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Crunch Time for Chris!

January 10th, 2011

Today was the last day of qualification, before the fleet gets split up into Gold and Silver fleet. Conditions were again mostly breeze on but with a bit more overcast, which kept the windspeeds down when the clouds were in. As soon as the sun would pop out the breeze would increase a couple of knots. Being in the blue fleet I got to race twice on the outer loop, which had some flatter water and big gusts off of the shoreline. My main goal of the day was to improve my boathandling. And I did! No capsizes or pitchpoles resulted in three top ten finishes, albeit I might have been OCS in the last start. I pulled the trigger a second too early, realized my mistake, tried to slow down and almost capsized in the process. It was a good races nevertheless, battling back into the top ten and eventually finishing ahead of Simon Payne. Sailing around in the back end of the fleet on the first beat (after that lousy start), I noticed how my confidence level dramatically improved. I knew that I was going faster than everyone around me and that my boat handling was going to be better. That all led to a lot smoother sailing, than when I was duking  it out with the top guys at the front. Now I just need to do the same when I’m ahead of those guys.
Bora had a good day with two 2nds and a forth. He’s going faster now after having replaced his rudder vertical which was splitting down the middle! Nathan Outteridge had another 3 bullet day, so he will start off the final racing with a 1st on his scoreboard. Pretty impressive on his part!
At the BBQ after racing everybody was more or less complaining about beat up bodies and sore hands. We all need a day off, but Gold Fleet racing commences tomorrow! Hopefully on Wednesday we get to relax a bit and lick our wounds.

Tough Day on the Water for Chris!

January 9th, 2011

Lets start off with some humor to lighten up the day a bit!
 The name of my boat is a play on “Lorenzo Van Matterhorn” which was a scene in the Series: How I met your mother. Check out the youtube clip…We have been watches the complete series on Bora’s MacBook and it definitely is funny!

 Back to reality…..
Tough day on the race course for me today. The conditions were challenging with breeze in the low 20 knot range and some nasty chop at the bottom of the course. Again we sailed three races and the top guys had big smiles on their faces even before the race started! They knew it  was going to be a boat handling day that would separate the boys from the men. Unfortunately I’ll have to count myself to the “boys” group , still. But I’m determined to change that! I’d be looking real good up the first beat, showing great speed of the line. But then the dreaded moment would arrive: I would have to tack! and in the process lose all those hard fought meters, hiking my butt off, keeping the boat at the perfect angle, keeping an eye out for those big puffs rolling down. All of it would be obliterated within two seconds. It kinda reminds me of that movie : Anger Management with Adam Sandler. It’s not really THAT bad, but I might start singing “I’m pretty, so pretty, la la la la” soon if I don’t sort out some more consistent tacks.
Needlessly to say my results weren’t anything worth writing home to about. After a day like today I usually force myself to find all the positive aspects of my racing, so here we go:
Good placement on the starting line, great upwind speed, good laylines, Never-give-up attitude, nothing broke, finished all races, beat the current world champion in a race, sailing upwind at 16 knots, beautiful weather, nice temperatures, great team mates that are happy to help you.
Now, how is that for some self coaching!!! OK, I’m pumped up again for some more racing tomorrow, bring it on!
For me, you must understand, it can be quite frustrating having to deal with sub-par boat handling. In the 49er with Tim, we had put a serious priority on boat handling. We had set ourselves the goal that no one could “out-boat handle” us. We were a light-weight team, so every move had to sit perfectly. Good boat handling is the basis for your confidence and confidence is needed for good decision making. Good boat handling leads to good speed, good speed leads to good tactics and good tactics result in good finishes. Pretty simple, huh?

Chris Rast’s Input of the First Day of racing at the Moth Worlds

January 9th, 2011

The first day of racing is over and everybody is enjoying the BBQ and some beer…. just the way it’s supposed to be! The forecast called for lighter breeze today and it was actually pretty spot on. I opted to use my second sail, the MSL 13C which is a bit more powerful and I think it was the right choice. My speed was decent around the course, except when I hit the occasional patch of weed, which was a test of dealing with frustration. I believe I finished 4th, high teens and 6th, so obviously I’m fairly pleased. Bora had all single digits and is getting his Mojo back. All the other top players had decent results so no big surprises there… Except that Brad Funk sailed in the wrong group in the first race… Aaaarrrrgggh! Anyways, he bounced back nicely for the other two. Results aren’t up yet, but you should be able to find them here, once they are posted.
We have six more qualification races and then hopefully a day off before the finals start.

More News From The Moth Worlds, And The Solid Sail Development

January 7th, 2011

The second update from our imbedded reporter in Belmont regarding the development of the wing sail for the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds.  Chris is there to compete, as well as test the new skiff line from SLAM ; for ore of Chris’ insights into sailing in general, and coaching you can go to his blog.

“I was doing 24 knots downwind when I stuffed the bow and stopped radically. The leading edge buckled and the rest, well the rest you can see…” was Charlie’s recap of what happened.
About an hour after Charlie had given an interview to media guys at the event and launched for another sail with  wing #2, we saw Rob Patterson towing Charlie back into shore with the wing folded in half on top of the coachboat. “That doesn’t look good..” said Bora. We retrieved all pieces and brought them back to the container for further inspection. (We believe the FAA is coming by tomorrow for a more thorough analysis.) This was wing #2 which had shown some buckling early on and we had fixed it… or so we thought. The leading edge buckled again a couple of inches below our repair. Charlie opted to sail again with it today in order to validate it and pushed it pretty hard. As far as we can tell the failure is due to inconsistent bonding with the core. The 75 gsm prepreg that we used is extremly “dry” with minimum resin content. While building the elements we did our best to maximise pressure in the molds in order to ensure proper bonding, but in the end obviously an autoclave would have been best. Lets make this clear, there is not a problem with the pre-preg. This TPT stuff is awesome, we just didn’t quite give it the proper attention it needs.
Yes, this is a set back for us but we will take some valuable lessons away from it and we are confident that we are on the right track. Charlie will continue sailing with wing #1 and #3 for the worlds.

 On the bright side Bear noted: “Well this is going to make the loading of the container easier…” :-)

US Airforce Team out

Rigging A Wing for The Zhik 2011 Moth Worlds

January 5th, 2011

 We are supporting Chris Rast’s endeavour at the above regatta. One of the most interesting pieces is the use of a solid sail on these boats. Here is Chris’ first update from down-under. I will warn you that the video is not the best, but it is facininating none the less. 

Enjoy!

“So finally racing has begun here in Belmont. It’s about time! Racing is actually still underway as I’m writing this. I opted to give my body a break as my hands are killing me right now (a little remainder from the thin lines during my 49er times, thanks Tim! ;-) )
For the next two days the Australian Nationals are on and everybody is checking in to see how well their boats and crazy designs actually work. Obviously one of the big questions is: Will we actually race with the Wing? Answer: Yes and No. Our testing phase was too short to really validate all points and get comfortable to race with the wing. Nevertheless Charlie McKee is biting the bullet and is committed to sail the Australian Nationals and the Worlds with the wing. Together with Rob Patterson they have worked hard to get all systems working well and finding better downwind speed. Successfully so far actually! Ever day Charlie has been going better…

To give you guys a better idea of what it takes to rig a wing on to the moth I have attached a little video explaining the process.

US Airforce Team out