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About SimonN

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  • Birthday 06/05/1959

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    Sydney ex London

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  1. SimonN

    A Cat World Champions 2019

    So I just got home. It all went a bit downhill for me when on day 3, I damaged my shoulder, continued sailing for the rest of the day and paid the price on day 4 when I really couldn't sail and it didn't improve. i believe the injury was caused by a change in my trapeze gear for the regatta that increased the distance from hook to handle, plus a change in handle type. Although I had used it a couple of years ago, I think the extra stretch combined with me having bulked up by 4-5kgs for the regatta simply put too much load on the shoulder. As they say in the movies "shit happens"! My feel with the foiler fleet is that the Exploders with Brewin Sails were probably the fastest in all but the lightest winds, but Mischa out sailed everybody and found something extra in the light stuff, probably due to losing 5-8kgs. Mischa was particularly good downwind. Dave Shaw sailed great for his second place. He felt once the breeze was in he had a speed advantage but that Mischa made up for that and some more by his overall boathandling, whether it was turning corners or keeping flying longer downwind without the small touchdowns most get which seem minor when there is nobody around but which loses you boat lengths against somebody who doesn't do it. In the interests of fairness, I should disclose a bias as I sail with Stevie all the time, but I think I am being fair. I think that the level of the fleet has picked up as well, probably due to a mix of more sailing and better set up as information gets out about what and how. Settings are very hard to generalise because 5-7kgs difference in weight results in needing different settings. Then there are differences in personal sailing styles. And while being super competitive on the water, the A's remain one of the friendliest fleets around. Final shout out goes to the venue and in particular, the race team. The PRO had a great reputation and you can see why - best I have ever raced under. The centre itself had a great vibe, with lots going on from introduction to watersports kids programs to 7-8 world class Moths training to the GBR youth squad training for their transition into 470's.
  2. SimonN

    Nacra 17: Kiddie Killer

    Let's add some facts to what seems to be a fair amount of ill informed BS. First, Stevie's accident happened when his foot made contact with the centerboard. It was a freak accident, unlike the N17's where people have hit the rudders.The way people are pushing "classic" A's downwind from out on the wire and the crashes that can result could potentially lead to the same issue. The big learning for us was that Stevie was probably wearing the wrong sort of footwear, namely ankle slippers made of neoprene. The neoprene got sliced through. If he had been wearing more sturdy ankle boots, he would have probably been OK. Wearing the right gear and in particular, the right protection, is part of all sports. While cyclists wear Lycra, motorbike racers wouldn't dream of not wearing leathers. Both are 2 wheels on tarmac, just the implications of an accident are different. In the same way, I wouldn't think of sailing an A without a helmet, full wetsuit and some other protection from Forward WIP. The next step we are looking at is Kevlar leggings to give cut protection. The bottom line is that at close to 30 knots on an A, if you take the same injury precautions as a Laser sailor you are mad, and there were some sailing at the recent worlds in shorts and with no helmet. I have mixed views on the foils themselves. On the rudders, there is no doubt that the T foil adds an extra item you can hit if you fall off, as i have done on the A. The problem is that L foils make the boat worse to sail, because if you make the vertical thin enough for efficiency, it flexes too much or if you make it stiff enough, the section is way too thick causing steering issues. This is why L's aren't see on the latest A's and changing from L's to T's made a big difference to the DNA's. My view is straight forward. The N17 and A are the top of the sport, sailed by adults who are capable of making informed decisions. We could become a total Nanny State and "ban" equipment or otherwise regulate what we can and cannot sail, but that would be wrong. If anything, maybe there is a need to regulate what protective gear you need to compete in a class. That's what they have done with the F50's, and we are getting towards that level of "dangerous" with these smaller foiling boats. As for the finger incidents, as already stated, they weren't caused by foiling as such, but it does seem that some would like to use them to advance their own personal prejudices.
  3. Just wondering what happened to you in the Worlds? Steve was hurt and put out of action with damage, what led to you not exiting the last races? 



    Mark D

  4. Today the Classic fleet were off first. They went out and came back in without racing. Went out again and got 2 races in. 5-8 knots seems to have been the conditions with young Andy Landy ending the day in the lead. Landy himself had a mixed day with a double figure result pushing him down. Scott Anderson won a race. The top 4 boats are 3 points apart after 3 races. WnW has all his scores in the top 10 and is in contention whenever I have seen him In the foilers, we had one race, with a second started and abandoned half way down the first run with little to no wind. In the first race, we had 5-8 knots. About 8 boats went round the top mark close, some decided it was too light to foil and another, led by Manolo, got up on foils and were launched. Manolo was never headed. Behind was a battle with Mischa recovering with a right hand flyer up the second beat and good downwind speed to come second. Dave Shaw was 3rd and Bruce Mahoney 4th. Stevie Brewin got up to 5th but got big weed on the last run to finish 5th. Leaders lapped the tail enders in a 45 minute race. Half the fleet struggled to foil while the front of the fleet foiled top to bottom.From my position, I see those struggling sailing the wrong angle to start, not building speed, stepping back too soon and heeling too much while over sheeting the sail. But what do I know? Seeing you are so keen on my results, I was 11th. Should have been top 5, but I slipped and fell off in a gybe when in 3rd and just behind Manolo. I blame the boat builder. I showed him my seniors card but he still didn't fit handrails and walking frame
  5. Not much to say really. Very light winds. I have never done an A Class race in such light conditions (and wasn't really sure what to do!). Didn't trapeze for 2 whole laps. Almost everybody didn't foil at all. I say "almost" because those that did got bitten hard. Mischa was 1st round the top mark, foiled off, gybed and came back at such an angle that he found himself at the top mark again, or at least that is how the story will get retold forever more! Really feel for him, because I have never seen anything like that and lots of smart arses say he should have gybed and gone low non foiling, but if a sailor if Mischa's quality doesn't spot it, it tells you what the conditions were like. The Classic fleet had even less win with a glass out at one point. WnW has already posted the big news of son beats father/coach, but the anticipated contenders were all within a couple of places of each other so they all have a "counter" in the bag Forecast for today isn't promising and we might not get any racing.
  6. The British Nationals are done and dusted and now we are into that strange period before it all starts to get very real. Here is my assessment. The first thing to consider is the forecast, which is suggesting we will have a fairly light worlds and currently there is little to suggest the early part will see upwind foiling. That could turn thing upside down in terms of who is favorite. The other factor is that a number of the top Exploder riders only arrived yesterday, and in particular, the top Polish guys from the Polish worlds. Expect to see them mix up the results a bit. Then there are people like Manolo who was sailing but didn't sail through the finish line in any race. In terms of boats, there seems that DNA continue with their well known product. The big visual advance is with the latest Exploder. Jakob has gone the extra mile to give it to produce a very slick product. Anybody buying a new Exploder is going to be blown away by how well it is fitted out and how slick the systems are. This takes away all the issues of how to fit a boat out and will ensure everybody has a well sorted product. Things like the low profile traveller are beautiful. Some might find the solid tramp a bit to get used to, but I like it. The good news is that if you already have a well sorted AD3, you are not going to be outclassed, but the new boats are an object of desire! Of course, the real difference is in the foils. The reality is that the Z27's are an improvement in the right hands, but we are not talking the sort of jump we saw from the 10's to 22's. They are not going to make everybody foil upwind who cannot do so at the moment. There are also mixed views as to whether they are actually easier or more difficult to use. My view is in the right hands, they are faster but mid fleet, you probably won't notice the difference enough to justify going from 22's to 27's. If you are battling at the front and can foil upwind and make gains, then you probably would change. Which brings me to another key point - upwind foiling. More people are doing it, but from what I have seen, it is still only a few who make it pay. Landy, on a classic, reported yesterday that he was gaining 300m on a beat in practice against many so called upwind foilers and this is because they sail so low. Of course, the guys who can do it properly are probably going as high or higher than the best non foilers, but many need to work on their height. At the front of the fleet, the first day showed that Stevie Brewin has probably found a new upwind mode and in breeze, is back to the sorts of speed difference we saw in Sopot. It's early days and with less wind, the results got mixed up a bit, but in "proper" conditions (13 knots +), Stevie has so far shown some real pace. What's the difference this year after the disappointment of Hervey Bay? Some of it has been due to a solid training block, but he has also worked very hard on a new sail and it really shows. Everybody who ordered a sail is very happy after the British Nationals and this is resulting in potentially a few last minute swaps to Brewin Sails before the event starts, as people are rushing to try this new sail. Stevie's new offering has a 400mm head and a boom, it carries a lot of power and shape low down at all times and has a top that is very adjustable from very full to bladed out. Of course I am biased, but where we made little progress after Sopot going into Hervey Bay with the rig, this is a big step forward. Team DNA have been out training hard over the last few days and I am not sure if they are testing anything new or simply trying to find an extra gear with current equipment. It's pretty impressive to see 8-10 of them launching and training together and clearly DNA customers are getting great on the water support. My prediction? I am not going to make one, because I am biased and do not want to jinx anybody. Finally, a word about the classic fleet. We haven't seen the "big" showdown yet, because Landy has been keeping his ammunition dry and hasn't lined up against Scott Anderson, who has been the class of the field so far. Landy and his son Andy are working hard and I suspect that if Andy overcome his youthful inexperience, we could see a great 3 way fight at the front. Having said that, the lighter winds forecast might bring a few others into contention.
  7. I am still a few days away from arriving but been keeping in touch with team mates. The new boats seem great and I am excited to sail one. Having tested Z27's already, i would say they are an evolutionary step, rather than the quantum leap we saw with either the Z10's or 22's, but improvement is improvement so it will be interesting to see this against the opposition. Upwind foiling is all about practice, practice and more practice.It needs real feel to know how to build speed while appearing to lose ground but knowing it is worth it for what you gain back once up to speed. In the end, the faster you go the higher you can point. The other problem is that the boat has to be set up perfectly, but that the settings tend to be very personal. In our training group (Stevie Brewin, Darren Bundock and myself), we all run different foil settings to suit our styles and our weight. Sometimes, half a degree on or off the rudder rake is worth 2-3 knots of boat speed, other times it seems to make no difference. I wish I could write a guide to set up, but if I did, most would say it doesn't work for them. My advise is to try to be very analytical. What is the boat's attitude, how is it behaving etc. Then think about what you need to change to improve that. WnW - I agree with you about turnout from certain countries in the classic division. I hope it is just a reaction to the additional travel that crossing the channel involves because it is clear that a lot of people consider the issues of distance and minor inconvenience very differently to how we see it in Australia.Maybe they are all snowflakes scared the weather won't be nice......
  8. As is becoming a tradition, I stick my head back into this cesspool as the A Class Worlds in Weymouth is fast approaching. I admit to being excited as I get on a plane in less than 24 hours (even if I don't get to Weymouth for another few days). Of course we are in for the now traditional battle of DNA vs Exploder. I haven't heard of any new DNA developments but rumours abound about new rudder foils and main foils for the Exploder - Z27's or will they be Z28's by the time we arrive! Solid tramps now seem to be on all new boats and the Exploders are more uniform in layout and foil position than previously having settled on the "Australian" configuration (or have they?). This year we are without Glenn Ashby and his TNZ friends, but we are still expecting a very competitive event with most of the regular suspects in attendance. Mischa has been showing good speed in Europe, but there has been little competitive sailing in Australia so we don't know if progress has been made down under. With Darren Bundock busy on Olympic coaching duties, the next best Aussie based on the last worlds is Stevie Brewin. Will he get his mojo back, because it was certainly missing in Queensland. Rumours suggest he has a new rig and maybe even a boom. Stories from Poland suggest a concerted effort and they should be on the pace, and that Dave Shaw should now be sailing for Poland seeing that he has done more A Class sailing there than at home. They have just had their nationals as they all get race ready and it turned into a really close event decided by just one point. We also need to consider Manolo (sp), Bruce Mahoney and whoever else i have forgotten. Then we need to think of the Classics, which many think will be a straight fight between Landy and Scotty Anderson but I am sure there will be others in contention particularly if we have a lighter wind event. The long range weather forecast doesn't tell us much about the worlds, but for the early arrivals, it looks like it is going to be "fresh to frightening". Being England, we could get a little of everything and conditions could have an impact on the results. But of more concern to me, temperatures in the middle of the English summer seem very similar to those we have been training in during the Australian winter. Call me soft, but the winter wetsuit is packed. So who's going, who will win, what other rumours have been heard?
  9. SimonN

    Wings on Rudders

    I have done this a number of times on Australian Flyers with success. Some of you are trying to make it too complex. It is safe to use the transom as reference point and you need to get the winglets to 90 degrees to the transom vertical. Lift the boat up high enough to get the rudders down, get a big builders set square on the transom and simply draw the line on the rudders in the right place. Then you can do the rest off the boat. There is a lot of BS written about how to set up these small winglets on non foiling boats. Here is the good news. They do not have to be really accurate to the waterline because the waterline constantly changes as you move about the boat. Think about it. Upwind you should be far more bow down than when you are going downwind. This is why simply using the transom as reference is good enough. Once you start using the big winglets like we are using on foiling boats, that is a whole different story.
  10. SimonN

    Hervey Bay A Class Worlds

    Sticking my head above the parapet as usual at the time of a worlds! To clear up a few points. All the top 6 used adjustable rudder systems, plus 8th place. Only 1, 3 and 4 could sue differential (Mischa had removed it).IMO, Mischa's sail was very full but the rig that Glenn, Pete and Blair used wasn't that full, even compared with the Brewin. It's worth noting that Glenn developed a flatter sail for Herevey Bay and when you compare that with a standard ashby, the standard sail looks full. While the Brewin and Ashby sails are rather different, I believe that the camber isn't that different. I do think the Ashby does a very good job at the bottom of keeping shape which makes it look full. For the nationals, the Team NZ guys used Z22's and "standard" rudder winglets. They swapped to Z23's and their own winglets for the worlds. Everybody that i spoke to at the front felt they weren't as quick with the new gear as they were during the nationals. I don't think many will be able to use their rudder winglets because they go to the max width allowed in the rule and there is zero margin for error. There were measurement issues with rudder winglets due to the loads placed on the platforms - at least 3 boats I know of didn't measure with the masts up but did once the mast was taken down. Differential was the obvious difference and having spoken to Glenn, it seems that when it works it is great but when it doesn't pay, it is very slow due to drag. I think he used it more than Pete and Blair and he seems to have only used it upwind.Compared with the people who have tried it before, there is an important difference in their system. In the past, people have simply reduced the lift on the windward rudder. The new system decreases the lift on the windward one as it increases the lift on the leeward one. The adjustment is done by feel with the only mark on the system being one that donated neutral. What was noticeable was the Team NZ guys were standing in a different place upwind, further back than everybody else. They were probably running more rudder lift than others. Downwind, Mischa was probably the fastest. I believe that while we all like to focus on equipment, the finishing order just about reflects how well the people sailed. Glenn was pretty unbelievable. The closeness between 3rd and 5th (6.5 points) shows there was little between Pete, Blair and Bundy. Youth won out as both Pete and Blair were very quick around the boat, and Pete would have done significantly better if he hadn't crashed as much. Bundy was always mixing it with those guys. The good news for everybody in the class is that while the Team, NZ guys did a lot of development, development isn't what won it. If you have a current boat, you can get on the pace. The DNA looked competitive with their new T foil rudders (why did it take them so long!). If you have an exploder with Z22's and dagger rudders, you probably wouldn't go updating anything at the moment. Finally, I would add my voice to those who have praised the organisers. I have been to a lot of world championships in a wider range of classes and I cannot think of any that were better organised. While sailors take good on the water organisation for granted, the way this event was organised, from the assistance on the beach to the bar, food, coffee and boat park set up, plus the support from local people and businesses was exceptional. I wasn't going to attend, because I wasn't ready and my boat was more like an obstruction than a race boat, but friends "forced" me to go and I am so pleased I did. It was the worst regatta sailing wise for me, but to be with such a great bunch of people at a great venue with out of this world organisation was a real pleasure. Now I can head back to hibernation until the next major event.
  11. SimonN

    A-Cat Style Rig on foiling Moth

    It's been a long time since I have posted, but this subject is close to my heart as I have looked at A Class rigs for Moths and Moth rigs for A's. While some of what is being said is correct, the biggest problem most have when considering these "swaps" is they slavishly hang on to some element of the original rig and try to make it work with the new one. For instance, Phil is considering tight leach and vang for an A Class rig on a Moth. This will not work for a number of reasons and you do not need it. To make an A rig work on a Moth, you need to adopt every aspect of the A rig. Consider an A vs a Moth. The A is now the faster boat through the water. Put Pete Burling or Nathan Outteridge on both and they will be higher and faster on the A upwind, and about the same speed but lower downwind. I believe this because that is what they say, but also because Adam May has been sailing his A against one of the top UK Moths and beats him downwind even with gybes. The point of this is not to boast, but to show that the speeds we are talking about are comparable and that you can go that fast without a super tight leach achieved via a vang. Now for the real problem. You need every aspect of the "borrowed" rig to work properly, or else it is pointless and this is where previous attempts fall down. For instance, you cannot take a short A Class mast section and have any hope of is working because as it is shorter, it becomes way too stiff. Even cutting 730mm off a standard A Class mast makes it way too stiff for an A, so 2 plus metres would create a tree trunk which wouldn't bend at all. Get the sail and mast combo working correctly with the right amount of flex in the mast you won't get the effect Phil mentions above, with the sail getting fuller when you ease the sheet. When I ease the sheet on my A, the leach opens and the sail stays as near as the same fullness throughout that it makes no difference. This lowers the centre of effort of the rig in a way the Moths cannot, although the faster you foil upwind, the harder you need to pull on the mainsheet - it's rather counter intuitive. It's a very well developed combination of mast flex, sail shape through both seam and luff shaping plus batten layout. When right these rigs are superb, when wrong they are a pig. The other big issue with these rig swaps is that nobody is going to make it work first time. You won't get the mast right and you won't get the sail right. I discussed doing a Moth style rig with Amac and he said it would need multiple mast iterations to find the right mast, plus even more sail iterations. When we tried a "short" rig for the A, we went through three masts and 5 sail iterations to find something that really worked and even then we didn't have it right enough for serious contenders to use in a major championship. The A Class type rigs I have seen on Moths simply look wrong and undeveloped, with the masts too stiff and big a section. The real problem is that in both classes, the rigs are very highly developed and work very well, and that is what you are trying to improve on. You won't make that improvement without lots of development and that takes time and money. I struggle to see who would have the time, money and skills to do it. Do I think rig swaps between the A and Moth could be made to work? With the Moth rig on an A, I don't believe it would work because the super tight leach makes it very hard for the sailor to control the height of the centre of effort in the rig, which is an essential part of ride height control on an A. But an A rig on a Moth might have potential. It would need a very different approach and way of sailing the boat. There are real problems with how you would sheet the sail, but the answer isn't a vang. You don't need a big curved track as the A's can get away with a straight track only 800mm long. But as mentioned above, it would take a lot of development and probably need a different way of sailing the boat. In short, I wouldn't consider trying this unless you have money, world class sailors, a sailmaker and mast maker committed to the project and lots and lots of time. Finally, to bananentiger, while the idea might seem attractive, there are problems you haven't considered. For instance, you would not want to leave your wing mast up overnight because of the windage. On A's, we have to tie the boats down very securely. At the recent worlds, when high winds were forecast, people were dropping their masts for safety. With a Moth, there is no way you want that mast up for any length of time ashore unless the wind is light to moderate. The other problem you will face is that the current boats work really well. Foiling is far easier than it used to be. Most of that is in the foils and foil controls, but it is also in the whole package. Go with a rig that doesn't work so well and you will make sailing the boat a lot harder.
  12. SimonN

    Morning Cloud III

    Although I cannot shed light on the questions asked above, I crossed the Channel the night Morning Cloud went down, although it was by ferry. We left Calais at about 11.00pm and by the time we got to Dover, conditions were so bad we couldn't get into port and we had to wait outside for about 3 hours. I have never seen conditions at sea like that and doubt I ever will again. We may or may not have been hit by freak waves, but the ferry was tossed about like a rag doll at times and we had some extreme amounts of heel at times, well over 45 degrees. Cars down below, which were chained in place, moved but luckily not by significant amounts, although enough to do damage. Almost everybody on board was sick. The crew told us that if they had known how bad the conditions were, they would never have left Calais, which supports the view that Morning Cloud didn't have much of an idea of what they were heading into. When I heard about the loss, it wasn't a surprise, as I wouldn't like to have been caught out in anything in the conditions we experienced.
  13. SimonN

    Wanted Missing VOR Skipper

    I wasn't going to post again, but I wanted to address this because it shows the problem with the internet. I read you post, thought it was probably the best thing you had posted for a long time even if we didn't agree on all issues. I did not realise I needed to respond in any way, because we had both presented our views and it was there for all to see. Some might think otherwise, but I see no point in tit for tat arguments when the views expressed speak for themselves. I certainly wan't ignoring your comment. Just shows how easy it is to interpret what somebody does on a forum incorrectly. I heard there was more than one complaint, but have no other details. My final comment on this remains about how dismissive some people are about this. A complaint or maybe more than 1 was made. A highly respected independent assessor investigated the incident and he recommended that Witty should be charged with a rule 69 offence. If this was nothing, why has it made it passed the first step? Others clearly think there is a case to answer and that there is something problematic. Let's see where it goes from here.
  14. SimonN

    Wanted Missing VOR Skipper

    Despite making it clear in my profile that I now sail an A Class cat, which should clearly identify me, some people have been giving Simon Nearn, a well known 18' skiff sailor, grief for my views. While I know Simon Nearn and have the pleasure of sailing against him in a number of classes, I want to make it clear that I am not him and that my views do not represent his views in any way (I don't actually know his view on this subject). I find this particularly annoying because I make no attempt to hide my identity by providing my full history, which is different to Simon Nearn's, yet some seem to get so hot under the collar that they don't bother reading and jump to conclusions. This is a shame because I have now felt obliged to change my profile details and remove mention of past sailing which I am proud of. The irony is that I want people to know who I am yet by now removing detail from my profile, it makes it less likely people will be able to identify me.
  15. SimonN

    Wanted Missing VOR Skipper

    Can you explain why that is in any way sexual harassment? There is absolutely nothing wrong with what they were saying. They were making a joke about something that everybody would know was not going to happen. If Charles had done a Trump and said he was going down to his bunk to grab her .......... that would have been a different matter. But instead, they were having a laugh about something that clearly was not going to happen. It could only be offensive if anybody would believe that it was going to happen and that Carolijn wanted it to happen. Trust me on this. It was not going to happen and Carolijn is not interested in Charles!