RS part exchange

12 04 2010

Hey guys,

I just thought I’d write a quick post to share some info about something RS are doing with the RS800.  They are offering a part exchange for a spanking new 800 to anyone with a raceable boat.  Give them a call to find out a little more, but it seems to be a good time to upgrade so it could be worth a shot.  Sure, it’ll cost you some cash for the exchange, but compared to buying a new suit of sails and a new mast it would make sense.

Secondly, be on the look out for some second hand boats hitting the market over the next few weeks.  If you’re interested in getting involved in the class the now’s the time to make your move.

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Proof that Alex Thomson is nuts

27 08 2009

Here’s a little proof that Alex Thomson is either nuts, or is a natural in PR. An inspired idea showing his style, and for want of a better phrase, his balls of steel:

Thanks to the Daily Sail for the image





Royal Torbay Yacht club: RS800

25 08 2009

Consistency was key at the Royal Torbay RS800 UK circuit event, as a wide variety of conditions challenged competitor’s brains as well as their boat handling skills. With the RS800 nationals looming ever nearer, this was the final chance of competition for the 12 boats attending, which was evident in the highly competitive start lines and aggressive boat on boat tactics seen all weekend.

Day 1 provided varying conditions, blowing 15 to 18 knots with a few 20 knot gusts recorded across the course. Race 1 was dominated by the pairings of Schooling and Kingsworth, Ellway and Bick, and the Visser brothers. Ellway and Bick showed blistering upwind pace, rounding the windward mark 1st in front of the Visser brothers before extending down the run. Meanwhile, Schooling and Kingsworth, rounding further back in the pack, pulled a huge margin back with some superb gust spotting down the run to round second. Up the second beat, Schooling and Kingsworth pulled ahead to round first, with Ellway and Bick rounding several boat lengths back, chased closely by Visser and Visser. Following numerous place changes, the final run saw Schooling and Kingsworth holding a lead over Ellway followed by Visser. Chasing down the final run, the Visser brothers gybed on Ellway and Bick to move into second before heading inland to pick up more pressure. Gybing back, they crossed Schooling and Kingsworth by inches to take the race win.

James Date and Toby Wincek took the lead role in race 2, with a race win over Schooling and Kingsworth, and Laurie and Gemma Fitzjohn-Sykes. In the breezier conditions, Date and Wincek drove the boat out right to hook into the breeze shifting off the cliffs, playing the tactics well to take a well deserved win.

Race 3 saw the Visser brothers retiring due to illness (unfortunately, not beer related). Sailing home, they witnessed a master class from Schooling and Kingsworth as they sailed to their 1st victory of the event. After a strong start, they crossed the fleet to head inland towards the cliff, tacking back into a strong lift to take a significant lead which they extended throughout the race. Truly an impressive show of boat speed and fleet control, Schooling and Kingsworth never looked challenged. Mike Chapman and Paddy Adams sailed fast and smart to finish 2nd ahead of Ellway and Bick.

Day 2 brought partial sun and light breezes to the Torquay coastline. Ross McKerchor and Phil Lasko turned on the class to lead a large proportion of the race, only to be beaten narrowly on the upwind finish (after a shortened course) by the ever speedy Schooling and Kingsworth. The Visser brothers, after having to return to the line following a premature start, sailed back to the lead on the final beat, only to be pipped on the line by Mckerchor and Schooling charging in from the right. The three boats crossed the line within the space of a second, chased closely by the very rapid team of Ellway and Bick.

The 5th race (with enough breeze to twin wire in places) saw the most place changes of the entire event, with boats jumping from 1st to mid fleet and back over the space of a single leg. Again, Schooling, Ellway and Visser seemed to have the upper hand as they tacked out left to hook into the stronger breeze on the final beat. Tacking back, the breeze veered right, and continued to go. Stuck furthest left, the Visser brothers lost ground on the long leg to the mark. Schooling, however, managed to get back right just before the big shift came in, and rounded 1st to win the race and to hold onto their commanding lead in the series. James Date and Toby Wincek played the final beat perfectly to finish 2nd and jump up to 4th overall in the standings. With a superb last run, Chapman and Adams gained places to move ahead of Date and Wincek to finish 2nd, and second in the overall standings to leap frog the Visser brothers.

Ben Schooling and George Kingsworth sailed a superb series to discard a 2nd place to win the RS800 UK event with 1 race to spare.

Although only a relatively small fleet made the journey, competitive sailing and testing conditions made the trip well worthwhile. Special mention must go out to Royal Torbay Yacht club, who put on a highly enjoyable event, and provided perhaps the warmest welcome ever experienced at a sailing event.





British Grand Prix: Is Formula One turning into the America’s Cup?

21 06 2009

Just a quick post.  I’m just watching the coverage of the British Grand Prix, and thinking about the fallout between the FIA and the main Formula One teams.  I’m starting to realise that this may begin to mirror what has happened in the America’s cup.  When teams become more powerful than the event organisers, you have a power struggle which can impact on the entire sport.

americas-cup

With teams controlling so much power over the governing body, you just need a difference in opinion to spark a break down in communications.  Just like the America’s cup, teams should not be able to hold the sport to ransom when things go against them.  However, for this to happen, the governing body HAS to listen to what the teams want, and it is here that I feel the issue is.

I don’t claim to have the answer to this, and if I did I’m sure I’d be a rich man.  However, I do know that the teams and governing bodies seem to forget that the people who matter the most to them are not the sponsors, manufacturers, FIA or team owners, but the people who tune in every weekend to watch the racing.  What they are doing is damaging the sport will driving away fans, and it is this consideration that they should be making.  Instead of arguing amongst themselves, they need to step back and think “the fans want this, so lets do it”.  Both Formula One and the America’s Cup need to stop arguing amongst themselves, and think about the fans.

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AVG, Twitter, Meerkats, and proof that you can only win if you take part..

13 03 2009

I’ve always been told, by every sailing coach or rugby coach I’ve ever had the pleasure of being shouted at by, that you can only ever win if you’re in the game. It’s cliched, it’s cringeworthy, and it completely sidesteps the fact that if you’re not in the game then you have a greater chance of keeping your dignity, and also, not dying a horrible and mangled death. Either way, I think the saying still holds true in most things you do. If you don’t take part in any activities then you won’t benefit from them.

After my recent success with the lovely people from Marmite (those of you not on my Twitter stream will be pleased to hear that I was sent several tubs of Marmite for some successful Twitter based brown nose-ing… pun fully intended (get over it)) I recently added @officialavgnews to my Twitter profile. This move was to primarily keep abreast of the goings on in the fast paced and exciting world of anti-virus, and to secondly take advantage of their competition to win free anti-Virus for a year if you follow them.

I’ve entered things like this since I was a kid, yet the only thing I ever won was not the Blue Peter mountain bike or huge jar of teeth rotting sweets at the local fair, but a stupid sodding Mickey Mouse toothbrush. When I was 15. Great. Thanks for that one, much appreciated.

Anyway, I was slowly losing hope with humanity, but then…. BOOM… I get a Twitter update that almost floors me. Almost. “You have won a fully paid for version of AVG anti-virus software!” was the message I received. YES! GET IN! I’m finally, FINALLY victorious and will benefit from years of virus free surfing!

Ok, yes I may have gone over the top, but I won something so I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Besides, what can you do? Send me a virus? HA! I don’t think so! Me= fully covered.

Fully covered? That links us nicely into insurance. Man, this post is exciting huh? Anyway, I recently had a thought about the price of pet Meerkats. Ever since Comparethemeerkat.com started advertising with the oh so awesome Aleksandr the Meerkat, I can’t stop talking in pigeon-Russian/English, and describing everything as “simples!”. Therefore, I’m now in the meerkat market for a Meerkat. But alas, they are too expensive now for my modest budget. However, this got me thinking. If only I’d bought several hundred of the furry blighters a few months ago. The average price of a Meerkat has almost quadrupled so I would have been up to my armpits in Meerkat related money. Damn! Business opportunity missed…

Thanks again to AVG for the Anti-virus. I promise to use it to combat viruses and trojans everywhere, for the good of us all.

meerkat





Tiger trophy cancelled

9 02 2009

Ah well, we were all ready to hit the road.  The snow had been shovelled away from the van, drysuits were packed, tire chains fitted, snow goggles and skis bought just in case, but in the end Rutland sailing club cancelled the Tiger trophy, and I have to say, we were hugely disappointed.  Or not.

I’ve sailed at the Tiger trophy a few times, once in the 29er and once in the 49er.  Sure, it’s the first big event of the year, and it’s great to catch up with the other sailors, but there’s something that always makes me want to avoid it, not for the sailing or for the competition, but for the place.  Although I’ve sailed there many times, I’m not a huge fan of Rutland.  Sure, the sailing area is great, the club house is nice and the sailors I know are awesome, but after sailing there too many times to count I have very quickly got sick and tired of the welcome, or lack of, from the “gate keepers”.  I’m sick of sitting at the gate’s intercome trying to explain who I am and why I dare to bother them.  It shouldn’t matter that I’m not a member, in fact, they should welcome non-members with open arms.  Furthermore, every single time I’ve been there I’ve been sailing with or coaching a member, but that has never detered them from interogting me at the gates whilst cars behind waited to get in.  They even once told me to turn around and try Grafham water sailing club, and yes, to reverse my van and two 49ers back up the single lane mud track, past the other queing cars to get off their property.  How the hell do they ever get new members if they treat new faces (or new voices thanks to their stupid intercom) like they are dirt?

I have no issue with clubs like Grafham water sailing club having a man on the gates, so long as he is there to tell people where to park and to help out.  It’s a joke when a club is locked down tighter than Alcatraz, just in case a non member dares to trespass.  We’re in a small industry where companies need to welcome every single individual who expresses interest in joining in, or even in having a coffee in their canteen.  I wonder how many prospective sailors have been scared off by Rutland (and other locked down sailing clubs) with their almost xenophobic behavior.

The funny thing is, once inside I’ve found the staff of Rutland to be friendly and helpful, I just wish they dropped the intercom and opened themselves up to outsiders.

On a side note, at Oxford sailing club they have on their front doors possibly the most confusing sign I’ve seen.  I don’t have a picture, but I have it memorised:

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Members ONLY!

Visitors welcome..

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Jack Bauer embarks on the longest day of his life.. again

12 01 2009

The following blog post takes place between the hours of 16:00 and 17:00 on the day of the California Presidential Primary:

So, it’s not all about sailing.  Yes, surprising as it sounds, I do on the odd occasion talk to people who don’t frequently wear rubber.  I’m not proud of the fact, but in the absence of any decent sail talk I decided to share what I’m doing tonight.  Season seven (sorry, day seven) of 24 starts tonight on Sky, so I thought I’d write a blog post about it.  However, rather than doing the usual blogging thing when it comes to 24 (“OMFG,24 starts TONIGHT! Jack you ROK!!”) I decided to go against the grain and discuss, against popular belief, how badly tonight is going to suck.

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Ok, here’s a conversation taken directly (kinda) from a 24 teaser I saw a few days ago:

Jack Bauer:  My name is Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life. Well, the seventh longest day of my life. Well, eighth if you count that thing in Africa.  Well that wasn’t that long, but we bulked it out with adverts.  I’m now rich by the way… Oh, yeah, one more thing, buy a VW Golf.


Ok, I may have used a bit of artistic license there, but that is ESSENTIALLY what is happening.  Two back to back episodes filled to the brim with endless advert breaks, terrorists, clocks ticking down to the end of the hour, blatant product placement, and a nagging, annoying feeling that you’ve seen this all before, and yes,  something will be happening at 07.59am, just like the last time.

With ten minutes to go everyone starts to relax, not realising that on all other days, something always happens at the end of the hour.  Surely you’d get a little suspicious, right?  How about when you’ve just got through 20 hours of hell (with terrosist incidents taking place on the dot every hour), you think everything is wrapped up, all warheads are accounted for, have uttered the killer line “Great job guys!” to the surviving members of CTU, and then BOOM!  Another terrorist incident flairs up.  You’ve got another 4 hours until the end of the day, that’s a total of 24 fve minute advert breaks to fill.  SOMETHING’s going to happen.  Jack, why the hell are you surprised?  You’ve done this 6 times before…  Something ALWAYS happens.

So, prepare for 2 hours (Well, 1 hour of watchable TV, 1 hour of adverts) of predictable, terrorist based “surprises”, annoying ticking clocks, and Jack shouting “God Dammit!” about 10 times.  But on the bright side, by the end of the night we’ll all want to order a Dominoes Pizza, drive a Golf, buy the Ting Ting’s sodding new album (please don’t), shop at Argos, take out a loan and donate to Oxfam.  Great…

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I guess 24 has done one good thing for us.  I firmly believe that in America 24 is a strong reason for Barack Obama’s election to be President.  The superb casting of Dennis Haysbert for President Palmer led the way for the ultra cool Obama.  Or at least I like to think so..

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