Musto Skiff

Noble Marine Insurance sponsored MUSTO Skiff training at Wilsonian Sailing Club with Russ Clark

2nd & 3rd June at Wilsonian SC on the Medway River near Rochester.

Report by Richard Smith; Photos by Russ Clark/Serega Samus.

We met with Russ at 10am Saturday. From the forecast it was clear we set for a great day Saturday with 8-10 mph of breeze, but the possibility of no wind on Sunday. It was quickly agreed that we’d have a full days sailing Saturday with a thorough analysis on Sunday before Russ leaves at midday.

We had six Wilsonian boats and one from the south coast attending. Russ asked each of us what our objectives were from the coaching. For some, this was clearly defined. Graham Smith and Steve Tinnams were looking to increase boat speed; Graeme Oliver was working on upwind with a bit of windward heel. Neil and I have been working on our tacking. Those that know me are familiar with my tacks through almost 180 degrees, (a thing of the past – well maybe)! Lee Cullen is new to the fleet and wanted observations on all elements of MUSTO sailing. Finally, Serega was asked…”just make me good enough to win the Nationals” was his reply, perhaps we should all have cut to the chase with that one.

Before we set off, Russ went through the changing gears element of sailing the boat as the conditions were going to be between crouching to fully stretched on wire upwind. It quickly became apparent to me that if people are really putting this much effort to be at front of fleet it was no surprise that I’m in the middle.

We also discussed rig settings and found we were all in the right ballpark and checked/adjusted batten tensions on a couple of boats.

We spent three and a half hours on the water using the navigation marks for upwind/downwind and some follow the leader to improve tight control in close proximity to other boats. Russ set a short start line with the tide pushing us hard through it. We had several starts. I like to think given the circumstances of it not counting we were all pushing a bit harder than would normally do because there was always at least 2 boats over. Russ would then motor alongside one of us for a while making observations and offering advice. I was making far more kicker and cunningham adjustments than I ever previously have as the breeze changed. While the sail shape may have improved as a result, my lack of dexterity caused far too much tiller movement and bouncing the boat about, (a work in progress).

We returned ashore with our new knowledge fully tested and all of us exhausted from our sail resulting in three of us capsized on the beach, Doh.

All that was left to do was gathering the finest Wilsonian MUSTO minds to get trailer in water to bring Russ’ RIB ashore. After complete foul up with the winch to the trailer, Russ’ resigned comment “well, it’s never been in that far before”, still, no damage done time to go to pub for beer and grub.

We met at the sailing club at 9am Sunday for analysis of the previous day, together with start line and race strategies. All items were looked onto in more detail than I have ever considered before. Again, (work i…). There was a close call between Neil and Graeme at one of the leeward marks resulting in Neil wearing Graeme’s pink spinnaker, (to be fair it was a good look for him – think it came from Jacamo). This was discussed in detail and Graeme was found to be the guilty party. Ahh happy days.

Finally Russ completely scrutinised Steve Tinnams rig settings and fine-tuned them for his size, before making in his way back to the south coast.

Comments from attendees:

Steve Tinnams:  Great to have someone explain and show how rig works. Hopefully will take me forward in the Mustos at Wilsonian.

Graham Smith:  Really enjoyed working with Russ, had forgotten how important the vang adjustment is.

Graeme Oliver:  It’s changed my perspective on how to use the mainsheet to change gear.

Neil Ashby:   As per usual Russ’s methodical approach to how the boat should be working and is explained in an easy step by step control by control learning curve.

A great weekend was had. Thank you very much Russ. Thanks also to Noble Marine. Without their support the coaching may not have been possible.

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