Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fantastic Rio

Must admit I didn't really get into the BBC's dedicated stream for the sailing until the medal race week so missed a lot from week one but what I saw was fantastic. Races with skill, drama, twists and turns and plenty of story to look back on:

  • Annalise Murphy winning a medal after just missing out in 2012
  • The Australians and Croatians battling it out in the pre-start and across the course in the Lasers
  • The Australians battling it out again, this time with the Greeks for the 470s
  • The Australians and Greeks in the 470s almost falling overboard as they trapezed out as far as they could
  • The Americans getting their first sailing medal for many years in the Finns
  • .... but agonisingly crashing out of the medals in the woman's 470s by taking the wrong side of the course on the last downwind leg
  • Plus of course two golds and a silver for Team GB (yay!)

I just about managed to see Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark get their gold medal as was streaming it to my phone while on train so big gaps but saw the celebratory sail to the beach to see friends and family (ah, bless).

But the best story of all was of course that of Argentina double handed Nacra 17 helmed by 54 year old Santiago Lange who'd battled lung cancer the previous year, was across the line early and had to take a penalty in an tense race. But he and Cecilia Carranza Saroli fought back and got the gold by a single point. Bravo! It was great to see him celebrate and watch his grown up kids (also competitors) swim out to greet him. 

There should be more sailing like this on the BBC!

What was your favourite memory?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I want to be in Rio

I want to be back in Rio, to stand again on Sugarloaf Mountain, to go for a swim again on Ipanema Beach and of course to watch the Olympic sailing.

Two fantastic medal races already this afternoon, starting first with the women's Laser with a Brit winning the race but no medals:
Then the men's and a dramatic battle between Australia and Croatia pre-start:
... resulting in another Australian called Tom winning gold:
Fantastic stuff!

Go Team GB!

... like this (from the fab BBC feed):

Update: this Yachts and Yachting post sums up the day's races perfectly

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Brazil Job

Go Team GB's sailors!!

(via The Final Beat)

Alas, no trips to see the sailing this Olympics.... bit further to travel than Weymouth.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Messing about in a boat

It's art, of course.

To be precise this is the installation "Second Movement (2016)" by Iceland artist Ragnar Kjartansson, part of an exhibition of his work at the Barbican.

It involves "two women in quintessential Edwardian costume rowing a boat and embracing in a never-ending kiss". This performance "will take place on the Barbican Lakeside every Saturday and Sunday, between 1–4pm, weather permitting".

The title relates to the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto no 21, and is said to represent a gentleness to contrast against the harsh bare concrete of the Barbican. Though another reviewer saw connections with Monet and waterlilies or even Courbet.

However, it made me think about The Wind in the Willows.

From what I gather it is the most understandable and accessible part of the exhibition so I decided that was enough art for one afternoon and headed home.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Shakespeare and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

I've posted before on theories about how Shakespeare learnt to be so accurate in his sailing language - such as at the start of The Tempest.

Could he be found in the taverns of London buying the ship's master a drink in exchange for a yarn or did he go to sea himself?

No doubt it will be an argument that will run and run and it was picked up during this fascinating Prom interval talk on the subject with a panel that included none other than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Well worth a listen to if you can.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

London welcomes the Clipper fleet home

Back in 2013 I was on the banks of the Thames watching the Clipper fleet head out to undertake a circumnavigation.

In those three years those yachts, raced by a non-professional crew, have been round the world not once but twice.

It does make me wonder what I've done in that time in comparison! A big congratulations to all those that have been involved in any leg.

It is always impressive to see Tower Bridge lift to allow a fleet of 70 foot racing yachts to sail by the Tower of London, but it was clearly much more special for friends and family of crew:

It's fair to say that lots of waving was going on:

Then they headed off the prize giving ceremonies and I headed off on my bike for this year's London's Free Cycle event.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

RIB blasting earworm music

Last weekend I joined Solent RIB Charter for a spot of America's Cup World Series watching.

They're based in Lymington so to get over to Portsmouth there was a woosh down the Solent at a fab 38 knots.

It was an absolute blast but needed a rocking sound track. But thanks to Earworm Radio (TM) I was able to tune into the track The City by The 1975 (above).

der der der.... "in the city" der der der dum

Or something like that.

The return to Lymington was meant to be a wet wind against tide affair but Bruce and Hannah from Solent RIB Charter were good enough to drop me off at Gunwharf Quay along with a host of other ACWS boats for the fast train back to London.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sassi celeb watches at the ACWS!!!

Hi Guys!

OMG, is JP like totally USELESS!! Take this America's Cup race thing last weekend. I mean, first up he didn't bring ANY Pimms or bubbly! Huh!

Then he kept taking pictures of totally the wrong thing! Like above - ok, there was this Spithill fella but look whats behind!! Top tip - what are the TV camera's focusing on guys?

Yes, it was her highness herself, Kate, with Will too!! O.M.G!! But what do I see in JP's stack of photos but just a couple of pics of the back of her head:

Of course we're not just talking Kate and Wills, there was also, get this, JODIE KIDD:
Holy cow I love that woman!

What a day!

Luv ya!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

America's Cup World Series: at the start

When watching racing out on the water one key question is where to hang around. There's always the problem that whatever position you chose you'll only see part of the race close up and the rest of time the boats will be zooming away some distance off.

We spent the whole of the ACWS on Sunday at the start, which was probably the best choice, but not necessarily because of the racing.

Yes, we could see the start well (above) but the best bit was the boats were really close for quite some time and at least partly when not racing the crew could be seen interacting, maybe talking through what was going right or wrong:

Pre-race they didn't have to keep to the course so really came quite close, with AC45s going either side of our RIB.
As the clock counted down to the next start, focus returned and they headed away towards the next race:

Monday, July 25, 2016

America's Cup World Series: the Competition

So how did the competitors in America's Cup World Series (ACWS) compare since its last visit to Portsmouth?

Last year it was Team New Zealand that impressed, but this time it felt more like a two-boat race between Jimmy Spithill (above) and Ben Ainslie (see yesterday's post).
Dean Barker's SoftBank had improved while Team New Zealand slipped back. After racing, TNZ was one of the first to head back to base rather than doing a few more celebratory sail-bys, as were Oracle and BAR:
At the back there tended to be Groupama and Artemis:
In each race the first to the first mark also won the race, with no changes in the leader and the second place boat always playing catch-up.

Conditions were good, with enough breeze to get all teams up on their foils.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

America's Cup World Series Portsmouth

In the pre-race warm up period it was clear who was the crowd's favourite, as could be heard from the cheers that followed every sail-by from Ben Ainslie Racing.

Sir Ben himself seemed pensive, unless he'd been kept awake by the cries of his new born daughter:
But he totally nailed the first race start, streaking on a broad-reach towards the first mark:
The first race must have been the crowd's favourite, with Sir Ben heading back down from the upwind mark as the others continued to tack up to it:
The first win went his way, but there were two more race to come, and on Super Sunday there were double points up on offer.

The next two starts were won convincingly by Oracle, but Sir Ben was able to keep in touch, grabbing second place both times.

It was enough to win the Portsmouth event and put Ben Ainslie Racing on top!

Hurrrah!! Time to open that champagne!!

Great fun day out on the water.... more to come.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More traditional boats from Henley-on-Thames

Apparently the last post was wrong in that these photos from Henley-on-Thames last weekend were from the "Thames traditional boat festival" not "classic".

But is the previously posted MTB 102 (above) really traditional given it was a prototype? Or how about this amphibious truck?
I suppose this working boat fits more with the term traditional rather than classic:
There was a lot of waving going on as can be seen above and below:
I suspect it was for the crew of the Windsor Belle not me.

However these are both traditional and classic:

 The Gloriana is of course in a class of its own:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Classic Boats At Henley-on-Thames

There were a lot of very well maintained, very shiny, mahogany classic motor boats on display at Henley-on-Thames this weekend.

However as you can see above you didn't need an engine to have something big enough for the classic man and dog pairing.
It was warm summer's day and the best way to see the boats was definitely out on the water (above and below) on the triple expansion steam-powered Windsor Belle together with a cool drink, smoked salmon sandwiches and strawberries with cream:
To be honest there are only so many classic motor boats you can see at one time, even if some of them were also "Little Ships", but it was a pleasant day out and I'd never visited Henley before:
There was also a very nice ice cream but that was eaten much too quickly for a photo.

Monday, July 11, 2016

London's navy spotted out on manoeuvres

Spotted on the Thames recently was MTB 102 (as posted on earlier), heading upriver, no doubt to guard against an invasion of London from those crazy UKIP brigades.

Ok, maybe it was going to some classic boat festival, but apparently 34% of Londoners want either independence or an assembly similar to that in Scotland.

And London already has a light cruiser capable of hitting anything that were to cross the M25 orbital motorway:
It must be admitted that HMS Belfast might not have the most up to date electronic systems but its a start!