Life after the Extreme

Flying a Moth

The Moth Worlds was a month after the finish of the Volvo, so I didn’t have much time and the weather was pretty bad back home in the UK, so I only really got out for 15 days before going out for the event but I did as much as I could. When I got out to Garda before the event, I was sailing everyday, which really shows the value of a good training camp.

Over the last five or six years, Moths have been foiling and I see that as something exciting and probably the future of sailing. I bought one a few years ago and always wanted to have a go but never really had the chance to sail in the class before and I felt that if I don’t do it now, I won’t get another chance for a while, so I decided to throw myself into it.

The Moth class is very modern and I think that a lot of sailing is going more single handed just because it is easier, in many ways less expensive and much less hassle to get a boat together. It’s high speed and cutting edge and that always excites me.

I learnt a lot in Garda, mostly about sailing the boat; tacking, gybing, getting on the foils. They are all elementary but to do well you have to be very good at the basics and it takes time to perfect them, you have to come away, analyse and go back and put what you have learnt into practice. Having said all that, training is not enough, to get better at racing you have to experience starting, boat on boat tactics, you can’t really simulate that. More racing is the answer!

SB20s - SEPT 2nd at the Europeans in Holland

I was the first National Champion ten years ago, it is not a boat for purists but they offer great tactical racing. It is a shame that the SB20 won’t take off in the States but there are a lot of boats around Europe, it would really help if the various associations would work together to get more out on the water. I think there is too much focus on the big events, when what is really needed is to get more boats out at club level, that would get far more boats out on the water and more people involved from other classes, having a big turn out at a Europeans or Worlds shouldn’t be the focus, getting lots of club racers involved will give a solid foundation to the class.

The beauty of the SB20 is that it is a simple boat, which is easy to get on the water. We did the worlds last year and came second in a borrowed boat, I bought a boat last year and put a good team together for the SB20 Europeans this year; Jerry Eplett, Shane Hughes and Henry Rees. We were pretty happy with second and the Europeans but the plan is to go to the Worlds in Australia and we hope to go one better than last time. To be honest, we are not there as a job; we are paying are own way. We are going for fun and although we will race very seriously, we will make sure we enjoy it as well. Even with the Volvo or any team boat, getting the right mix of people is crucial; they have to be good enough but you have to get on well, that’s just as important.

Back in a big boat  (October ICAP Leopard Les Voiles de St.Tropez)

I really enjoy sailing on Leopard with Mike Slade and Chris Sherlock and St.Tropez is always good fun and pretty relaxed. The racing is not the be all and end all at the event but I am always trying to improve my sailing ability and I have come to realise that people-skills, thinking things through are just as important and St.Tropez was a good occasion to put those lessons learnt into practice.

The Future

The Moth Class is awesome, I have decided to get into that. It is something that you can do until you are 50. Obviously the America’s Cup multis are foiling, which is an interesting development and maybe there will be new or existing classes, where the new skills needed to foil are going to be required. People often talk about the trickle down effect from the AC but Moths have been foiling for years and a lot of the sailors racing in the ‘Cup come from high performance skiffs. Foiling is not a new thing but with the investment that the ‘Cup will put into it, who knows where it might lead the sport?

Next week, I am off to the A-Class World Championship in Islamorada, Florida. There are 115 boats entered, so that will be full on. It’s single-handed catamaran with curved foils. It should be exciting, I am tuning up with Stevie Brewin who won the Worlds last year. He is looking to win again but I don’t know where I am going to come! I am a complete newbie to the class and I can’t have any aspirations at all. However, I love new challenges, new adventures, different boats because I learn new things and I am really looking forward to it.

All the best,