Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sailing with Michael Storer

On the w/e of 8/9 January 2011, I was privileged to catch up with Michael Storer, the designer of the Goat Island Skiff. The Moth Worlds were on at Belmont Bay, Lake Macquarie, and Mick travelled up. We met at Belmont and had a great time checking out these fantastic craft and talking to a few of the Mothies.
What a fantastic day it was checking out what makes these amazing craft tick. As you all know, Mick is such a fountain of knowledge, so it was indeed a privilege to take in his comments while browsing amongst the Moths. We struck up some great conversations with some of the Mothies and got an insight into what drives them. Sailing a foiling Moth is clearly quite a learning curve. However, don't for one minute think that it's a young man's game, as we were told there are guys around 60 sailing them quite competitively.
However, we saw that sailing a Moth is a somewhat wet sport, akin to surfing in a way. Mothies go swimming an awful lot. They go swimming to launch. No retractable centre boards or rudders means they have to carry the thing into deep water. Same thing coming back in....they dump it over on its side and swim it to the shore. And this is after what is, for most skippers, a few dumpings around the racecourse. From what we saw, you are going to need to be pretty fit to sail a Moth competitively.

You can see some of Mick’s Pictures by clicking this photo. (Link will take you away from this page)

Later we rigged up the GIS, which attracted the usual sort of attention from boaties who are curious when seeing something new. The Goat was definitely the candle amongst the Moths both on and off the water. What amazed me this particular outing was the number of people who correctly identified the boat as a Goat Island Skiff, so I guess this is the internet at work and boaties are more knowledgeable.
We had a great sail together, Mick taking his pics while we sailed among the Moths. We watched them rounding the weather mark for one race before heading down to the start area for the next. Foiling Moths are very intriguing and I’ve added a sail on one to my bucket list.
The following day, we headed up to Grahamstown Lake, which is 45km north of Belmont at Port Stephens. Unlike Lake Macquarie, Grahamstown lake is a fresh water reservoir.
As I didn’t have any pics of the Hakuna Matata sailing, it was indeed a privilege to have Mick sail up and down providing me with the opportunity to snap some shots. I later discovered that I had made life very difficult for Michael because I'd rigged the ratchet block the wrong way. Check out the twisted sheet at the transom end. Sorry MIK!
It was great to see Hakuna Matata being sailed so competently by Mick so that I could get some rare shots from the shore. A 10x zoom with no stability control usually means quite a bit of camera shake is present, but I found a timber post to lean on and so eliminate most of the jitters. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that the post had been the recent roost for a seagull, so gull poop on my hands and face was the price paid for my inattention. But it was worth it!
The breeze started at around 12kts and later filled in to a very nice 25kts when we went 2-up.

Clicking this photo will take you to a photo-set on Picasa. (Will open in a new webpage)
Michael Storer sailing Hakuna Matata
Video made from still shots of Mick sailing Hakuna Matata

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