Two wheels on my wagon

Blokart vs. bumpy beach (with apologies for the hat) from Dave Kneale on Vimeo.

By popular demand, here’s a video of a certain MSR editor’s recent crash-landing on Kirk Michael beach. Although it may appear to be a video of someone fooling around, it’s actually a serious scientific study into the minimum number of wheels required for effective landyachting. Spoiler alert: the answer is three. And no, that isn’t the worst hat that I own.

New for 2014: Learn to race this summer with 7th Wave’s fun regatta series

Here in the Isle of Man we’re blessed to have some serious talent on the start line of our dinghy races: there’s world-class competition on our doorstep in RS Teras, Fevas, Lasers and more. But if you’re just starting out, it can be pretty heavy company.

If you’ve ever wanted to get into dinghy racing but don’t know where to start, make 2014 the year you take the plunge. A fun summer regatta series aimed at getting sailors of all ages ready to race is amongst the new offerings from 7th Wave Sailing Activities Centre in Port Erin.

The regattas will include briefings and on-the-water coaching from the 7th Wave team during a series of informal races. Participants can bring their own dinghies or hire one of the centre’s ever-expanding fleet. Five afternoon events are scheduled between May and September – check our Events page for dates and keep an eye on the 7th Wave website for more details.

Updated racing calendar for 2014 season

We’ve updated our Events page with the island’s key sailing races and regattas for the 2014 season.

As usual we’ve only included the major regattas rather than trying to include the hundreds of club races that take place around the island over the course of the year.

Thanks to the good folks at the Manx Yachting Association for the information. Please get in touch if we’ve missed anything important, or to request a listing.

Podium for Pridham at Laser World Masters in Oman

Veteran dinghy sailor Mike Pridham put in an outstanding performance to claim a podium place in his class at the Laser World Championship in Oman in December. Pridham, 61, finished in bronze medal position and the top British sailor in the 23-strong Laser Radial Grand Master Fleet, comprising sailors aged between 55 and 64.

He beat four other British sailors including pre-event favourite Max Hunt, who won the Laser Radial European Master Championship in August, and pushed former Laser Masters World Champion Doug Peckover (USA) into fourth place overall.

Hosted by Al-Mussanah Sports City in Oman, the 12-race series over six days featured the characteristic light and gently shifting winds of the Gulf, with no more than 10 knots of wind in any race. 183 competitors from around the world took part across eight fleets.

Having struggled to be competitive in light winds in the past, Pridham found a new level of boatspeed and trim to be at the very top of the fleet. He claimed nine top five finishes in 12 races and beat overall winner, Australia’s Vanessa Dudley, to the finish line in race eight by a fraction of a boatlength for his first win of the week, immediately following it up with another win to dominate the day’s racing. Dudley became only the second woman to win the Laser World Masters in any fleet after an outstanding series of results, clinching the title with a day to spare.

Pridham is a former Isle of Man Dinghy Champion who has represented the island at six Island Games and regularly travels to international regattas.

Meanwhile another Island Games veteran, Peter Whipp, was forced to retire from the event after contracting food poisoning. He achieved two top-10 results in the Great Grand Master fleet, for sailors aged 65 and above, including fifth place in race two before being forced to withdraw.

Full results are here.

MS&CC Frostbite Regatta report

Thanks to Ralph Kee for the report and James Bishop for the photo.

Clear skies and warm winter sunshine greeted the competitors for Manx Sailing and Cruising Club’s Frostbite regatta, held at West Baldwin Reservoir on Boxing Day. The popular annual regatta, raced for the SE Quayle cup, attracted 15 sailors in 11 dinghies. Incredibly, despite the recent weather, there was not a breath of wind at 10am, an hour before the start.

Defending champion Jim Whitelegg was having none of the ‘will we/won’t we’ committee meeting and optimistically raised his sails. Sure enough a testing but sailable breeze had arisen by the start time, and the race officer set a small triangular course in the middle of the lake. Continue reading

MSR Exclusive: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, in his own words

Our quick 10 minute interview turned into a half-hour discussion with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who recently visited the island as a brand ambassador for Thomas Miller Investment. Read the published interview in the Isle of Man Examiner here.

As a special treat for MSR readers, here’s an extended cut of Knox-Johnston talking about his pioneering voyage, the ocean racing industry he helped to create and his plans to race solo again next year. 

Continue reading

Douglas inner harbour closed for maintenance next week

The Douglas inner harbour and marina area will be closed to marine traffic between Tuesday and Friday next week to allow for essential maintenance work on the flap gate.

Vessels will be unable to enter or leave the harbour through the gate from 0100 on Tuesday, December 3. Work is scheduled to be completed by 0100 on Friday, December 6.

Read Isle of Man Harbours’ Notice to Mariners here.

Eauvation wins the final race in Douglas Bay Yacht Club’s Autumn Series

Thanks to Mike McMahon for the report; don’t forget to give DBYC a ‘Like’ on their Facebook page.

Grey skies and light, shifty north east winds didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crews in the hotly contested final race of Douglas Bay Yacht Club’s Tower Insurance Autumn Series on Sunday.

The course was from Conister in Douglas bay to a GPS mark off Groudle and back. The three boats spread out across the bay, with Jason and Debbie Corlett’s Eauvation the closest inshore, Keith Lord’s ACrewed Interest in the middle and Kuba Szymanski’s Polished Manx slightly further offshore.

It was a slow beat to the Groudle mark. Eauvation reached it first and took the lead for the run back. All three boats flew spinnakers after rounding the mark and a luffing battle ensued between Eauvation and ACrewed Interest, as the latter tried to overtake on the run. Eventually ACrewed Interest managed to overtake as the wind shifted almost 100 degrees just long enough for her to overhaul Eauvation.

Line Honours went to ACrewed Interest, with Eauvation crossing just under two minutes behind and only just ahead of Polished Manx, which had caught up a great distance on the run back down the bay.

It looked as though Polished Manx might have done enough to win on handicap, but Eauvation took the win by 36 seconds from ACrewed Interest, with Polished Manx just pushed into third place by a frustrating two seconds.

Thanks to Kuba Szymanski, skipper of Polished Manx, for acting as Officer of the Day and to Tower Yacht and Motorboat Insurance for providing sponsorship and prizes. The prizes for the race will be presented at DBYC’s Christmas party on Saturday, December 7.

Results: 1, Eauvation (Jason & Debbie Corlett); 2, ACrewed Interest (Keith Lord); 3, Polished Manx (Kuba Szymanski)

MS&CC Winter Series report 24/11/13

Thanks to Ralph Kee for the report. Check the MS&CC website for the full results from the November series.

In contrast to last week’s rain, Sunday’s racing in Manx Sailing and Cruising Club’s Bourne Plaice Winter Series took place in bright sunshine and a gentle breeze.

With a fine fleet of ten dinghies launched and heading to the start line, the breeze faded to an occasional ‘waft’. Although not first off the line, Simon Pressley (Laser) made a decisive move that gave him the lead on the water at the first mark and on to the finish of the single-lap race.

With long slow races there is always a chance that a dinghy with a higher handicap might take the win on corrected time. Sure enough Jim Whitelegg (Gull), who finished seven minutes behind the first Laser, was victorious with second place going to Pressley and third to Mike Pridham (Laser Radial).

Pridham will be racing alongside Peter Whipp at next week’s World Laser Masters Championships in Oman. Best of luck to them both.

The November Series has seen some excellent close racing with the overall win going to Simon Pressley, second Ralph Kee and Jim Whitelegg in third place.

Thanks to race officer Keith Poole, John Cowell and Victoria Scales for manning the safety boat and Rob Cowell of Bourne Plaice for his continued sponsorship of the winter series.