While you sleep, we practice

Watch out world. The Dutch and Belgian mothies are training hard:

Photoset on Flickr Sail24 GP3 Muiden:


Moth height record?

Not sure why I wanted to drive the moth up the Stelvio, but I did it.

After an up and down worlds I felt like doing another regatta, and Kai from Germany was interested to buy my boat. So, off if was this weekend to do the Schlei regatta with the German mothies. It’s 450 km drive to the Schlei, so I took a friday off to make it a bit easier and maybe have a sail on friday evening.

Travel was horrible. Traffic jam at Bremen, then at the Elbe tunnel in Hamburg, and, to top it off a tire of my trailer decided to explode 60 km off the destination. Slight panic, as I’d wanted to replace the tires, and the garage told me it wasn’t possible without a saw, to make room to get the wheels off. Noooo! So my first thought was: I need a hacksaw. By now it was 19.30. First place where I could stop off the Autobahn was at the highway police. With the dubious homebuilt state of my trailer that was not where I wanted to stop! A call to Manfred brought some relief. We’ll come and rescue you. That was good news. I love the mothie spirit. Harald from South Germany was still to pass by, but a phone call to him learned he was still 8 hrs drive away (uhm, a bit of a calculation gives him an ETA of 4 am. Wow, that’s determination to get to a regatta…) It all turned out to be a bit of a false alarm, as the wheel came off with the right tools and a lot of cursing, and the spare just went on without cutting up the trailer. Uf. A bit of air in the new tire, then time for a good glass of whisky (Jura) and catching up on the Garda story at Manfred’s place.

Then saturday, regatta day. 11 boats turned up, with many new faces for me. In Germany the oldskool mothie spirit is still alive, with Harald’s homebuilt boat, Mathias with a lowrider (Felix’s old boat), and Niels and his friend who boat a Bladerider together, and were having a blast learning to sail the boat (good going guys!). The conditions were my favourite: marginal foiling with puffs going in and out. It was very interesting sailing with a short course, many turns, and the winds quite shifty. Good for the ego too, as I could sail near the front of the fleet for once (going to the worlds helps…). I even won a start (screwed up the beat straight away), then did another touch and go foiltack. After saturday I was placed 4th, to drop back to 5th on Sunday, as I didn’t sail to sell my boat!

Kai made a test run on saturday. He did fine even as I spoilt it for him as I forgot to link up the foil when I helped him on the water. I was watching, first; please don’t hit the rocks. When I saw he did ok it turned into: please foil. But without the foil linked, sigh… Kai is fit and young, so he should catch up fine with the boat. For me it’s time to move on. I have seriously considered getting into another class, as I had some of the same feelings Doug had. But after some considerations: there is nothing offering the same thrills for the money as a moth. Yes, it is expensive. But what boat offers the same speed? Excitement? Going the keelboat way and race on the sea could be good (I live on the coast), but hopefully I can still do that when I’m 60. So, roll on the new boat!

So. Good weekend, great hospitality from Manfred, and met many new faces. Good fun. Oh, then the car had a flat tire, after 2 hrs (!) of traffic at the Elbe tunnel. Bah!

Ah well, see the video, my minute and 10 seconds of fame:

What an event!

Hans: The strongest guy from Denmark on a Mach2

Since nobody’s bloggin anymore I guess I’ll have to do it. Some conclusions on the worlds:

– preparation was fun, but what I did to prepare was nothing! Yes, I’ve been more serious then ever, but what I did was nothing.

– Triggerfinger rocks!

– It is bloody cold in the Netherlands, and I’m still hungry.

– My body feels good now. I’m happy with my preparation focus: be fit, don’t fuss with the boat too much. In this way I could enjoy the racing.

– It’s been ages since we had 7 moths from the Lowlands competing at a Worlds. Then to imagine that I was the only Mothie left here back in 2008: we’re getting a good group here.

– Proud I did it, very proud of some Thierry Martinez pics, and proud of the third day of the qualifiying series. Making it round in big winds and waves in the morning (with many boats not going out, or having broken stuff), getting a heatstroke during lunch, then recovering just in time to get rid of the “ambulanca” (“you want to go sailing don’t you?”). I made the afternoon’s racing, but wasn’t sure where I was. My focus of the last number of years was to keep flying in all winds, and just make it round. That worked, getting fast may be a next goal.

– the boat has to go. I had some pretty frustrating days, seeing the fleet sail away from me. What do you expect of a 2007 Prowler? I knew I’d be somewhere on the back of the fleet (106th out of 119th), but when it happens, well… Just blame the boat 😉


– On a better note: the foil tacks are coming along! I did three more or less foiling ones now, it is repeatable, and I can do it. I learned heaps.

More to come!

It’s getting better

Wow, that can’t be me 😉

koos moth

Photo: Thierry Martinez

Garda report

After my arrival on sunday I’ve had four days here now. It’s been great to be here, and good to get going before the worlds start. But, to be honest, today has been a bit disheartening. Not that I’ve been expecting to win the worlds on a five year old Prowler, but having sai;ed ok, and having to pull out all stops not to come last was uhm, horrible, I don’t think I sailed bad today (all my gybes were foiling) but I was just dead slow. Not good, and not a happy camper here.

I’ll focus on my upwinds. I’ve found height now, I’ll try to switch between modes better, and will line up with some people to see what works best. Then, the tacks are getting better and better, so I might start to pull off foil tacks somewhere during the week, that could be a bit of a weapon on my end of the fleet. Then the starts need work too, doing it more, and just mixing it with the guys up front will make them better I guess.

The first few days of sailing were fun. Going out with Constantijn and Chris. Had a collision on day 2, which was a bit of a shocker, but nothing broken. I was the right of way boat, but maybe I shouldn’t have tried to start avoiding. But it all went very fast, so it’s hard to think clear at those times. Just a reminder to keep your head out of the boat more. I sailed in to check things, then went out for some more hours. 10 knots of wind, sunshine, ah well, check the video, if you’re not here, you’re missing loads!

It’s great to be here, but now I’m sure the boat needs to go!

There’s lots of buzz at Garda, loads of boats here already, and the level of the fleet… phew
Game is on for staying out of the triple digits, and of course we have the Batlle of the Prowlers. (thanks for the t-shirt John 😉

Coming out

Ok, I admit it. I’m going to the worlds, and I’ve been training hard. In fact, I’ve never been more serious with any other event. Not that I’ll win it, or even be in the top half of the fleet. But it will be a challenge, and I’ve got the fitness and means to do it. So let’s go.Image

Preparations started last december. I decided to focus on my body, not on the getting the latest boat, better sails or other toys. So, I joined a running group to get fitness up, then dealt with a knee problem that had been around for the last 4 years. Had a little knee pain almost continuously, but a visit to a sports doctor, a fysio got it got almost sorted. Jay!

A little item that should be on the list was the adjustable wand. Planning and construction started februari. After the running group I’ve been exercising from home, and we made an early start with sailing in the Netherlands, first tune up was 31 march, 1 april. Finding out my boat wasn’t sorted, but that was the point of the regatta, to tune up.

Meanwhile a new boxing course started at my university. I’ve now been doing an introductory course there for the third time. As usual everybody dropping out by the 5th lesson. This resulted in some great trainings with only the boxing coach and me [grin] Good fun.

The Lauwersmeer regatta was good too. Ever since me sailing as the only Dutch guy with the german fleet I’d wanted to organise a regatta myself. With 7 boats on the lake it was a good event. With help from Burkhard I´d even got my upwind problem sorted (mainsheet was set up wrong).

Bad point was catching a summer flu, leaving me without training for 5 weeks. It gave me time to build a hiking bench though, and check photos to see how far the top guys are hiking out!

The boat seems sorted. My body is good. So, what’s the goals?

Main thing is having fun. After the Euros in Switserland I learnt that event had just been too rough for me. The only way to enjoy is to be ready physically. I hope I’m there. Then there’s a few guys that I’m usually behind. Would be nice to catch some of them. Then it’d be nice to finish all races, and not have any breakages, the old Prowler should do well there. The ranks really isn’t too important for me, as long as I’ll sail to my abilities (and not be with the last 10%!).

Bring it on!

Seven International Moths and six catamarans gathered at Lauwersmeer to sail the Omaho beach regatta. The moths had an international fleet: boats came from Antwerp, but from Berlin too!

We had a nice breeze from Northwest at Lauwersmeer. The moths could show what they’re made of. Lift from the water and fly on hydrofoils. The boats reached top speeds of 25 knots. But, this wasn’t for everybody. Several moths were seen upside down. Lets say, to clean their hull.

Battle on the water was good. On Saturday there were three races on a relatively long course. Sunday saw six starts on a shorter course. Special here was that most moths were seen flying, and none of them had any breakages. Because the moth is a development class, the boats are built on the edge: if it doesn’t break, it’s built too heavy.

Giovanni Galeotti went home with the cup for the moths. He’s sailing a slightly experimental boat, having moved the dagger board 20 centimeters forward. He was the only competitor who consistently was pulling off foiling tacks (staying on the foils throughout the tack). A big advantage! Scen Cloppenburg (Ratzeburg) came second, with Burkhard Staabs (Berlin) close behind. Fourth was Eelco Boers, who had to miss some races on Saturday to put his new boat (a Ninja) together. Koos Winnips came fifth. After changing his sheeting with help of the “competition” he could point 10 degrees higher on Sunday. Sixth was Helmut, he’s now sailing a Bladerider after having built (and finished) his own boat. Seventh was Erik who had a bit of a lack of time on the water, but was doing well with the winds on Saturday.

With the catamarans there were some protests. One boat hit the anchor chain of the start ship, another made a wrong mark rounding, and consequently didn’t sail the right course. So, a DSQ and DNF. The F18’s did well. Oscar and Jaco had the main prize, with Auke and Jan Mets second. Rogier and Sander (F18 too) came third. Frank on the A cat lost a bit too much speed, caused by the slightly puffy wind. Sailors-for-pleasure Bert and Ton went fast, but couldn’t keep up with their older boat. Ron and crew learned a lot, and came home with slightly bruised ego’s, but the boat fully intact (we will say nothing about a said incident at the top mark, photo’s can be had for just a tiny bribe).

After a good barbeque on Saturday and the prize giving on Sunday all went home satisfied, and slightly sun burnt.  It had been a while since cats and moths sailed at Lauwersmeer (for the Moths, the European championship in 1989). We’re not going to wait that long. Soon there will be more racing at Lauwersmeer.