Jonathan’s Blog 16th May

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My week started with a blast from the past. Ed Botterell of Hood Canada, my old boss from 1972 emailed with his latest sailing news. Ed who is in his 80’s and still going strong, selling sails for Robbie Doyle also used to work for Hood Sails. Robbie and I used to meet up at the annual Hood seminar held in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Robbie was a great sailor back then and still is of course but now he is global.
Reading Ed’s email started me thinking back to half forgotten meetings with all sorts of people including Bruce Kirby who was designing International 14’s. Bruce told me about the Laser which he said he designed literally on the back of a cigarette packet. The Laser went on to become an enormous success. There are so may competitions and fleets sailing the Laser all over the world. We in wot-tac have been sponsoring a number of Laser sailors and next month we shall be launching in Australia and New Zealand for the start of their season. If there are any Laser sailor out there down under please get in touch. I did have a Laser which I club raced but switched to the 470 which I raced with more success.
Ed is still racing competitively off-shore and is going to put the Wottac through its paces (watch this space for results). Last week must have been catch up time because old friends Adrian Jardine and Stuart Jardine have both been in touch. Stuart is racing XOD’s and Adrian racing Folk Boats and they are both using the wot-tac and I am looking forward to their feedback.
Barry Davies another old friend called into JKA Sailmakers the other day. Barry very successfully owned and raced lots of different boats including a Swan 36 Hoodwinker and a Somersault, a customised Rob Humphries MGRS34. Barry was the first customer that gave me a full inventory of sails to make for Somersault, to race in the ISORA series that took a dive through the nineties but happily it seems to be gaining in popularity again and the second ISORA race is 28th May starting from Pwllheli to Wicklow.
I went Dragon racing on Saturday, crewing for old friends Jamie Peters and Dave Cummings. We have sailed various boats together and Dave and I owned a 1720 between us. Dragon sailing is great fun, but very hard work, weather a bit gusty and wet but ideal for us. We got a cracking start in our Dragon in the first race and led pretty much from start to finish although we were pushed by Nick Jordan in his new Dragon “Zanuk” which is new to the Abersoch fleet and he had some great bursts of speed. The wot-tac came in really handy for predicting the start line bias at the start of the race. I still amazed at how easy and simple it is to use. All I had to do was dial the true wind direction into the wot-tac and then read off the direction of the wind angles and the start line bias. Once you’ve mastered how the principle of the wot-tac works then you can see how it easy it can be to help calculate the course for any sailing race. In the second race there was much deliberation on the line eventually we went for the shortest distance and Wottac predicted a starboard gybe to the wind basically middle of the line with spinnaker up., , Patrick in his Dragon “Amazon” at the leeward end with white sails beat us to the mark, we gybed away in our Dragon onto port gybe from the mark still flying the spinnaker and easing into the lead, at the end of the leg dropped the kite and put an 18”tear in it, but still maintained our lead on the beat and on the next run we flew the holed kite and surprisingly no further damage. We won both races in our Dragon, a really great result very pleased for Jimmie and Dave. Barry Davies was out with his son George and going great guns in Atlanta, just a little bump with “Secrets”, Colin Brereton in his stunning Dragon Gitane with wooden decks, had a little contretemps rounding a mark on Sunday got a bang on the head and left him KOD for a while. It’s very close racing in these Dragons. Hope Colin recovered ok but I believe the boom has a dent in it now. On the whole good racing with lots of fun and enthusiasm. It’s what one design racing is all about. Abersoch is looking good for the Dragon’s Edinburgh Cup in July. Rob Riddell is expecting 35 to 40 Dragons, we know several Dragons are coming from Ireland.
Great News, Andrew and Eleri tandem bicycle crazies finished their 172 mile ride on Sunday all for charity huge well done. I believe they have raised over £9000 pounds. Fantastic. Pity they didn’t need a Wottac for that trip.
Well it will be back to the 1720, next trip is to Cork for the Irish nationals at the beginning of June. Splashed out on two new Gennikers.

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wot-tac explained

Using the wot-tac is simple.

  • First, find the bearing of the true wind direction.
  • Second, set the bearing into the dial, which clicks every five degrees and then
  • Move the pointer arm to the same bearing.

wot-tac is ready!

Use it once you’ll never sail without it