Bladerider sailing off Takapuna Beach
We are nearly already half way through the first month of the New Year and it has been a busy month for my Moth sailing and experience in the class.
The weekend before Christmas I packed the boat in its little box and thanks to Oceanbridge Shipping flew the boat to Melbourne. I arrived in Melbourne for a five day Bladerider team training camp. Each day was approximately 12 hours long with lots of changes going on and a lot of sailing as well.
The first day I got the boat together and the guys at the factory went to work tweaking the foils and helping me with some changes – for me I had my eyes wide open and ears on full alert to pick up all the tips possible. Later in the day my good friend and training partner in the Moth, Mat Belcher from Queensland arrived and we got his boat together and headed to Black Rock Yacht Club.
Rohan Veal from Bladerider was out coaching us over the five days. On 3 of these 5 days we were greeted by the normal Black Rock 20 knots and big waves – yes bruises a plenty but these will fade, but thanks to Rohan I now know how to sail in waves and all it requires now is training and personalising the technique for me.
We also learnt a lot about the boat set up, with things to test such as wand lengths, gearing ratios, mast stiffness, vang systems to start the list. All Mat and I are trying to do is make the boat easy to control in all conditions so we can push the boat as hard as possible without throttling back too much.
On the last day of the training camp was a regatta, two hours drive away near Geelong at a place called Indented Head. This was a great 4 race series with Mat and I close at times during the racing, but Mat was a little more polished than me and won 3 of the 4 races. I came 2nd overall and won the last race. It was great to have 8 foiling Moths lining up on the start line!
After New Year I was off to Melbourne again, to drive with Mat to a little place called Wallaroo, near Adelaide. This place was so small that when we arrived at 8pm we stopped in the middle on the main street and it took over 3 minutes to see any signs of life!
Well the venue was actually great, with good waves and heaps of breeze most of the time – again let the learning begin. In the preparation to the regatta I had a few problems, ripping out my front wingbar bolt, not having my foils set right, but by the practise race I had it a little more sorted out, having a great start and good speed to come 2nd in the race. The only bad thing was I ripped my sail and had to get a new sail for the regatta.
The first race proper and we had nearly 30 boats on teh start line with 25 foilers, very cool! My start was not crash hot, but going the right way I climbed up to 4th on the first beat to let my lack of time in the class let me down with a really bad tack – this dropped me down a little and add to that some sea weed and I was back a bit. A good last half of the last beat and a good last run and good gybing pulled me to 9th in the race. This was raced in around 7 knots of wind, where we were going around 17 knots on the reaches!
The 2nd race started in 3 knots with the sea breeze coming in – all the Bladerider B team saw this and headed to that side of the course with all of us getting the 20 to 25 knots first and we were away! Unfortunately after a tack onto the wind pressure, I pulled the sheet on and the boat to windward and my boom broke. I was unable to finish the race. I did however tie my mainsheet to the clew of the sail and was able to foil some of the way in without a boom which was quite amazing!
The next day, was not a good day for the Aussie Moth Nationals. In the sailing instructions under courses it says 'Attachment 2 shows the course to be sailed and in which way the marks shall be left' on the diagram this shows a port course. With the wind up and the committee wanting to keep it close to shore for safety they set a starboard course, hoisting a green flag – well there was a confusion a plenty during the race and once ashore, the committee having to cancel the race and hold a re-sail.
The next race of the day was abandoned due to too much wind with the breeze increasing to 26 to 30 knots and big waves. On this day I lost a bit of confidence, having problems getting my windy weather sail on and having to change back at the last minute, being a little late for the start (I hated that) but generally sailing well and being 5th in the group that did the port hand course, until the last run when the breeze was around 30 knots and I just couldn’t get downwind!
Finally came the Layday, and after talking with AMAC from KA Sails I got my windy sail sorted out better, and then talked to Rohan about the boat set up and so I made some changes with my bell crank and sanded my wand back a little more. On the last day sailing the boat was a dream to sail compared to the other days, being really responsive and this helped a lot, gaining a 5th, 7th and somewhere near 10th???
This would have put me somewhere around 6th overall, before I had to head back to NZL for my son’s first birthday which is today!
My thanks has to go to Andrew MacDougall(AMAC) from KA Sails for helping me fix my broken boom, teaching me more about carbon work, sails, and how designers think about things such as gearing. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have been able to continue in the regatta.
Also a huge thanks to the full team at Bladerider, who helped me so much on these trips in Australia– giving me a good launching pad for the Moth Worlds in July. Rohan, Simon, Gin and all the team, THANK YOU.
The boat is on the way tonight to the Bladerider factory in Melbourne where it is having a few tweaks, then the program is that I will be making up some new stuff for the wand and things to try, as well as generally strengthening up the boat and myself, so I can fully have in my mind the reliability to send the boat as hard as possible in all conditions that are sailable.
I intend on getting out and begin sailing again on the 27th of January at Royal Akarana, to be ready for the Auckland anniversary regatta from Royal Akarana the next day, so head on down if your in the area and check out the boat – we hope to have the fleet there so it will be a great thing to watch.
I am the boat with the big KIWI YACHTING signage on the sail – this company has been an awesome sponsor so please support them
Following is the latest updated version of the New Zealand International Moth Calendar
We also have some AUS sailors interested in the NZL Nationals including Matt Belcher who is winning the AUS Nationals at the moment, and Rohan will be here if he can make it with his schedule!
*** Indicates major change to calendar****
January: 27th Sailing at Royal Akarana Yacht Club
January 28th: Anniversary Day Regatta RAYC
February 9th-10th – Junior Sail Auckland Kohi Yacht Club
February 16-19th – Sail Auckland Kohi Yacht Club
***March 1st Torbay Australis Regatta****
March 8-9th Auckland Champs Howick
March 21-24th NSW State Champs Jervois Bay AUS
Next weekend VIC State Champs Indented Head Geelong AUS (To be Confirmed)
****April 25-27th Takapuna ANZAC Weekend Regatta and NZL Nationals Takapuna*****
May 25th Fist full of Dollars Torbay
April until Worlds - Racing at Takapuna on Sundays 1300
July 5-11th WORLD CHAMPS Weymouth England