mixed affair for the next days. I have always thought that (weatherwise) Kieler Woche should be a week later in June but who listens to someone who has only done 25 or 26 such weeks. (Should count back, I am sure the journos will ask me one day). So to all my competing friends in the Moth class: I do hope that I am not getting into your way. My foiling jibes are non existing. But I am learning everyday and I am enjoying this thing immensely. Most of my Moth friends will stay in the carpark in Strande. Boats will be nearby at the beach.

Freitag, Juni 13, 2008

Sailing Caps and MOB

You all know about sailing caps. Those hats which are often a treasure and which are telling you years after you got them, where you have been. The most sought after item I think are the Mount Gay caps. And you have to get them at the event. Sometimes you have to fight to get one.

Some of these caps are fitting nicely, some of them you are loosing when looking up into your windex or checking the twist in the sail. The current fashion (coming from the Volvo Ocean guys?) is to wear your sunglasses on top of the hat. Yeap. Looks cool mate. Costly when you loose both.

With the sun low in the West and beating home at the Wednesday night race it makes sense to wear your best fitting cap and I found it to be useful, when the shade is of green colour on the inside. My "company" caps do not have that at present. They are grey and yellow. Corporate colours of course. A colour which people seem to like, counted on the number of caps which we are handing out. Funny, the second batch (1000 pcs ea) did not fit as the first batch. I am sure that the manufacturer must have saved 1 cm all the way around at the bottom. This made the cap useless in strong winds, no matter how tight you were doing the Velcro. I mean, small heads would fit into it without the danger of the cap being blown away whilst controlling your sail shape, but big heads, afterguard heads... OK, hit me with a rhythm stick, this is not Americas´s Cup talk.

My best cap at present was one, which had been secured to the sailbag of my new SL13 sail from KA sails, when I recently purchased it. A Moth sail. And sailing a Moth it is useless to wear sunglasses. You need a good cap to protect yourself against the sun, to avoid dizziness from the sun. Proudly going out sailing with the new cap I lost it of course when I took a swim. It drifted away from me, whilst uprighting the boat. But I managed a good MOB maneuver, being able to reach for the cap at the first encounter after gybing and sailing into the wind. A good practise. I had another COP (cap over board), maneuver. This one took me two trials to grap it from the water. Come on, not bad with a black carbon Moth, to find a black cap in near black water...

Now I have kinked the cap with a chock cord to my swimming vest (PFD?). You can see me on the photo coming back ashore, centerboard up already and cap saved. Yes, and all the scratches on my rudder and centerboard due to groundings on my homewater are another story.

Dienstag, Juni 10, 2008

What a difference a day makes...

As my regular readers have noticed already there has been a unique weather pattern in the north of Germany for the past 8 weeks. Constantly winds from the east veering to NE on some days. Strong winds, mostly between the 5 Bft mark, building up to 7 Bft over the day due to thermal effects on my home water. A heaven for the windsurfers.

Friday, the day after my last post I was blowing "like stink" again and I was bored not to abel to go sailing with the Moth. Do not want to frustrate myself and do not want to break something before Kieler Woche. Therefore I took my old windsurfing gear out. Used the Litewave 2,65 slalom board, made in Cornwall some 19 years or so ago. My biggest fin (35cm) to have some grip and pointing ability and the 4.7qm Gunsail. The locals had found a nice new spot, only a couple of days ago, just 2 minutes by car from my home. Awesome. I took a while to put the gear together. Way too many options in mast steps etc. It was a good evening out though a bit short as we expected guests and I had promised some BBQ work. There was only one guy who could beat me in speed and my jibes were smooth. But when we decided to round the red buoy, marking the shipping lane, I wiped out. I decided that I would go again. It is like bicycle riding or skating, you do not forget about how to do it.

Saturday, the day which made the difference: I decided to sail the Moth early in the day, before the thermal would start to become strong. Some maintenance work was necessary before going out. A shackle, which looked strong enough for the vang had bended beyond repair and the ropes were getting tired. The morning session on the water was good though I am still miles from doing a foiling jibe. I try to steer smooth into the jibe but ones dead downwind and stepping over, the boat heels a lot to the leeward side. I am just not quick enough or organized enough with my body movements. Old bones and weak muscles are not ideal for quick reactions. But I am still sure I am getting there. It was one of the reasons to buy a Moth to learn something new everyday. The first steps were easy, straight line foiling, but what you can see now from experts like Rohan, Simon, Bora or Chris on the internet (You Tube) is difficult and takes some time for a newbie like me. I was so motivated that I did put in another session late afternoon. I had learned a little bit about to use the "elevator". The rudder which can be adjusted, like a pilot does. I also trimmed the sail harder and better than any day before and I got good speed as a result. Forgot to switch on the Velocitek on the shore and did not want to destroy it in the water by opening it for the on/off switch. It was really good to put in some hours. It showed me where to improve not only in sailing but with the clothing before Kiel. Need higher neopren boots, long arm top and should wear gloves with long fingers. Lot´s of chafing on the body parts which had not been covered.

Sunday, K. and I first took the Bull for a nice cruise until we hit the ground (softly into the mud) and than we turned back home and gave the much abused boat a good wash and cleansing. She (the boat!) should be OK for the Wednesday night race. After that K. wanted to spend some time with her brother and the little one and I took the Moth for another ride. Wasn´t a real good one. Maybe too many onlookers or sore bones. Did capsize 3 or 4 times which normally shouldn´t happen anymore. Got a glimpse of how a good tack could be but always slow out of the maneuver, which costs dearly.

Monday there was a sign of a weather change. First day with the wind from the usual West quadrant. Gusty. I rigged the Moth again to improve in the changing modes, foiling and low riding. Young Adrian showed up with his Europe Dinghy. I was able to beat him to the weathermark but he beat me big time at the leeward finish. After that we changed boats. A little bit small this Europe Dinghy for me. Adrian enjoyed a couple of capsizes and a little fight with the Bladerider. He did not give up but was not rewarded with a flight. The wind had gone down further. Next time young chap. He told me that he now understands why I did spend so much time in the water the first days on the Moth. Good guy.

Tuesday, K. is running the Opti course at one of the local clubs but again today there is too much wind for the beginners. White caps all over the place. Wanted to meet a friend out on the water who has just finished work on his used Contender. Doubt that we are both able to show up with our dinghies.

Donnerstag, Juni 05, 2008

Time is flying...

Time is flying by and so did I. Look at the pics, me having done an extended 18kn ride (Uuuh, just short of becoming a member of the 20kn club) but honestly, there are just not enough good days to put in some necessary practise on the Foilermoth. The North of Germany is a great place for windsurfing at present. Strong winds (mostly 18-22kn) from the east or north-east nearly everyday since abt. 8 weeks. Sun is shinning almost every day. Wind from the left (at the bottom of my garden...), which had been my favourite side but somehow I am not very keen of going windsurfing these days. Here is an update on the very limited sailing days recently.

Last week I only had one late afternoons of "Mothing" and an hour on early Sunday morning but no chance to take part in the beer-can-race on Wednesday night with the Bull. Nor did I take part yesterday evening. Small health problems again and very strong wind prevented me from rigging the Bull. I think we would have slipped more sideways than sailing against the strong 22-25kn wind. If it keeps blowing like this I should consider a second reef in the mainsail. Must talk to the sailmaker. Watching the X-99 yesterday evening, leading the pack with a second reef in, but still the mainsail flocking hard did look like shredding a lot of money through the leech.

Today looks promising and maybe this is another day when it makes sense to clip the Velocitek on to the boat. And yes, my spare foils which I wanted to save for the "big point" regattas are in need of filling and fairing as well as the ones which I have lent to Felix. I hope he puts them into good use to have a benchmark against the ones which he developed himself.