:So here are ensconced in the south of France, Provence region about 200K north of Marseilles, in the town of Pierrelatte, located in the Drone valley.
The contest is being sailed on a local lake which is about 600 mtrs long and 200 mtrs wide, virtually no weed and quite deep, the contest is being sailed on the longest southern side with a small launching jetty from where you move to a control area on a 2 mtr high burn giving good visibility of what will be a very long courses, some say about 200 mtr beats are what we can expect.
So today the 12th of May, was day 1 of measuring, and a practise day, as we speak there are a series of thunder heads forming, flowing from these a series of lightning swarms dumping huge amounts of rain in 5 minutes, this venue is known as windy and of steady direction, today no wind and from every direction!!!! Always the same with the locals saying “it’s never like this” (Weather for the next few days is due to get a lot warmer (10 degrees hotter than present) and wind however not predicted to rise too much at all. So Sundays ranking race may be a light air affair???
Boats looked fine from the travel but upon closer inspection my boat had been dropped which resulted in the winch being ripped from the two brass screw barrels that hold it to the hull being actually broken in half, so the winch was only being held in place by the drum. We bodged it together for the morning sail, then this afternoon robbed two new brass barrels from a new winch I had bought with me. Must have been a hell of a knock to break both??
We set up and sailed in the morning with about a dozen other sailors from Sweden, Holland, USA and Italy, not a lot to be learned as the wind never got above 2 knots. Measuring is a two day window so we slotted in after lunch today. They weigh all batteries, keel, rudder, all 3 rigs, (in the boat) do flotation test and measure all masts and sails on a jig. I had to add lead (2 grams), Ian was spot on.
Interesting mix of new boats, notably a design from an Italian: Giovani Ceccarelli, called a “Sedici” it looks a lot like the Mike Drummond boat Terry Valder sails. Interesting to note though that the V10 certainly looks smaller on the water and in volume than the boats we saw today.
Every type of keel and rudder style, however quite a few have the flared top, like the V10, rudders look deeper than ours though, some are beautifully prepared and some look like they have been dragged from the garage and dusted off!! Interesting quite a few have very low sail plans with the booms only a few mills off the deck, not sure how they will go reaching in a breeze ?? . Sails look flatter than ours, and boats looks more complicated, (I asked if anybody knew Grant Lane or Bruce Edgar,, nobody did ??)
Ian and I would like to really thank you all for your support and generosity in helping us attend, thank you, we are both very aware of the interest and expectation, so for my part I will try and stay out of trouble……..??? start each race like my life depends on it (or not) , for Ian, if its light there are a lot of really good sailors here very capable of winning, if its fresh in any rig , I am thinking you will see the V10 get up and go!!
Au Revoir and A’tout’allure
Bonjour Monsieur’s 😊
Well la-buggar me – no wind again today! No practise racing possible on la-pond BUT your ever tenacious team NZ, after waiting countless hours in searing Provencal sun, cooled only by tre´ beere , vino and aqua mineral…………… we managed over 2 hours of ultra-light air training against Aussies, Dutch, Suedes, Swiss act.
Considering the Mistral winds are due on Monday (they say up to 40 Knots) this light air training (Might) or will be ( a complete waste of time!)
Weigh in, measuring and certification continued all day today , some are not all are here yet, with the top British guys arriving late today (no training) needing to weigh their boats act.
The shore facility area has sprung up over the past 2 days with several large marquees, a catering tent, a pre-race holding area and a pre launching zone, there are several TV broadcasting high points, also they will also be having live on site and radio commentary, the race zone is small only 30 mtrs long on a small mound they have built, so no walking and probably no moving at all from your place as its railed in like a cage!!!
We knocked off early (sorry Paul) and drove to an amazing medieval town called Poet de Laval, a fortress on a very scenic hilltop. Tonight there is an opening dinner (dancing and drinking) at Perrielatte where I hope to be able (on behalf of NZRC) to recite the full version of “Rinda cella and the pransome hince”
Joking aside, Tomorrow racing starts in earnest, probability around 10.00, looks like a light A rig for the seeding race, I think that’s good for us we are happy with our speed especially down wind, we have just re done all the setups ( well Ian has) on our rigs, and now are just wanting to get on with it, on the weather side if it truly dose blow !!! there are a lot here who have done very little C rig ( big waves) sailing and looking at some of the C rigs at measuring I would be thinking there could be plenty of carnage, as I mentioned they will set BIG courses and mark rounding will be a race maker or breaker.
Keep an eye out for us on TV (I am the one with slightly thing hair) tell Bill Bradly we saw his twin brother here today..just 50kg lighter 40 years younger.
Sacre’ra’blure !!! a day to test the nerves, not sure where to begin, we have just walked into our apartment at 10.10pm (French time) been a long day chaps!!
So, day 1 racing began at 9.30 sharp, we had 8 knots (medium A rig) from the north, patchy and moving around quickly, about 25 degrees (every 3 minutes or so) 5 heats including a grading race, we (team NZ were drawn heat C, Ian got a clean start, and from that built on every leg to record a nice win and headed to A fleet, your hapless correspondent battled through out for an 8th and for that mighty effort was curtly dismissed to C fleet.
Racing continued all day until 6.30, the 5 fleets managed to get off 5 heats over the long HOT French summer day, the wind stayed in the same quarter, gusting to 10 knots and as low as 3 knots, it was a tough day at the office with both sides of the track being favoured in every leg, if you played the middle you would see both sides of the track roll by you at some point, if you pushed one side it was a 50/ 50 bet.
so,. Ian started well enough but had radio issues all day with the rudder not centering, the boat looked out of balance every race, and he was struggling for both pace and fluidity, plus when you have issues, the races were just not falling his way, he slipped to B fleet in race 4 and is there overnight. We have tonight replaced his radio and all seems 100% better so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, don’t despair chaps as the contest will probably allow 4 to 5 drops, so there is plenty of racing to follow, I have to say there are a lot of bloody fast boats here, flat water and mid A rig conditions suites every hull type and sail design, so not a lot of conclusions, a real case of blink and you lose, it was an exhausting sailing day, mentally..
As for your hapless correspondent, I had a fight with a Turk pre-start (thinking of Gallipoli) ended up in the kill zone (6th last) and was dropped to D fleet, then got attacked by the French and ended up in E fleet, not to be detoured, went on the record 2 straight wins (please note Bruce Edgar) and was back in C fleet, had 3rd well tied when once again the bloody French arrived with cavalry, massive tangle, and missed B fleet by 1 place, sacre’Blure!!
Lesions::: not a lot, good starts win races (quote: Grant Lane) they are lining up 1.5 minutes out and holding position!! We have plenty enough pace and height but no real advantage, some of these guys are really smooth in boat handling, clearly spending 100s of hours at it. Our rigs and sails look very good, its boat handling chaps and race craft that makes winners and that takes time..
Big day tomorrow, regattas like this over 5 day racing are often won and lost on day 2 an 3… so Ian is asleep, and ?? writing to you lot on the other side of the world, drinking red wine and swapping the charger over from battery to battery,
Its day 4, and it feels like it!! (tired). We needed to have a team talk today, as it’s the second day of the “world champs” (that’s the business day) we need some gun powder (firsts)
Its stupidly simply hard here as every boat is fast, and I mean every boat!!, from A fleet to E, so if you make a mistake there is always someone to pounce on you, pass you, put you about or put you in the shit!! Its tough100% of the time. Since we are talking within (our selves), Ian has been sailing like a club sailor, looking for an occasional easy passage and or some slack to come his way, it hasn’t and it won’t, this contest is tough in every sense of the word.
So today was time to step up, Ian stared in B fleet and had a very ordinary race, race two of the day was not much better in 14 to 18 Knots, just managing to stay in B fleet. Pre-race 3, We had a re think re the rig set up, the waves, wind and right hand bend, he won B felt by a heaps and then went into A fleet. Race 4 stared well with the boat finally sitting bow up, running hard and smooth up hill (not bobbing) Ian just sailed away from the rest of A fleet in what was the freshest race of the day, pulling way both up hill and down recording a very popular victory, this is good stuff chaps as we are still in the hunt for medals and now we are sailing knowing there is no free lunch and it’s war out there !!!
As for your hapless correspondent, battling in D fleet, where (I would like to add) there are or were no less than 3 previous world champions, and I can assure you there is NO give or take, (there are Germans and Dutch ) I would like to mention (quietly) I recorded yet another race win (3rd) and that’s 2 more than Vickers, id like to point out there might be something wrong with the score board maths as I am 60th???
So what do we know, f..k all as usual!! , but I can tell you race craft skills are the difference, and we in NZ need to race harder, smarter and longer with no concessions if we want to have more world class sailors in our RC community. Our gear is good our sails are fuller and we set up wider with more twist in both main and Jib which is fine, that said we are pointing well enough in the puffs, but in the lulls we are struggling to hold lanes, speed wise (VMG) we are good, it’s the tacking and the manoeuvres that count so much and that’s where you can lose 30 seconds a race with-out blinking.!!
So it 11.15 pm here in France (Vickers is in bed, your hapless correspondent is almost), day 4 racing tomorrow, wind tomorrow is predicted to be less maybe back to A rig ?? that’s OK as I am thinking we are over the hump, we will win more races chaps be sure of that.
Wednesday is a lay day (Tuesday tomorrow, Bruce Edgar) , we have a Villa in a small town “Montilima” and we are inviting our 5 fat, useless, humourless Aussie mates over tomorrow for a BBQ, we know they are home sick lost souls, why am I telling you this ???? as I’ll be possibly late on the newsletter tomorrow.
And by the way here the club commodore shout drinks, cheese boards and nibbles after every days sailing, plus we have wine for lunch,,, OH that may explain things.
Racing Day 3 well finished, its Wednesday morning here, sorry for the delay in the report, racing on day 3 (Tuesday) was a late finish around 6.30 a beautiful hot summers day so your hapless correspondent made for the regatta bar and then a bottle of Frances finest and then to a mid-regatta party last night home and tucked up by 2.30am (have felt better)
Yesterday as A rig, started with a skippers briefing (mid regatta) at 9.00 then racing began at 9.30, continued until about 1.30 when the southerly died, they have a café on site in a large marque where a cooked very French style lunch is on offer between 12.00 and 2.30, with lunch there is beer and wine, Note! Vickers water only , Hapless correspondent 2 glasses of Rosie!!
Quite a large crowd watching including two TV crews, radio broadcast crew and supporters etc., Ian who hit A fleet on Day 2 had only 3 races being races 10, 11 and 12, his best race being the last after a lengthy (lunch) delay with zero wind, when it came in it was from the south, very light sailing into a corner of the lake with big pileups at the top mark where the wind died, Ian had a 3rd this race with really good speed both up hill and down, the boat and his race craft are looking way more settled, smoother and in the style we all know, the big difference here is 1 slip up, 1 slow tack or missed shift and there are a dozen just as fast boats all over you, its brutal and every skipper in the contest is cycling up and down the fleets, no one has stayed in A fleet all 12 races and there will be lots more fluctuating results as the wind is predicted to be patchy from the south till Friday when the northerly returns, this is good for Ian as all will hopefully have bad races slipping them down the fleets, getting out of B and C fleets is a bloody mission, especially C fleet where nobody gives you an inch, A fleet is way more civilised and the skippers cautious as there is too much to lose, where down in C its open warfare, lots more shouting, lots more penalties and pile-ups, you’ll be proud to know your hapless correspondent not is shying or giving an inch,
My day? Started in D fleet, a win (win No 3) then into C fleet, a mid fleet finish, then after the delay a 4th, this race was protested by half the fleet as being too light and shifty, the protest took an hour but in the end the results stood, so I was in B fleet, that race was shambles and I am not sure of the result as I hit an Italian after I finished, but I see I am still in B overnight so let’s see, I thought he was going to cry (or take a swing at me) as he will go down a fleet, even the TV presenter was waving her arms (at me) and saying all kinds of bad stuff on the TV about the incident, bloody hopeless I can hear Grant Lane saying !!!
Observations: Ian has replaced his radio which was not centering the rudder properly , he next replaced the rudder servo using a high powered (1300) one I had, much better as it stronger, being centered is really important here as the runs are so tight with boats jostling and constant rudder movement may loose a heap of places. Biggest changes is in the jib set up, we are setting the A rig jib at 63 to 65 and the twist at 35, Why, we were sailing to low off the line and not getting the bite sheeting tighter gives you, some here are around 60 by the look of it, admittingly the water here is flat with little chop. Main sail wise we are at 8 out and the twist between 55 and 60. Rig tensions look quite tight but the sail setups are all tighter (than we use in NZ) as you would expect at a world champs, where at club sailing you get the freedom to sail free and wider angles, sailing tight and higher takes way more concentration, but it’s what we need to practise at (says I who reaches around like a sick dog)
As for B rig, much the same at 65 and 35 twist with the main out to 15 but twist still at 60, don’t think C rig will come out of the bag?
Lay day today (Wednesday) we are off the Avignon a Roman city, walled and quite beautiful where we will find a café for lunch, more wine sunshine, this French way of life could is infectious
Big day at the office chaps!!! Day 4 of racing is the cooking day, if you don’t have the ingredients to win you’re not going to make the dinner!!
We had a delay of 2 hours as the wind filled, racing began with B fleet at 11.00 your truly had a piss-poor race dropping immediately to C fleet, then flowed A fleet, building breeze of 5 knots plus , Ian got a clean start and lead all the way, recording his second win in A fleet, wind after that died, we abandoned the course for lunch, (plus wine) resumed at about 1.00 with a building breeze, race 15 A fleet was a real battle with a short beat to the top mark ensuring a heap, of collisions, A fleet are reasonably moderate and measured in there mark approach, while B fleet is way more cut and thrust at mark NO 1, as for C fleet as mentioned before, it’s open bloody warfare, just look at the latest U tube video of me T boning an Italian (Mussolini) on Port, fully powered up at the top mark.
Anyway, Ian was 6th in his second race for the day. With a building breeze and with all holding on to A rigs it stared to become spectacular as boats started to run wild. At this point I need to mention your hapless correspondent stated the day in B feet, quickly went to C and then to D feet via some truly pathetic sailing, un-deturbed a win in D and a 3rdin C say me quick smart back in B fleet. The races prior to my D feet win were A Then D, they were really fresh so there was a rush to change down to B rigs, not me kept the A rig and ran away downhill, same in the C fleet race and then in the B feet all changed again back to A rig that’s when I had a mighty big T bone with Mussolini from Italy, survived the race in 11th just managing to stay up in B fleet.
Ian’s 3rd race for the day was really fresh about 16 knots plus, the V10 really smoked downhill and he had a really nice second to the Spaniard (Beltri) who is now leading.
Bloody long day chaps, quite a bit of carnage today (I did my share) and a lot of protests, only 1 against a kiwi, (me) and I won thanks to grant lanes advice (never admit a thing)
So, tomorrow is the penultimate day, and the points are getting tight, the top 3 are reasonably clear and need to sail well to keep it that way, there is a real scrap brewing for 4th to 9th with less than 20 points separating. The wind is still predicted to swing from the north and blow us much as 30 knots by Friday!!! So, there is plenty of opportunity to gain or lose a heap.
Observations: Jibs…… we are sheeting (Ian not me) at 55 and twist of 35, with the main flatter on the foot (a little) and out at 8 with twist of about 55 to 60. this is way tighter than the manual and the norm in NZ, but if you’re not tight you miss the bite in the gusts and can’t hold a lane (not grant lane). From what I can see this tighter mode is the normal in big regattas where competitors are evenly balanced, we can learn a lot from this, as club sailing (while being great) allows us to be in a more cruiser mode. Our sails are defiantly on the fuller side and to be honest I haven’t seen any I would rather have, as for the hulls same !! the new Italian Cedici is very sweet but looks soft in the stern and dated (to me) apart from quite a sexy keel. One interesting thing our spreaders on NO1 are about 40 to 43, the others seem to range between 50 and 65, like cow horns!!
I have observed our masts are dropping off the leeward (about 20+ mils) while the others seem more in column (longer spreaders), not sure if this is good or not, I am thinking it is as Ian is very fast at the top of the ranges for A and B, which suggest the rig is being allowed to breath in the gusts, as for mast rake, not a lot of difference most are quite upright, when questioned those who play with this are not sure, I for one think we need to play around with rake as it can load the rudder supporting hyronamic lift, ( no questions please)
+note correspondent has flashes of speed too in same conditions!!! With shorter spreaders !!
Big day tomorrow, its 11.30pm here now and yet again Ian is asleep, for me suffering later life insomniatic tendencies, I am drinking Frances finest and charging the batteries
Sacre’blur!! End of a bloody long day, numerous delays, course changes, protests and countless 100s of turns, I am Knackered, just celebrated Ian’s 48th birthday with French wine, pizza, and more wine.
A difficult day for many, you would have all seen the results boards and fleet schedules each night, so from this you’ll see the final results are falling into place, Tomorrow is going to be light to moderate A rig, so it’s hard to see A fleet doing more than 3 races, the day starts with B fleet, then A and then starts race 20 with E fleet, so 3 rotations is going to be max, from this it’s hard to see the top 3 being pushed out those positions, but anyone could take the title, the Englishman Robby Walsh (world champion 2013) has quite a hill to climb but the Spaniard Beltrie and the Croation Zonco are really tight, we will see as either is a worthy champion.
A fleet only managed 3 races today, Ian has a 3rd, 14th and 4th the first race was B rigs then all in A rigs in dropping breeze
Then there will be the scrap for 4th to 8th, one French man, one Italian, one Kiwi and a Pom, hard to know how it will play out, if its fresh Ian has the pace if its light then its shifty and any one of them could get 4th, I think Ian will find the Italian hardest beat in the light, while Peter Stollery is a past world champion he is getting better and better by the race, we will see.
I must say Ian has done amazingly well this is not the US contest of last it’s a world champions in the heart of IOM strong lands (Europe) and these guys have put a lot of training in, especially the Italians and French, they are all very good race course sailors and their boats are all immaculate, in preparation, fit-out and setup
The power of the feet is evident from A to E fleets with lots of guys bouncing up and down fleets all day, it’s worth noting nobody has managed to stay in A fleet the entire regatta, one mistake one wrong choice and your down as there is no space or chance to make it up with neither speed or tactics (well that’s what I found, bugger it)
As for your hapless correspondent, started to day in B fleet (with A rig on only one), quick smart dispatched down to C fleet (broken Jib sheet) and then to D fleet, (no room for the shy sensitive types here) clawed back to C fleet and then back to B feet via some stunning mark rounding’s, faltered very next race back to C, undeterred back up to B and finally dumped to C feet again, Jezzzus no wonder I feel dizzy and knackered
NZ RC sailing should to be proud of Ian as he has little to really bench mark from in local competition, while our local sailing is intense it does not necessarily foster development of race craft and set up styles, as these guys seem to enjoy, that said he will beat the top Aussie by 20 to 30 points (Scott Condie) They do sail a different style here in this level of competition, which you would expect, I guess from this Ian and others will talk, (plus video) consider, and we will make some setup changes that will filter down, that’s good too,!! I think looking at the whole Euro scene we need to push hard with our Aussie friends and create our own south pacific contest, get to each other’s nationals more often, promote and support our Meter Monthly’s and find better ways to ensure we promote regional events, all with the assistance and guidance vital engaged RCNZ.
This has been a shit hot contest, fun to sail, fantastic venue, great weather, though shifty and patchy, organisation wise its French with flair, style and …their way, the Video is amazing with 3 stands on course and those who like this will have 100s of hours of stuff to trawl through all winter.
Tomorrow may be a real thriller, may be disappointing or fantastic, I’ll keep you informed and from this we will do a more technical comprehensive report on setups, sails and race craft things we have seen that you may like, based on my performance it will be a record short story.