reasons why I chose to race a MUSTO Skiff: by Ben Schooling
1. I’d been sailing the RS800 for 8 consecutive seasons
with 3 different crew / helm partnerships and I was
basically looking for a new challenge. I was struggling
to train regularly (if at all) with my crew George Kingsnorth
and wanted to do more sailing. I might add the RS800
is still a great class and I’ve returned to compete
at the Nationals and Garda the last couple of years
and aim to continue to do so.
2. A couple of my best mates (Jamie Hilton and Ian Martin)
had moved into the MUSTO and had been racing for a couple
of seasons, really enjoying it and speaking very highly
of it. They really sold the boat and class as whole
3. One of my concerns was my weight (well size in general)
at 74kgs and 5’10 I didn’t think I would be man enough
to swing it down in 20kts! The MUSTO has a reputation
for being a bit of a handful and my only real exposure
to the class was big Dave Poston Wed night racing at
Datchet! The appeal of “bulking up” and try and get
to 80kgs for the 2012 Worlds was also an appeal for
4. The flexibility of a single hander also really appealed.
I can be from dinghy park to water in 20 min, less if
I leave the kite rigged but we don’t do that anymore
since the mice at Datchet like to make their nests out
of spinnakers! Even a 1 hour sailing session on your
own is worth it, 10 short upwind/downwind legs with
5 tacks and gybes really hones the skills.
5. We’re lucky to have a fantastic training ethic at
our club, “Team Datchet” was established in the run
up to the 2012 Worlds at Weymouth where a group email
(and now whatsapp group) ensures that we synchronised
our training and got all available boats on the water
at the same time. We now have 14 skiffs having pulled
people from as far afield as Whitstable (Serega) and
Bristol (Jason) based on the reputation of the training.
Datchet wouldn’t be my first choice of training venue
but on the plus side we can sail in pretty much any
6. I guess it is human nature wanting to broaden your
skill set and master new techniques and the MUSTO Skiff
certainly provides the opportunity to do that! The fleet
is sailed by like minded individuals who relish the
physical challenge whilst dealing the strategic battle
of close one design racing. There is a high level of
camaraderie in the fleet with a mutual respect for your
7. The class is fortunate to have a very dedicated committee
and builder with a vested interest in the promotion
and development of the class. No other fleet I’m aware
of has a demo boat for giving potential new members
a taster session in the boat before they buy. The class
website has a very professional layout and structure
which demonstrates the outlook of the fleet.
8. The appeal and popularity of the boat means the resale
value is very high. Although the outlay to join the
class can be high, it can be a savvy investment with
well looked after 2nd hand boats being like gold-dust
and fetching a high price when they do become available.
9. The ISAF status of the class offers opportunities
to race overseas and meet people of wide nationalities
which is great fun. It also means sailing at some fantastic
venues, over the last 3 years I’ve competed in France,
Austria, Slovenia, Scotland and Australia and will add
Germany and Italy to the list in the year ahead.
10. The high build quality means that maintenance is
low so limited leisure time is spent doing boat work
… we just go sailing!