Friday, 19 April 2013

Momentums 1st race

What a great start to the class 40 circuit. The organization, competitors and fleet are vey professional and fun.

With 22 boats on the line it made for a exciting start. We had a relatively clean start and were off well. There was a funny little triangle infont of the city before we headed off towards a small group of islands near Cherbourg.  I guess we were around mid fleet en route as the first night drew in.  We rounded the mark and hugged the coast due to the tide.  Fighting our way through the fleet into 2nd in the tough downwind conditions.  From here it was a run to the east tip of the island of wight.  We arrived as as one big group and had a great battle down the Solent, short tacking in negative current.  Local knowledge definitely helped and we did well but to my surprise most of the foreign sailors had a pretty good idea too, I guess that's what happens somewhere as notorious as he Solent.

After a scary trip through the inside of the needles fairway it was a long beat down to the Lizard, with all its normal tricky tidal gates and standing wave and tidal pools. Some of the fleet went inside the military testing zone off Lulworth and got in trouble with the coast guard.

We had seen that the forecast looked increasing windy upto 40 knots in the Irish Sea and lots of the boats started to drop out. We had an email from the race committee clarifying this and said there was a change to the course.  Instead of going to SE Ireland and then Fastnet they sent us around a GPS waypoint in the middle of the Irish Sea in order to have us back before it got too windy. We sailed downwind in tough bumpy conditions to the waypoint.  On the return it started to get rougher and windier the whole way.  A great decision by the race organizers.  As we passed back past lands end it started to gt nasty, but we soon rounded the corner back into the English Channel and had a fast powerful leg towards the Channel Islands just off the wind.

As we rounded Gurneys the wind was much more relaxed and we change to the code zero and then to the spinnaker.  As we went through the islands and pointed towards Cherbourg the wind rapidly got back up and we ended up being caught out with the big spi in 30 + knots. With a tough take down we got the small spi up and raced towards France at a rapid rate and with reality ease. From here we went back to the zero to smoke home overtaking one of our little group of 5 that had been competing through the whole race.

We finally finished very happy with a respectable 8th position at 4 am.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

2013 Normandy Channel Race

It's been a busy few weeks for us.  We picked up our new Class 40, Concise 2, in Hamble, UK, found some exciting new campaign partners, and even got in a few days of sailing!   Right now we're finishing up our final day of preparations before the start of the 1000nm Normandy Channel Race in Caen, France.

We're very happy to announce that Gill is now our official clothing partner.   With our upcoming, springtime jaunt around Tuskar and Fastnet, knowing we have brand-new offshore kit is fantastic!   Our freezing cold delivery across the Channel earlier this week confirmed our suspicions that Gill is making some truly high-performance wet weather gear.

In addition, we're now all set up with satellite email and weather compression software from Global Marine Networks.  We've got XGate installed and running on the boat computer, and thus far it's been quick and easy, just what you want when you're emailing and downloading weather offshore!

Last but certainly not least, we have a website!   Fellow Tufts sailor, Liz Haddad of EVH Design has created a logo and website for us.

Tomorrow afternoon, our fleet of 22 Class 40s will head off from Caen- follow our progress on the race tracker.  Link on our website. We anticipate it taking about 5 days to complete the course.  The weather is looking great for the start and we should be on the English coast early on monday morning, we leave the Isle of Wight to port and head west along the coast before heading north to SE Ireland.  From here we head to Fastnet and return via the channel Islands to Caen.  We are racing against an extremely competitive, international group of sailors, we've got our work cut out for us.  What a way to start the season in our new boat!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

St Maarten

Once again we're on the move.  San Francisco was amazing, a great city, good friends, fun activities and lots of sailing.

27th Feb to 4th of March I was in St Maarten for the Heineken Regatta with Lupa of London.  A few intense days of training before the regatta led to a great result.  We were racing in the top fleet and got 2nd-1st-1st giving us 1st place overall. A happy crew and owner.

Now Emma and I are heading to Culebra for a week, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico.  Then we both head to St Thomas regatta on different boats.  I'm back with Lupa and Emma is on a Whitbread 60.

Monday, 18 February 2013

San Francisco Corinthian Mid-winters

It's been great to get so much sailing in San Francisco while Emma and I have been here.

This weekend we had the 2nd 2 days of racing the Corinthian Mid-winter.

First time round we were racing the Mumm 30 with Skip and Jody McCormack.  Unfortunately for us but great for them they sold the boat in-between.  So all 4 of of jumped ship onto Buzz Blackett's class 40 California Condor. Great practice for Emma and I and interesting to see another style of class 40 before our season starts.

We got 2nd and 2nd in week 1 and 3rd and 2nd in week 2 so combined that makes us the lead crew but unfortunately theres no prize for jumping ship!  It's been fun sailing and I've really enjoyed the bay.

This time next week I'll be heading down to the Caribbean to race in St. Martin for the Heineken regatta aboard Lupa.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Some actually sailing news!

Emma and I are finally settled in San Francisco for a couple of month before I head to the Caribbean for St. Martin and St. Thomas regattas. Its great here, the weather is amazing so were getting in a lot of fitness training and we've been lucky enough to get involved with some good sailing. First we had the Corinthian Mid Winters, 2 days on the Mumm 30 with Skip and Jody and 2 2nd places. The 26th Jan was the big race of the winter circuit the 3 Bridge Fiasco. 360+ boats going around the islands/marks under the 3 famous bridges in the bay, any order, any direction, starting and finishing either way across the line off the city. We were lucky enough to be lent "War Pony" a Farr 36, a great race boat. It's a very tactical race with timing of the currents and wind filling in at different times across the bay. We had discussed a game plan with Skip a San Francisco local. The weather was very different to the predictions on the day, it was supposed to be light from the North, but was windy from the West at our start time, we were going to change our plan like many of the others and go down wind from the start, but we saw the wind shift coming and stuck to our plan. It paid off. We ended up beating to the finish with a reef in 28 knots and big swell. We finished 6th Overall and 2nd Monohull. A great result with all the local legends from the bay. Sunday I got to go Ozzie 18ft skiff sailing with Skip and some local guys, there wasn't much breeze but still a lot of fun and loads for me to take in and learn. This weekend we are back on the Pony for more winter series racing. When Californians say winter, they actually mean shorts and T-shirt weather...... And then we're going to do some racing on the Class 40 Condor, the only Monohull to beat us in the Fiasco, so some good prep for next season!

Monday, 14 January 2013

An epic road trip

So it's been a while since I've had anything exciting to write about my sailing, there's lots of 2013 planning going on and coming together but not that interesting to write about. More sailing news later, first the non sailing news of my epic adventure with Emma. I left working as captain of the big boat on the 1st December after a great season, with lots of traveling and racing. It was a great experience, good for the cv and a great way to clear the mini debt. To start Emma and I drove to a small town near Toulouse to visit her Grandma who was over traveling and painting, we had a fun time looking about and riding the road bikes in the middle of no-where. On the 7th we fly to the UK for Christmas number 1. We stayed with my family and visited all the Lymington gang. It was great to see everyone, it had been far too long. The 11th we were back at Heathrow to fly to Boston. In Boston we stayed with Emma's friend Gretchen. We did a quick trip to road island to buy a car from my sailing buddy Peter. It's an old Audi A6, with 233400 miles on the clock.... technically our home/storage unit/cross country travel transport(fingers crossed)! Back in Boston we went for "breakfast" and I was told to wear my "comfy pants" (that means trousers), but didn't! We walked through the town and then Emma led me into a bike shop, and waiting there was my Xmas present, a Cannondale Tarmac, carbon road bike. It the best present I've ever had, I was so taken back Emma wasn't sure I liked it! From Boston we drove to Freeport Maine, where Emma's Dad lives. Bill has built a boat shed and now has the new edition of Emma's mini that he collected from New York off the ship back fom France (For sale if your interested). We collected some more stuff that had been shipped over in the boat, went shopping in Freeports crazy but amazing outlet stores, (it's the only shopping I enjoy, outdoor toys and gear!) From here we drove on to visit Emma step mum and husband, Tigger and Brian in Nobleborrow. It was great to finally put a name to a face with Brian and to see Tigger properly after we briefly met at the Atlantic cup last summer. We had our 2nd Christmas, with great food, gifts and company. Emma and I went for a very cold snowy ride, that was in the pleasure/pain category. Stupidly, solo I decided to ride again the next morning with only fingerless glove. Surprise surprise I got frost bite and the tips of 4 fingers went hard and peely. They are still not right now but getting much better. Next stop was Brooksville to visit Emma's Mum, here husband and little siblings for the Xmas week, we had a great time playing, visiting wooden boat magazines headquarters where Emma mum Pat works, riding our bikes in the snow (no I didn't learn from the frost bite) and ice skating. Xmas eve we went to a 95th birthday party for Tiggers Mum and met Emma's Dad for dinner on the way back. 3rd and real Xmas was a great day, a walk on the island where Emma grew up, Deer isle. We walk across a sand bar onto a neighboring island. We headed back to light a bonfire, shoot the 22 and cook sausages on the fire! Perfect Christmas ! From brooksville we headed back to Boston for new year with Emma's friends. We never get to go to the cinema because we're normally traveling and often in non English speaking countries, over Xmas we went 3 times in 1 week, we saw the Hobit, Argo and life of Pi! On New Year's Day the epic journey really began from East to West coasts, we drove to Northampton Massachusetts to visit Emma's Gran, that we had seen in France, from here we headed out on route to Niagara falls, passing through New York State. Niagara wasn't all I had imagined it to be. I'd always wanted to visit. Don't get me wrong it was very impressive especially at night, but I had no idea it was between two cities, one in America and one in Canada, the strange thing was Canada looked more fun! Back in the car for a days driving through Pennsylvania and Ohio, nothing to report! The next day took us through the I's, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. In Illinois we stopped just south of Chicago for what I think has been my most scary supermarket stop of my life. I tried to pay the cashier and we had a 2 minute verbal exchange, not really a proper conversation but I think we were both speaking English.... Certainly not the Queens. Day 3 on the road took us through Nebraska, where as far as i can see no one lives and nothing happens its just space that lasts for 12 hours. Finally we arrived to Jackson Hole Wyoming for a weeks snowboarding. Wow, the best boarding I ever had, Jackson was great, fluffy powder, so quiet, off-piste, little park for rusty boarders like me, fun people with a laid back atmosphere... Basically the opposite off boarding in Europe! We skied on the last day, such a giggle and Emma got the bug again and has converted to be a skier! I was sad to leave Jackson but Westward to continue the adventure. Back in the Audi, after a pit stop at a tire place and a full new set of tires at an astronomical price, a necessary evil. They showed us the old tire, so much metal hanging out, I'm not sure how it held air or how it was still attached to the car! Next we passed through Idaho. We travelled past Bear lake at sun set and some funny cowboy towns, straight out of a western, just covered in snow. We passed through Logan gorge and dropped into Logan city, Utah to visit Emma's aunt and uncle. Utah is a wonderful but strange place, through the mountains to a completely flat city at the foot of the hills. I knew nothing about Logan, it has 90% Moran population (we found a Vodka called 5 wives) and is an outdoor activities paradise. On the 2nd day we went snow shoeing, an hour and a half up, 30 minutes down! I think it is one of my new favorite past times! We headed out of Logan in -25 degree Celsius and off through Nevada towards Incline Village to see Bill Pearson, that Emma and I have sailed with to visit the North Sails factory. Nevada was beautiful, a brief view of the great salt lake and mountain-flat-mountain-flat and i believe technically a dessert for 10 hours.We passed through the Tahoo Mountains and down to the lake at Incline Village, it was amazing. From here after visiting the loft we're heading to San Francisco for the next month to get in as much sailing and training as possible to be in tip top form for my racing in the Caribbean and then our class 40 season that kicks off with the Normandy Channel race on the 11th April. So what do i think about traveling across a continent? America is big, really big, there so much space with nothing and so much fun stuff in between. We did 16 states, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, utah, Nevada, and California and covered 3920+ Miles (thats a transatlantic). Big thanks to my co-driver, we've been lucky to have a pretty complete American experience with motels, dinners and almost ever gas stop on route (that's a petrol station in proper English).

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Global Ocean Race news

New dates have been released for the next edition of the GOR making it a far more appealing option for my future schedule. Article from- The Global Ocean Race (GOR), one of sailing’s greatest challenges, is set to receive a major lift for its third round-the-world event for Class40 yachts, now scheduled to start in September 2014. Organisers of the Class40 Association-endorsed race announced today that in order to raise its profile and bring it the attention the event deserves, they have taken three important steps: • Brought in a team of experts in media, ocean racing promotion and marketing • Expanded the number of classes in the race, so that entries can now be single-handed, two-handed or fully-crewed • Delayed the start by one year to take full advantage of the new arrangements Meanwhile, they have agreed a number of sponsorship deals for the event and can already confirm a strong entry interest from at least eight solid Class40 projects. 'We have successfully completed two Class40 round-the-world races,' said Josh Hall, the GOR Race Director and CEO, 'but we believe it is time for the race to fully evolve. To that end, we have created a new management structure bringing in some of the most experienced people in media, sponsorship and the marketing of a truly global yacht racing event. To permit our new team the appropriate timeframe to realise the planned levels of media and funding, we have decided to delay the race until 2014.' Hall says that the new team’s aim is to make round-the-world ocean racing more accessible. 'Our boats cost a fraction of those in the other major ocean races, opening up the thrill and adventure of sailing at speed through the Southern Ocean to a whole new generation of skippers and crew,' explains Hall. 'In times of recession, I believe this will attract both aspiring ocean sailors and fully-experienced yachtsmen. Our boats now regularly average the speeds that Maxi Yachts in the Whitbread were doing just over a decade ago. It offers the best of sailing on a budget that many more can afford. Crucially, it also allows sponsors, who have been leaving the sport due to the massive costs, to return.' Central to the new organisation will be a Steering Board, created to boost the organisation that supports the event. Members include a top TV producer who has overseen Olympic coverage for the BBC among others; a former CEO of three major broadcasting organisations; a leading public relations professional; a specialist in sponsorship fund raising and management and a commercial director with extensive international experience. Four of the five have already been contracted and each has considerable experience in ocean racing promotion, marketing and media coverage. The names of the Board and full details of the changes will be released in the New Year. 'These appointments bring one of the sport’s most experienced and successful teams to the GOR and justify our delaying the start of the race,' added Hall. From the skippers planning to race, the overall reaction has been supportive. 'For the Celox Sailing Team, the rescheduling is a welcome opportunity for further training and refinement and we are delighted to hear of the new weight brought into the organisation,' said Akilaria Class40 Gust Buster skipper, Gottfried Possl.