Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Name is Tillerman and I am an Aerobian

I haven't sailed my Laser since April. It sits there on its trailer in my garage and looks at me mournfully every time I choose to go RS Aero sailing.

The photo above is from John Dawson-Edwards' Facebook page and show John's friends in Canada loading up a trailer with Lasers to drive down to Florida for some Laser regattas.

It is true that the Laser is basically twice the weight of an RS Aero, but I had forgotten that that apparently means you need a fork lift truck to put a Laser on a roof rack.

So sad, as our next President would say.

I am an aerobian now.

RS Aero designer Jo Richards carrying a fully rigged Aero single-handed, 
holding toe-strap and boom

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Christmas Song from RS Sailing

Looks like the team at RS Sailing in the UK had a lot of fun making a video of their version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

I recognize a couple of the culprits in the front row. That's Ben Rolfe - UK RS Aero Class Social Secretary - in the red white and blue sweater, second from the left in the front row. And Riki Hooker - International Sales Director for RS Sailing - in fine voice on Ben's left. Riki came out to the US RS Aero Nationals at the Gorge in August to meet North American RS Aero sailors and learn more about how he could help grow the class here.

I am afraid I can't catch all the words of this song. It sounds like it may have been recorded after they all went down to the local pub for a few pints on the last working day before the Christmas weekend.

But I did hear loud and clear the line, "FIVE AAAA-EEER-OS!"

What an excellent idea.

I definitely need five RS Aeros for Christmas.

  • One at the lake club.
  • One at the bay club.
  • One in the garage on a trailer to take out for practice in other places.
  • One to save for important regattas.
  • And one to lend to friends.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Or maybe six?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Christmas Poem for the North American RS Aero Class

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the land
Not an Aero was sailing, all racing was canned
It was time for the American class to look back
On which of the sailors had been top of the pack.

In the first month of the year the boys in Seattle
O'Brien and Falk and Bottles did battle
But what a surprise - the mighty are fallen
The Frigid Digit was won by some ringer named Dalton.

Down in Texas in April they run the Spring Fling
Some handicap races - who knows what they'll bring?
The winds did blow strong for which our lads gave thanks
And first overall was the Aero of Hank.

Hank Saurage

At Charleston in April there was a wild race
From Fort to Battery, eighty four hopefuls gave chase
One Aero did enter and what a success
First "boat" overall was the Aero and Lucas.

In the Pacific North West on the Sound of Puget
The RS Aeros have become a huge hit
In CYC's Spring Regatta the racing was tight
But first of nine Aeros was incredible Mike.

Michael O'Brien

And so on to Dallas and the Spring Dinghyfest
A range of conditions gave the Aeros a test
Sounds like the weekend turned out to be a real blast
And first overall was Hank - man he is fast.

In Southern California we have a good fleet
For a Cinco de Mayo regatta they all did meet
Catherine made history of which we must write
First female to win an RS Aero event outright!

Catherine Gloster

Those dudes in Seattle sure hold lots of regattas
In May they had one called POD for what it matters
Eleven Aeros for nine hours worked hard in the races
National champion Dan won overall with five first places.

Dan Falk

On Memorial Day weekend the Aeros went to race in LA
Thanks to the hospitality of the folk at Alamitos Bay
The winds weren't too strong so nobody had to swim
Winning most of the races and first overall was Jim.

At the Wickford Regatta in June the winds blew like crazy
A dozen Aero sailors showed up. (Not your author - he was lazy.)
Doug came from Utah, Jamie from Texas. What a lark!
Nobody was surprised when the winner was Marc.

Marc Jacobi

A week after that even more Aeros came to Lake Massapoag
Which for future reference, rhymes not with rogue but with bog.
It is close to Boston and one of the best places to sail on the planet
And the winner of the day was a sailor from the UK called Gareth.

The regatta in Seabrook was incredibly hot
It's in Texas so such temps surprising are not
Five Aeros showed up to race in the heat
Hank won again! Repeat and repeat.

At the Newport Regatta we set a new record it seems
Biggest Aero regatta ever on the east coast at seventeen.
The winds were unfortunately incredibly light
Marc took first place but Pete and Christine gave him a good fight.

Thirty five sailors went to the Nationals to race in classic Gorge style
What an amazing event - we all came away with huge smiles.
Catherine was first five rig and Peter B was first seven
Dan Falk won the nines. It was like racing in heaven.

And then in September it was back to Massapoag Yacht Club
Where the winds are always perfect and they serve excellent grub.
We had six races on Saturday and on Sunday enjoyed a little squall
Marc won the regatta but good fun was had by all.

The Aero Gulf Coast Champs were part of the Houston HOOD
Eight sailors took part which is better than good.
It was hot I am told and the winds were quite light.
Marc won, but it seems Hank gave him a hell of a fight.

The Puget Sound Sailing Champs lost one day due to Songda.
What? That's an impossible rhyme so I'll just go with "wronged her."
On Sunday the winds went from twenty five knots to near calm
Dan Falk won this one beating Olympian Carl with nary a qualm.

In October the Texas Aero Fleet went back to Rush Creek
For some handicap racing and to work on technique
Ash had a problem with elbow bursitis
Another impossible rhyme so I won't even fight this.
Hank won.

At the end of October the fleet in Santa Barbara had a regatta called Goblin
Which is another difficult rhyme and it doesn't scan so please stop squabbling
My wife says this poem seems more like a saga
I think I'll take a break and have a lager.
Payne won.

Then back to Texas, to Canyon Lake for the Wurstfest
To decide who is the worst and who is the best
The famous Dion from YouTube even showed up
The winds were light and the amazing Hank won the cup.

Twas was the weekend before Thanksgiving so they held a Turkey Bowl
At Seattle's Corinthian Yacht Club on the Bay of Shilshole
Derek Bottles worked hard and did well I am told
But the winner was Carl who has an Olympic medal of gold.

Carl Buchan and Derek Bottles

Phew. Is that the lot? Did I miss anybody?
Twenty Aero regattas! That's not too shoddy.
After all of this rhyming I'm starting to think
That I really deserve a stiff Christmas drink.

Thanks to the UK RS300 Class for giving me the idea to write this nonsense.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Are the Russians Trying to Hack my Blog?

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the selection of Tillerson as the next US Secretary of State.

Today I notice an abnormal amount of traffic to the blog, about 75% of it coming from Russia.

(There is usually not a lot of interest from Russia in my humble little RS Aero sailing blog.)

Are the Russians trying to hack my blog?

You should probably be very skeptical about any stories you see on here in the next few days.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump Picks RS Aero Sailor as Secretary of State

The news is out!

On this blog my son is usually known as Tiller Extension #1, but his real name (as Tillerman's son) is of course, Tillerson.

And the news has just been made public!  Donald Trump has selected Tillerson to be his Secretary of State.

I am so proud, not only for my son's amazing achievement but also for the whole RS Aero Class.

In a brief statement, Mr. Trump explained his reasons for his choice of Tillerson to be the USA's top diplomat.

I have chosen one of the truly great sailing leaders of the world, Tillerson, to be Secretary of State. Tillerson is like, smart. Like me. He must be smart. All sailors are like, smart. But Tillerson sails an RS Aero. Not one of those Sunfish or Lasers that are made in China. That makes him like, super-smart. We need to make America great again and bring jobs back from China. We need super-smart players like Tillerson to make smart deals. The people we have making deals now are stupid. Tillerson has vast international experience. His mother was born in Australia. I love Australians. Australians are like, smart people. Tillerson will bring back 70,000 factories to the US and make Mexico pay for a huge wall to keep out the bad hombres. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mannequin Challenge

Thanks to Live Sail Die and Vela Mure a Dritta for posting this amazing sailing take on the mannequin challenge.

What is your favorite mannequin challenge video?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Trump Trump Trump and the America's Cup

This children's song (first recorded in 1956) was often played on the radio in England when I was a boy.

It has absolutely nothing to do with sailing, except that a sailor friend drew my attention to it. Nellie the Elephant is suddenly topical again because of its chorus line, "Trump, Trump, Trump."

That's all that seems to be on the news these days.

Trump, Trump, Trump.

"Klu Klux Klan plans parade for Trump."

"Trump may force all Muslims in the USA to be registered."

"Trump settles fraud case for $25 million."

Trump, Trump, Trump.

Can't we get back to the important stuff we used to talk about before the election like whether Caitlyn Jenner regrets not being Bruce Jenner any more, and why Tom Brady likes his balls soft?

On second thoughts... maybe not. I am really not all that interested in Tom Brady's balls.

The only bright spot in the news is that British sailor Ben Ainslie has led his team to victory over the Australian sailor Jimmy Spithill in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Superbowl Cup Final (or whatever it is called) which has been held in various locations around the world over the last decade or so. (Well at least it seems like it.)

Some sailors, a couple of cars and a pontoon boat.

Sadly this does NOT mean that the America's Cup will be returning to its rightful home in England. But apparently it does mean that Sir Ben and his team will have a two point advantage in the double secret round robin Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs Elimination Round (or whatever it is called) which will be sailed over about 40 weeks next summer.

After Sir Ben has won the LVACQACPER (or whatever it is called) he will finally be allowed to give Jimmy Spithill and his Australian team another good drubbing in the actual America's Cup. And THEN the America's Cup will go back to England.

I think I got that right.

Too bad there isn't an American team in the America's Cup any more.

A waste of some perfectly good champagne

So before you go back to the real news and the steady diet of Trump, Trump, Trump here is a quiz for you.

Without googling it, what does Nellie the Elephant have to do with this song?


This news just in. Rumor has it that President Trump is considering adopting Nellie the Elephant as the theme song of his Inauguration.

Trump, Trump, Trump.

Friday, November 18, 2016


Wordle from December 2013

Wordle from 2016

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The Same Girl

45 years ago today, November 6 1971, I met a girl.

44 years ago this weekend I asked her to sign on with me for life. Amazingly she said yes.

All these years later, the same girl is still with me.

Best crew ever!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Broken Wing

Don't you just hate it when this happens?

Still, it could have been worse.

Nobody was injured and the sponsor's brand name wasn't affected at all.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tacking Like a Boss

Thought you would enjoy this video of Chris Arnell in an RS 300, as he puts it, making an "almost perfect escape onto port tack last weekend ;)"

I think that semicolon and parenthesis are meant to indicate he is joking.

I assume this is the same gentleman who writes the hilarious RS300 393 - adventures of a boat and her incompetent skipper blog.

I think I have written about his blog before. It's a bit like Proper Course but a lot better because Chris is much more skilled at the self-deprecating British humour thing than I am.

I don't know much about the RS 300 except that it's another RS Sailing singlehander like the RS Aero, but it's been around a few more years and it looks a lot more difficult to sail.

Somebody even wrote a blog post suggesting that the RS 300 is a cult.

Is the RS Aero a cult too?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shelter From The Storm

Shelter From The Storm from Vimeo.

A classic from the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.

May all my sailing friends find shelter from the storm when they need it.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Should I Sell My Laser?

Should I sell my old Laser?

There it is. Stuck in the corner of the garage with a couple of bikes. Behind the lawnmower. A convenient shelf on which to store my RS Aero foils.

It's now October and I just realized I haven't sailed my Laser since April. All summer, I have been ignoring the Laser and sailing my RS Aero instead.

How did that happen?

It wasn't the original plan.

When I bought my RS Aero I intended to split my time between the RS Aero and the Laser. Actually the plan that my two fellow RS Aero buyers and I had agreed was that we would sail the RS Aeros on Saturdays at the club and the Lasers on Sundays. But that went out the window on the first Sunday after we had taken delivery of our Aeros in May last year, when I showed up at the club with my Laser only to find that my friends had already reneged on our agreement and they were sailing their Aeros. Whatever.  Six of us in Lasers raced the two show-offs in RS Aeros and in the last race I crushed them all.


I actually wrote in the blog post about that day Laser Sailing at the Lake - Crushed! ...

I love lake sailing.
I love Laser sailing.

And so I became a two boat sailor. I would sail the RS Aero at the club and at regattas and then when I went back to sailing my Laser I would strangely find that I enjoyed the Laser even more then I used to, and that my time in the RS Aero had actually improved some aspects of my Laser technique.  A Laser sailing friend from the west coast who had also bought an RS Aero told me that when I went back to the Laser it would feel like a truck...

A truck - not a Laser

But later in the summer of 2015 after I went Back to the Laser for a couple of days, I didn't think it felt at all like a truck and I was writing of the experience...

I love my Laser.
I am a two boat sailor.

I sailed the RS Aero a lot in the summer and fall of 2015, including two regattas at our home club, the RS Aeros North Americans at the Gorge and the Archipelago Rally (which I almost won!)


But then at the start of the frostbiting season in November I was feeling all nostalgic about Laser sailing again so I took my Laser down to Newport and had a terrific time including leading the 44 boat fleet at the windward mark in one race.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I sailed a few more days with the Newport Laser frostbite fleet over the winter and did a bit of solo practice in March and April, but then I put the Laser away in the garage - and it hasn't moved from there for six months.

This summer I have sailed my RS Aero in club races and also with the Bristol Laser fleet on a couple of Tuesday evenings. I have done several RS Aero regattas including three in New England, the US Nationals at the Gorge, and the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda.

Fuzzy screen capture from a video of me sailing at Lake Garda

I have met RS Aero sailors from all over the world who share my passion for the RS Aero. And my enthusiasm for racing and regattas and traveling to regattas has never been higher. But somehow along the way I forgot my Laser.

How did that happen?

Do I need to keep the Laser any more?

Should I sell it?

Monday, October 03, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine - Photos from Day 3

Sunday, the third and final day of racing in the RS Aerocup at Malcesine on Lake Garda was another beautiful day of sailing in paradise. The southerly breeze kicked in dead on time for our first start at 1pm and we were off.

A start. But where is Tillerman? Buried again it seems!

Mike Saqui - my nemesis on the race course - with boat flat and game face on.
He did beat me by a few points in the regatta but I crushed him in both races on Sunday.

Nick Craven - another sailor I was crossing tacks with all though the regatta.
I guess that's his game face?
Anyway he beat me in the regatta but I crushed him on Sunday too!

My favorite photo from the whole regatta!
But where is Tillerman?

Kristo Ounap from Estonia - 3rd in the 7 rig fleet.
Amazing speed downwind. I rounded the windward mark with him in one race and he was gone, gone, gone before I could figure out what he was doing to be so fast.

Peter Barton from Great Britain - 2nd in the 7 rigs.

Per Christian Bordal from Norway - winner in the 7 rig fleet.
Another one who has figured out how to make big gains downwind.
More on that in another blog post.

The RS Aero 7 medal winners with their podium pants on.
Do they look happy, or what?

Thanks to SBG Films for all the amazing photos.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Discover RS Aero Go Faster Tips

Last Thursday, on the day before racing started at the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda, Peter Barton the RS Aero International Class Manger (and by the way one of the best sailors in the class) ran a clinic for some the sailors.

I have heard Peter give pre-regatta clinics on three occasions over the past two years and every time there is something new to learn. Peter says that the more he races the boat the more his own thinking evolves on what is fast and what is not.

But where is Tillerman?

I wonder whether the attendees at Peter's talk will actually remember of all the information he was imparting?

Only one of the students seems to be taking notes. That guy sitting in the front row wearing a beige cap and showing off a very handsome pair of knees.

Watch out for that guy!

(If he can read his own handwriting.)

Just saying.

Monday, September 26, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine - Photos from Day 2

Thanks for SBG Films for these photos from Day 2 of the RS Aerocup on Lake Garda.

Wow! The waves were even bigger than I remembered.

Liina Kolk from Estonia - RS Aero 5 Champion

Karlijn van den Boogaard from the Netherlands. Youngest competitor.

Ben Rolfe from Great Britain. RS Aero 9 champion.

Kate Sargent from Great Britain. A very close second in the RS Aero 5 fleet.

The fleet going downwind. But where is Tillerman?

Oh, there I am. Does this wetsuit make my bum look big?

Mike Saqui from Great Britain. 
One of my closest competitors on the race course.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RS Aerocup Malcesine 2016 - Photos from Day 1

Photos from Day 1 of the RS Aerocup at Lake Garda - thanks to SBG Films.

Per Christian Bordal from Norway currently leading the 24 boat strong RS Aero 7 fleet with six bullets in seven races after two days of racing.

A start. Where is Tillerman?

Peter Barton GBR (orange visor) RS Aero International Class Manager - lying second in the RS Aero 7 fleet after two days of racing.

Peter Stephinson fron Australia - the guy who developed foils to make the Laser and the Aero fly like a Moth.

The sailor in 1831 looks a lot like Doug Dubois from Park City USA, but he told all the sailors at the dinner on Friday night that his name was Donald Trump and if they let him win a race he promised not to build walls round all their countries and make them pay for it.

Kate Sargent GBR, after two days only one point out of the lead in the RS Aero 5 fleet.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


The view from our hotel at breakfast time.

A light northerly breeze,  which will likely switch to the south around lunchtime and build during the early afternoon. Just like it has every other day. Perfect conditions for RS Aero sailing.

The regatta started yesterday (Friday.)

There was a skippers meeting at 11:30.

After the usual welcome speeches and one good question and several not so good questions from sailors, pizza and little hors d'oeuvres were served, along with some bubbly.

Bubbly at a skippers meeting - 90 minutes before the first race! I didn't have any. Honest!

But I do love Italy.

And so we raced on Lake Garda. The winds built up to about 16 knots during the racing.

I was passing boats upwind.

Boats were passing me downwind.

I tried out some of the things Peter Barton taught us at the clinic. How to set the sail controls to point well going upwind. Different ways to pump going downwind.

I was feeling very mellow.

Between races I just lounged in my Aero and soaked in the view.  This must be the most spectacular sailing location in the world.

After two races I was feeling so mellow - actually a bit tired - I decided to skip the third race and go back to the hotel to find TIllerwoman and have a beer. Or two.

We have bubbly - prosecco - at breakfast too.

Maybe that's why I feel so mellow?