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2014 NSW Laser States

17 February, 2014 (12:11) | Race reports, news | By: spoonboy

It’s been possibly 12 years since I last competed in a Laser regatta, so I perhaps should be so surprised to wake up Monday morning feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck! I entered the 2014 NSW Laser states back in November, full of high ambitions of training days on and off the water that seemed to vanish into weekends spent house hunting, working, or well…. Christmas. So when February finally rolled ’round I wasn’t sure if I was keen on a windy regatta, for my increased heft, or light, for my lack of fitness. The Weather forecast was looking a bit confused, but in the end we ended up with both.

This years NSW laser states saw around 60 boats turn up to Georges River Sailing Club on Botany bay, spread across 4.7, Radials and Lasers fairly evenly. While a little smaller than I remember it being, it is still possibly one of the largest one design fleets around, and the state titles and opportunity to compete against a bit of a right skew on the Laser talent pool. it has been over 12 years though since I’ve competed at this level and with the only familar face that of Race Officer Col Chidgey, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from either the fleet or myself.

I love sailing at Botany bay. Rigging in the Sandy GRSC carpark; not so much...

Day 1

Light choppy conditions and a competitive fleet really punished my lack of time on water over the years as I quickly found myself buried off the starting line. My only saving grace a nice turn off speed of the wind and the odd general recall to help with the starting practice. The start of a Laser race has always been a place to sort the weed for the chaff and with general recalls across all three classes, it was clear nothing had changed.

Even though the Standard rigs were dominated by 3 main players, the fleet as a whole was pretty tight. From the results, it looks like the level of racing in the 4.7′s and radials were no different. By the end of the day, a sizeable chunk of the 4.7 fleet were within spitting distance of a podium! Competing breeze patterns and a strong run out tide kept everyone on their toes and left the race committee scrambling to move marks between races.

As for me? well By the third race I had found my rhythm, consolidating a good first windward to pick up a 3rd place, a little pick me up for the day with stronger winds on the forecast for tomorrow. It was good to be racing at that level again though; a laser fleet can be very civilised as everyone just goes about their business.

Day 2

Honking Nor’Easters and a run out tide seem to be a trade mark of Botany Bay Sailing. Arriving at the club in the morning with a moderate breeze already and high temps forecast for western Sydney, it seemed inevitable that we were in for another trade mark day.

Even without the nerves I had from day one, my starts were still a little on the ordinary side leaving me working hard just to stay in touch up the first work. Again, time off the water was proving my undoing taking a couple of races to get used to the sort of short steep chop you definitely don’t get around western Sydney Harbour. Working hard off the breeze was once again my saviour allowing me to reel in what was really some lack lustre first works.

By the last race of the day, the run out tide had the poor committee boat folks side on to a hefty nor’easter leaving everyone’s legs burning while we worked through the chop. repeating a pattern I had started the day earlier, it took me till this last race to find my groove, either that or I was channeling Steve Bradbury. Sean Atherton had demonstrated quite clearly by that point, that he owned that finishers bullet no matter the wind conditions, but it was nice to take home a 2nd for the last one.

4th overall for the regatta was well above my hopes of a top third and more than I was expecting against what was clearly a well honed fleet. It may be 12 years since my last Laser regatta but it’s been 15 since I last won a cube and while I didn’t get one this time, one place short had the what if’s creeping in before I’d even left the carpark. Fellow Dobroyd Sailor Bronwyn Mitchell did well for herself as well taking home top women and 7th outright in the 4.7 fleet, a result she was happy with as preperation for her Australian Masters campaign barely two weeks later.

Racing against a pretty hot Laser fleet was just good solid fun, and it was great to stretch my legs again on what was previously one of my favourite places to sail. But I could barely move by the end of it leaving me wondering how I manged as a young(er) buck…

…didn’t stop me checking out the rest of this years regatta schedule. Maybe I should work on that fitness first ;)

Happy Trails!



Standard Fleet
1st Synergy, Sean Atherton
2nd Free Bird, Marcus Whitley
3rd Peximus, Brent Morris
4th Shark Infested Custard, Craig Armour (DAC/BSC)

Radial Fleet
1st Infinity, Finn Alexander
2nd Eric Weeber, Nicholas Connor
3rd Lambchop, Vanessa Dudley

4.7 Fleet
1st Gotta go, Blake Selley
2nd Alchemist, Peter Charlton
3rd Unsinkable II, Jordan Makin
7th Equilibrium, Bronwyn Mitchell (DAC)

Full results here!

Cycling Addiction?

20 December, 2013 (07:34) | Stuff | By: spoonboy

A blast from the past! I put this together a few years ago based on a drug addiction pamphlet and stumbled upon it in the depths of my facebook account recently. It was scary how applicable it was at the time! I think the drug pamphlet suggested if you had 10 or more then you should seek help. When I first posted, I could directly relate to 19 and probably with some argument, a little more.

I’m proud to say, I think I’m now a recovering bicycle user though I seem to be collecting boats again, which is part of the reason I took up cycling in the first place! Enjoy….

Cycling Addiction?

* Do you ever ride alone?

* Have you ever substituted one ride for another, thinking that one particular ride was the problem?

* Do you regularly go cycling when you wake up or when you go to bed?

* Have you ever gone on a ride to overcome the effects of another?

* Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of you cycling?

* Have you ever ridden without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?

* Has your job or school performance ever suffered from the effects of your cycling?

* Have you ever been arrested as a result of cycling?

* Have you ever lied about what or how much you ride?

* Do you put the purchase of bikes ahead of your financial responsibilities?

* Have you ever tried to stop or control your cycling?

* Have you ever been in a jail, hospital, or rehabilitation center because of your cycling?

* Does cycling interfere with your sleeping or eating?

* Does the thought of not riding terrify you?

* Do you feel it is impossible for you to live without cycling?

* Do you ever question your own sanity?

* Is your cycling making life at home unhappy?

* Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without cycling?

* Have you ever felt defensive, guilty, or ashamed about your cycling?

* Do you think a lot about cycling?

* Have you had irrational or indefinable fears?

* Has cycling affected your sexual relationships?

* Have you ever gone on a ride you didn’t prefer?

* Have you ever gone cycling because of emotional pain or stress?

* Do you continue to ride despite negative consequences?

* Do you think you might have a cycling problem?

(Adapted from drug addiction questionnaire)

Happy Trails!


Tab A into Slot B…

20 June, 2013 (09:48) | Stuff, news | By: spoonboy

They say that owning a boat is like a big hole in the water you tip money into. I disagree, at least about the hole part but definitely every “little” job has been met with a smile and a “while you’re doing that…” style comment. Though the defect list is slowly being ticked off.

Last week it was the rig. With a desire for a VHF ariel and the need to fix the electrics up the mast, it was time to pull the rig out. The intent here was to cover off a number of issues, from leaking chain plates to suspect fittings and rig tune. I also took the opportunity to refit a spinnaker pole track, paint the rig, and fit provisions for, but not install, mast head kite halyards. Bright and early last Saturday I was back out to woolwhich dock for the refit.

Completely different boat come sunday! felt much better out on the water though how much of that was due to the cleaned bottom I’m not sure. which of course leads me to highlight our 2nd place for Sunday. Never mind our sand bagging handicap :) But thanks very much to both Adam Ross marine service and Tempo Spars for their work. Very happy and great service. Other riggers and shipwrights have made me feel like a 2nd class citizen but these guys have been nothing but very helpful.

Work hasn’t stopped there. Currently working with dad to rework the electrics. I’m starting with this:

Electrical Mud

And hopefully ending up with something a little more glamorous. I think Dad’s excited to sink his teeth into it, and well, the current electrics have much to be desired (steel tacks to secure figure 8 cable anyone?) Had a short the other day, tried chasing it but gave up and just yanked the cable so no stereo or rear cabin light for the moment. I’ve also nearly finished repainting some of the floor boards so will post those shortly, hopefully by sunday :) The rest of the interior will come later…

Spoonie out…


…So do you come here often!?

22 October, 2012 (13:46) | Stuff, news | By: Spoonie

I’ve logged in for the first time in a long while only to discover a series of comments and private messages! Every now and then a message would pop on facebook or via email so while my career has consumed more of my time than I hoped, at least I’m getting to live vicariously through the adventures of others. Throw in the Call ins and I’m still at least trying hard to not to let go of the dream…

…So I bought a boat, well technically 3. nearly a year a go I bought another Laser as a test run to see with my pining for the ocean was real. Didn’t take long before I as back into the pointy end of the fleet and the scouring through the boat classifieds began. And now my day dreaming has taken an extra dimension.

Reflecting on this, I’ve decided to update my blog. I know right! but it’s time it reflected more about all my grand adventures and less about just bike related stuff. One thing I noticed when I started cycling and Ultra’s, was how much I had learned previously through other sports and interests, directly related to what I was doing on the bike. As I’m exploring and re-exploring other areas now, I’m finding the opposite is also true. I actually find this really cool, how certain fundamental things apply across such broad disciplines…

…Anyway, I have no guarantee I’ll post any more regularly than I already have in the last two years, but certainly hope too. In the mean time, expect a re-jig/clean up of the lay out a little ;)

Happy Trails! (maybe I should change this sign off?)



22 October, 2012 (11:06) | Stuff | By: Spoonie



All mine! Mua ha ha haaa....

Well a bit late. The deed was done nearly 3 months ago now. Since then it’s been weekends covered in epoxy resin and sikaflex while I re-fit her. She’s just about ready now (waiting on a new boom, vang & reefing system from Sydney Rigging), is now covered in excess sealant and gluey finger prints (ie needs a repaint) but will last till the next winter looking a bit ugly :)

I have some long term plans: fit a wire forestay furler, ideas on sails, masthead kite halyards and short little prodder for a top down Kite furler, but till then she’ll do just nicely ’round the cans on twilights and general pottering around the harbour and inshore coastal stuff…

I’m not sure it’ll cut the mustard for Cat 2+ stuff (though, am tempted to talk to the designer and see what the gap is and if we can close it out) but should be able to get it to Cat 3 short handed racing. In the mean time while I live out my vision, I’ll hopefully be seen around the (beer) cans at Balmain Twilights, and perhaps the odd Super 30 race up the harbour.

Smiles all round ;)