Montag, Juni 29, 2009

Battered and Bruised...

The Moth racing in Denmark had finished last Saturday with a four race day which only saw me finishing one race and starting the second one, but not finishing. It had been a tough week for this competitor and though I tried to give my all, I ended up with mostly "Alphabets" but not numbers.(DNC by the way does not mean that you have not started ((DNF)) these days) It has not been the strong wind which teared me down, it had been the waves and my inexperience in such conditions, as well as the frugal stage of the body condition. Maybe I will write a more personnel note about the event later. The following report has been written on request for an online sailing publication. Here it goes and I did have avoided to write about any of the new Moth brands which are trying to conquer the world.

The Moth World has changed
Horsens, Denmark had been the venue for the European Moth Championship held between 24th and 28th of June. The week had been dominated by strong easterly winds which never dropped below 15kn/h usually blowing in the higher wind range, gusting up to 25kn on the race course and even more. As the local Horsens Sejlklub had been the organisers for Euro and World Championships for the Moth Class before, they were prepared with all the necessities required by such a sportive and challenging class like the Moth. This year the event saw only Foiler Moths racing and it had been very exciting to see around 40 Moths flying across the startline nearly at once and going uphill in a battle for height and speed. Not all competitors managed the very challenging downwind leg (3 laps around) in the steep waves and only abt. 20 - 26 boats finished the races. But the once surviving, finished most of the races in style. Flying very high, going dramatically fast with a downwind speed clocked at more than 25kn, recorded for over 10 sec. The early races had been dominated by no lesser than the Brit, Simon Payne, a former Champion in the class. He came well prepared and looked unbeatable through the first races. We had witnessed the second race of the first day with a timer and found Arnaud Psarofaghis from Switzerland leading at the weather mark with 10sec which were wiped out to a 17sec lead by Payne at the downwind mark. The racing was tense between these two competitors and it must have been the last day where the race committee opted for four races on the day instead of the three which were written in the sailing instructions. This would allow two drop outs for the competitors. Arnaud Psarofaghis was already able to drop his 43 points from the first race when he did not finish and thus both competitors where on equal points going into the last day. Though everyone had his own fight within the strong competiton and the tough conditions on the Horsens Fjord, all eyes were on the two competitors fighting for the 2009 title. Arnaud P. started the day with a first which Simon Payne answered with two firsts in the next two races. The finish in the third race was reported to be 1 feet apart. The fourth and most tiring race of the day should be the decider and all eyes of many of the shorebound competitors were glued on this epic battle. Everyone hoped for the Master sailor Simon Payne, who did not have the luxury all week of a fully equipped service team like the Swiss brought to Denmark but at the end of the battle, it was the young Swiss sailor Arnaud Psarofaghis who had the nose in front and won the 2009 European Championship. The newcomer from the Netherlands, Eelco Boers came third with 3 more Brits filling up the ranks.

It was visible during the week that the Moth class is attracting many top sailors from other classes and that the days of the DIY low rider Moths are gone. At least when it comes to European Championships held in open water. During the price giving ceremony the competitors were full of praise for the Horsens Sejlklub organisers and their race committee which was well prepared not only ashore but also for rescuing many of the fragile Moths which were not able to limp home alone after some damage, mostly caused by user errors due to over exhausted riders. Full result list to be found under:

PS: A very good day by day report you can find on Eelco´s blog:
PPS: The picture shows Simon (in the foreground) and Arnaud after the second day of racing on the Horsens SK´s slipway. As usual you can extend it by clicking on it.

Mittwoch, Juni 24, 2009

Moth Euro - Practise Race Opening Ceremony

Horsens, DK welcomed abt 40 Moth sailors with beautiful sunshine and a seebreeze for the practice race. 3 laps around. Up-and down. The Swiss brothers are bloody fast as is Simon Payne. Things have moved on in the Moth class ans the top guys are not only flying very high but they are also fast. Faster than even the fastest German had expected. I am meeting most of the friendly bunch for the first time and got the feeling that many sailors are taking the Moth sailing quite serious. Most people went to bed at around 22.20h. The foto shows part of the "Pit" (Fahrerlager) here in Horsens. Everyone is excited about the first races to happen tomorrow. Catch up with you later.

Mittwoch, Juni 17, 2009

Low Water and some Damage

On Wednesday my Sportsboat Crew Jan and I decided again that we will not take the Bull out. Instead, Jan will do some work at his job in the sailmaker loft and I decided to take the Moth out for more training. It was windy, abt. 17-20kn on my anemometer and chilly but I had to go. Had to try the small changes and maintenance work which I had done to the boat recently. But I seemed to start the "day" on the wrong foot. We had very low water, see the photo of my usual boat launch. I walked the boat far out but maybe not far enough or there is another bank behind the deeper water, where I righted the Moth. I touched the ground, jumped off the boat, pushed it out on it´s side some more and climbed on to the site again for another go. Time was slipping by and the mixed keel boat fleet had already started. This time with a 29er as the only dinghy in the fleet. I thought to have fun sailing against them. 2 - 3 capsizes on my way out in the strong gusts and I did not even make the startline. within 5 minutes the fleet had sailed away to windward. When I had passed the last boat, which was already on the downwind leg, I pulled the tiller for a bear-away and blasted downwind. Fast and a bit out of control. The 29er was already far ahead but did not manage deep angles. I thought that with the long downwind leg I might be in for a chance to catch them. Coming close to the narrow channel, I realized that I would have struggled in the middle of the fleet. All the wind shadows of the bigger boats, pointing straight downwind without foiling was no option for me. I turned around and sailed some shorter up-and downwind. Looking out for the 29er to come back for the last bit of windward leg to see how we would match together. Always good to have a benchmark. Just when I was setting up to meet them I was pushed over by a heavy gust and when climbing the centerboard I recognized that the centerboard foil held on at a 70° angle instead of the 90°, which it should. I unclipped the ball crank and limped home. Getting the boat out of the water, I realized that the rudderfoil had broken in the top. Middle of the left side. As it is hollow, it was possible to shockbend it upwards to abt 40°. Arrgh, and did I report that I had broken off the last 20cm of the tiller extension? And lost it out there? Not a good day indeed. And so close already to the EURO in Denmark.

Next outing came on Sunday with my spare foils, using all small parts including screws from the "broken ones" as somehow my spareparts toolbox got lost, the ride was not really as it should be. Sitting far back was the only way to sail the boat. I took it out to the wider waters of the Schlei to avoid hidden banks. Than the boomvang broke. A metal part was flying through the boat. Good luck, as it had only been the shackle fitted to the permanent "padeye" on the bulkhead. But the shackle had broken, not loosened. Back to the workshop again. Today we have repaired the old foils (carbonized and epoxied) and the vang shall work with a loop shackle. I could go sailing again and have already been asked to take up the A-Cat as a competitor. Trouble is, I have tickets for "Simple Minds", who are having a gig in Hamburg. Open Air. I am sure they will also present some of my favorite songs like "Belfast Child", "Mandela Day", "Dont you", besides their new album which I must say, I have not heart any of the songs yet.

Dienstag, Juni 09, 2009

Will I be last in the upcoming Moth EC?

it is a rainy day today in Schleswig, Germany and I gathered through the list of the 45 participants for the Moth EURO coming up soon in Horsens DK. see also: Moth Euro Entry List. Going through this list of famous, fast and furious competitors my mind is wandering to the slower end of participants, making up a list of the "not so fast" sailors. In stark contrast to Scott B´s list about "would be" World Championship results. He starts from the top and is also able through personnel knowledge of competitors and by reading their websites, to analyze the results. I do mostly know the sailors via reports, their websites or because they have past me in nano seconds during Kiel Week last year. Some had lapped me. I was fighting for speed and height and tacking and jibing without capsizing. Some things have changed a bit. I felt comfortable on the boat with speed until last Sunday, when the bloody centerboard rod broke. I am installing a new one of course but my spare parts box got lost and some of the tiny little things, which make the difference do not fit well at present. I have a gap! At the bottom of the centerboard when in high speed mode. And the weather is not cooperating to give it a try and trying for adjustments when necessary.

Anyway the theme here is a list of finishers from the bottom up. There are a small bunch of guys whom I think I can beat. So, to become last is no option. I guess Felix will be last due to less time in the boat much time on the plane, than comes Gerold, who lives too far from the water. (sorry guys!) and the fight will be for them with maybe one or two Dutch guys. Depends on the number of break downs. Frederik and Michael might be beatable and if Burkh is not sorting his yellow raptor out, he will end up there too. If he gets good help from Adam, he is up in the top 20 and I will not see him other than on the startline. Hey, this starts to become some fun. Ole might be beatable and than I will have a good fight with Harald and Soeren as usual through our last regattas. Guess we will end up in the mid thirties if all signed competitors are showing up on the startline. What do you guys think? Hope nobody gets offended. This is all for fun and we are all sailing the Moth because we just like it. Looking forward to meet with some new Mothies. Smooth sailing!

Montag, Juni 08, 2009

A bad sailing day

SA called for a report about a bad sailing day. Mine had been on Saturday past weekend: First a nice back roll after the footstraps lashing broke (than swimming after the boat!) and after repairing it ashore and out again, the centerboard push rod broke at the bottom. The wind was very strong (5-6 Bft) and gusty but I think I might have hit something. Now awaiting some spares to arrive. Nothing left in my BR spareparts toolbox. As I had only been out for a couple of runs between repair and another trouble it will not effect my sailing meter. The only good thing had been that I went out late, almost at 19.30h and it felt totally OK, though there had only been one lonesome windsurfer on the water. And Yes, I wanted to do a speed test against him but the back loop did not allow me to catch up with him. After finishing my repair and being out again he had left. The sailor on the photo is me on the lake Stienitzsee in Berlin. Very tricky this lake, surrounded by hills or woods. Felix will not find much difference to his usual water reservoir sailing.

Donnerstag, Juni 04, 2009

First Ship Home

After fighting some back pain during the last days it was a relief to be out sailing past weekend with the little Bull. K. and I had put a reef in, the small jib hanked on and off we went for a pleasurable sailing afternoon. There were moments when the wind got a bit light for the reef but as this had been our first sunday sail together since we have the little one, I was able to resist. A long beat up the Schlei until we turned the boat around to sail back home with the wind from behind. Shook out the reef, kite up and a couple jibes with the gennaker brought some smiles. We even managed 12kn for a long moment and came right back home for a marvelous asparagus dinner, prepared by the grand parents who had taken care of little E.

Last Monday had been a holiday in Germany (Pfingsten) and what a weather we had. Great summer sunshine and a warm breeze from the north/east. In the afternoon I rigged the Moth and both K. and I had some good rides. It was her first ride again after the initial 3 days two years ago. And yes, it looked good, just one capsize, good airtime, holding a straight course and downwind some course alignment to the gusts. One day she will start racing the Moth, I am sure. Her Seggerling Skiff Dinghy is still up for sale.

Now coming to the headline of this post. Yesterday I started in the Wednesday night race with the Moth together with the "big" boats from a Minitonner to X-79 and up to the fast X-34. A crowded startline and I decided to start behind the fleet which was fighting for slot on the right side. It was very gusty, wind from the north west, which is not the best direction in a narrow water running east/west. The guys on the keelyachts measured abt 5 Bft gusting stronger. I started from behind and besides capsizing two times during bad tacks I managed to round together with the first boat. Me on the outside. Immediately I pulled away whilst the keel yachts were putting up spinnakers and running straight down. All was good until after a few jibes I ended up too far on the north side of the course. Low riding through the narrow pass opposite Fahrdorf did not help my position, some yachts passed me. When the water was again deep enough I put the nose more into the wind, accelerated onto the foils, bearing away and trying to run deeper this time I managed speeds above 20kn most of the time. My Velocitek showed me 21.9 after the race as best 10sec. score. I passed all the boats and the front runner just before the downwind mark. I did not get all the shifts right and at the weather mark we rounded nearly together, me again on the outside. Now a fast reach which took me away from the fleet in no time. Next jibe ended in a good swim but the last downwind was a real blast. I even managed to round the mark on foils easy, put the nose upwind and hiked hard. A long beat home with two or three bad tacks which saw me swimming, but I managed to be first ship home by a couple of minutes. A very good feeling as I was sailing the full course, had to turn at marks and not at the best possible moments, as I normally do in training. This had been my best evening sail so far. A good practice for the EC in Horsens where we already have more than 40 entries and from the participants names mostly really good Mothies. Former champions, etc. I just do not want to become last. The photo, taken with a mobile, is a view from the north shore (no wind) taken on Wednesday. The fleet is just coming together and the little sail in the middle is me. Don´t know where the white dots are coming from. The Bladerider Moth is mostly black.