Monday, October 24, 2016

Tacking Like a Boss

Thought you would enjoy this video of Chris Arnell in an RS 300, as he puts it, making an "almost perfect escape onto port tack last weekend ;)"

I think that semicolon and parenthesis are meant to indicate he is joking.

I assume this is the same gentleman who writes the hilarious RS300 393 - adventures of a boat and her incompetent skipper blog.

I think I have written about his blog before. It's a bit like Proper Course but a lot better because Chris is much more skilled at the self-deprecating British humour thing than I am.

I don't know much about the RS 300 except that it's another RS Sailing singlehander like the RS Aero, but it's been around a few more years and it looks a lot more difficult to sail.

Somebody even wrote a blog post suggesting that the RS 300 is a cult.

Is the RS Aero a cult too?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shelter From The Storm

Shelter From The Storm from Vimeo.

A classic from the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.

May all my sailing friends find shelter from the storm when they need it.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Should I Sell My Laser?

Should I sell my old Laser?

There it is. Stuck in the corner of the garage with a couple of bikes. Behind the lawnmower. A convenient shelf on which to store my RS Aero foils.

It's now October and I just realized I haven't sailed my Laser since April. All summer, I have been ignoring the Laser and sailing my RS Aero instead.

How did that happen?

It wasn't the original plan.

When I bought my RS Aero I intended to split my time between the RS Aero and the Laser. Actually the plan that my two fellow RS Aero buyers and I had agreed was that we would sail the RS Aeros on Saturdays at the club and the Lasers on Sundays. But that went out the window on the first Sunday after we had taken delivery of our Aeros in May last year, when I showed up at the club with my Laser only to find that my friends had already reneged on our agreement and they were sailing their Aeros. Whatever.  Six of us in Lasers raced the two show-offs in RS Aeros and in the last race I crushed them all.


I actually wrote in the blog post about that day Laser Sailing at the Lake - Crushed! ...

I love lake sailing.
I love Laser sailing.

And so I became a two boat sailor. I would sail the RS Aero at the club and at regattas and then when I went back to sailing my Laser I would strangely find that I enjoyed the Laser even more then I used to, and that my time in the RS Aero had actually improved some aspects of my Laser technique.  A Laser sailing friend from the west coast who had also bought an RS Aero told me that when I went back to the Laser it would feel like a truck...

A truck - not a Laser

But later in the summer of 2015 after I went Back to the Laser for a couple of days, I didn't think it felt at all like a truck and I was writing of the experience...

I love my Laser.
I am a two boat sailor.

I sailed the RS Aero a lot in the summer and fall of 2015, including two regattas at our home club, the RS Aeros North Americans at the Gorge and the Archipelago Rally (which I almost won!)


But then at the start of the frostbiting season in November I was feeling all nostalgic about Laser sailing again so I took my Laser down to Newport and had a terrific time including leading the 44 boat fleet at the windward mark in one race.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I sailed a few more days with the Newport Laser frostbite fleet over the winter and did a bit of solo practice in March and April, but then I put the Laser away in the garage - and it hasn't moved from there for six months.

This summer I have sailed my RS Aero in club races and also with the Bristol Laser fleet on a couple of Tuesday evenings. I have done several RS Aero regattas including three in New England, the US Nationals at the Gorge, and the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda.

Fuzzy screen capture from a video of me sailing at Lake Garda

I have met RS Aero sailors from all over the world who share my passion for the RS Aero. And my enthusiasm for racing and regattas and traveling to regattas has never been higher. But somehow along the way I forgot my Laser.

How did that happen?

Do I need to keep the Laser any more?

Should I sell it?

Monday, October 03, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine - Photos from Day 3

Sunday, the third and final day of racing in the RS Aerocup at Malcesine on Lake Garda was another beautiful day of sailing in paradise. The southerly breeze kicked in dead on time for our first start at 1pm and we were off.

A start. But where is Tillerman? Buried again it seems!

Mike Saqui - my nemesis on the race course - with boat flat and game face on.
He did beat me by a few points in the regatta but I crushed him in both races on Sunday.

Nick Craven - another sailor I was crossing tacks with all though the regatta.
I guess that's his game face?
Anyway he beat me in the regatta but I crushed him on Sunday too!

My favorite photo from the whole regatta!
But where is Tillerman?

Kristo Ounap from Estonia - 3rd in the 7 rig fleet.
Amazing speed downwind. I rounded the windward mark with him in one race and he was gone, gone, gone before I could figure out what he was doing to be so fast.

Peter Barton from Great Britain - 2nd in the 7 rigs.

Per Christian Bordal from Norway - winner in the 7 rig fleet.
Another one who has figured out how to make big gains downwind.
More on that in another blog post.

The RS Aero 7 medal winners with their podium pants on.
Do they look happy, or what?

Thanks to SBG Films for all the amazing photos.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Discover RS Aero Go Faster Tips

Last Thursday, on the day before racing started at the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda, Peter Barton the RS Aero International Class Manger (and by the way one of the best sailors in the class) ran a clinic for some the sailors.

I have heard Peter give pre-regatta clinics on three occasions over the past two years and every time there is something new to learn. Peter says that the more he races the boat the more his own thinking evolves on what is fast and what is not.

But where is Tillerman?

I wonder whether the attendees at Peter's talk will actually remember of all the information he was imparting?

Only one of the students seems to be taking notes. That guy sitting in the front row wearing a beige cap and showing off a very handsome pair of knees.

Watch out for that guy!

(If he can read his own handwriting.)

Just saying.

Monday, September 26, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine - Photos from Day 2

Thanks for SBG Films for these photos from Day 2 of the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda.

Wow! The waves were even bigger than I remembered.

Liina Kolk from Estonia - RS Aero 5 Champion

Karlijn van den Boogaard from the Netherlands. Youngest competitor.

Ben Rolfe from Great Britain. RS Aero 9 champion.

Kate Sargent from Great Britain. A very close second in the RS Aero 5 fleet.

The fleet going downwind. But where is Tillerman?

Oh, there I am. Does this wetsuit make my bum look big?

Mike Saqui from Great Britain. 
One of my closest competitors on the race course.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine 2016 - Photos from Day 1

Photos from Day 1 of the RS Aerocup at Lake Garda - thanks to SBG Films.

Per Christian Bordal from Norway currently leading the 24 boat strong RS Aero 7 fleet with six bullets in seven races after two days of racing.

A start. Where is Tillerman?

Peter Barton GBR (orange visor) RS Aero International Class Manager - lying second in the RS Aero 7 fleet after two days of racing.

Peter Stephinson fron Australia - the guy who developed foils to make the Laser and the Aero fly like a Moth.

The sailor in 1831 looks a lot like Doug Dubois from Park City USA, but he told all the sailors at the dinner on Friday night that his name was Donald Trump and if they let him win a race he promised not to build walls round all their countries and make them pay for it.

Kate Sargent GBR, after two days only one point out of the lead in the RS Aero 5 fleet.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


The view from our hotel at breakfast time.

A light northerly breeze,  which will likely switch to the south around lunchtime and build during the early afternoon. Just like it has every other day. Perfect conditions for RS Aero sailing.

The regatta started yesterday (Friday.)

There was a skippers meeting at 11:30.

After the usual welcome speeches and one good question and several not so good questions from sailors, pizza and little hors d'oeuvres were served, along with some bubbly.

Bubbly at a skippers meeting - 90 minutes before the first race! I didn't have any. Honest!

But I do love Italy.

And so we raced on Lake Garda. The winds built up to about 16 knots during the racing.

I was passing boats upwind.

Boats were passing me downwind.

I tried out some of the things Peter Barton taught us at the clinic. How to set the sail controls to point well going upwind. Different ways to pump going downwind.

I was feeling very mellow.

Between races I just lounged in my Aero and soaked in the view.  This must be the most spectacular sailing location in the world.

After two races I was feeling so mellow - actually a bit tired - I decided to skip the third race and go back to the hotel to find TIllerwoman and have a beer. Or two.

We have bubbly - prosecco - at breakfast too.

Maybe that's why I feel so mellow?