Musto Skiff Event 9 Dec 2006
Many RCYC members and friends, viewing from the balcony, watched the racing, which was held right outside the club, enjoying a great spectacle. Despite the poor weather during the week, Saturday produced a Force 3 westerly breeze with glorious sunshine all day.
Thirteen boats took part, many representing charities and a sweep stake in the clubhouse, on each race, generated over £600 for these benefactors. To add to the fun, each of the single handers had to play their Joker, in the form of taking on board for one race a Corinthian Otter (youth member) earning a bonus of 50% extra points, for this reason a high points scoring system had to be used, with 13 points being awarded for first place etc.
The event was won conclusively by Richard Stenhouse the current world champion and for his joker race, Deborah Shanahan the 2007 Otter Commodore was on board. Ian Trotter was 2nd and Dan Dixon 3rd. Richard’s charity was the RNLI, who brought their ILB Brandy Hole on to the pontoon for everyone to see.
A Joker’s Tale
“I want one! That was so much fun!”
The Musto Skiff just blew me away, the pace and the simplicity of the boat at first glance was incredible.
I’m used to sailing a Laser and before last weekend I thought they were fast – after the “joy ride” in the skiff I realised that boats only get better as you get older. My tacking experience was awkward; being one of the older and bigger ‘Jokers’ it was hard for me to squeeze under the boom, especially when trying to avoid the set of blocks just behind my head. The windward mark was interesting due to boats flying in from all directions at high speed (not to mention the highly competitive level of sailing) it was a hard job to find a good gap round the mark.
Once round the mark the Skiff seemed to grow wings as the huge spinnaker was hoisted and the nose took flight; the water on either side seemed to part. I found gybing the hardest part due to the difficulty of sliding underneath the boom and then pulling in the spinnaker quickly without causing too many problems for my helm, whose job was made all the worse by having me on board.
Our two laps were over and we had finished. I was blown away and the first thing I said was “I want one! That was so much fun!”, but after discovering the price of a Skiff I realised the bank of mum & dad might not be too easily persuaded to indulge me!
The Winning Joker reports…
The Burnham Icicle. Well what can I say? – fun for all. It raised lots of money for charity and got all the kids off their parents hands … for a while at least! While the parents and club members sat in the club house with prime views of the racing, the chosen Otters sat on the Otter Spotters staring at the skiffs, wondering how we were going to manage to get under that small gap beneath the sail. Nevertheless we all managed it and had a wonderful experience.
Once on board, there was no time for nerves as we quickly found we weren’t just passengers and had to help with timing and tactics. My helm Richard kept asking me why I hadn’t brought my harness but the thought of being suspended above the water in charge of the boat was something that I didn’t want to think about. However, once I had a go at helming I wished I had brought my harness!
Overall, the day was a great success, it was an exhilarating feeling as the boats flew along the water, sometimes reaching up to 20 knots! A common phrase once on shore was ” I want one.” Shortly followed by ” What’s wrong with the boat you have?”
Thanks, guys, for giving us that opportunity, we all had a brilliant time!
From Safety to Skiff
After providing safety cover from an Otter Spotter and watching the incredible Musto Skiff helms sail around the course set in front of the Corinthian, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to helm a Skiff by Paul Clements, a fantastic opportunity as ‘Otter Jokers’ only got to sit at the front and be sailed around.
I’ve been sailing for eight years (Cadets & 420’s) and thought that my trapezing experience would mean that sailing a boat that weighed about the same as many Cadets on the circuit would be relatively easy – but this was not the case!
The Skiffs are very unstable and difficult to control. After several capsizes I was saved by Paul and he showed me how to control the beast with the 7ft carbon fibre tiller extension, an interesting difficulty on its own! Paul managed to show me some of the manoeuvres and skills needed around the boat and quite frankly I was stunned at just how much goes into keeping the Skiff under control.
My respect to the amazing sailors that manage to hold on to the monster that is the Musto Skiff – an absolutely incredible craft to watch, an awesome experience to sail (when I managed to keep it upright!) and a fun tale to tell.