199 looking sporty on the run – Photo Dave Pickett.
So Thursday lunchtime, race truck packed and we’re away to the DF65 Nationals at Two Islands RYC in Milton Keynes. The weather looks pretty good, warm and possibly windy on Sunday. 52 skippers, lets see how we get on.
We did ok at the recent DF95 Nationals and scored a second spot finish on Sunday afternoon and if it hadn’t have been for Tushy and his lucky shorts we might have gone one better! Still, we had an awesome weekend of racing right up until the last metre of the last race when my rudder servo crapped out during a tack and left me going around in circles whilst the fleet finished!!
We haven’t raced since as we have been busy here at the yard producing sails and doing “real” boat stuff so we’re off a day early to get some tune into the DF65 and also have a race with some of the TIRYC club members tomorrow morning with the DF95.
Any orders placed today and over the weekend will get looked at on Monday when we get back.
So when I logged on I was a little surprised that it was more than a month ago since I posted. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess. So what have we been up to? Quite a bit as it happens, we’ve been to Birkenhead racing, twice, once with the DF’s and once with the RG’s. Both events were great fun, the DF65 Saturday was trial by crazy weather and it proved a little too much for setting up a brand new C rig on a brand new boat and I was happy with the 8th place finish. The Sunday was a much nicer day and a fifth place finish was just fine.
New rig for Birkenhead, a difficult tuning day!
The RG had it’s second outing having had a rudder swap and a bit of fettling, I must also get a proper swing rig sorted which might improve the light airs performance. The wind built throughout the day and I was pleased to finish the day having not spent too much time upside down and in 6th place. The more I sail the RG the more I’m learning about how to develop the boat.
So we have spent this week producing a monster order for our good friends at RC Yachts which has had a bit of an impact on our orders. We prepped the race truck this morning and will be leaving for Eastbourne tomorrow, Thursday, collecting Chuck from Heathrow on the way down. We’ll be lakeside at Princes Park on Friday for a bit of practice and with a bumper entry of 60 skippers I think it might be a case of getting some good results banked early on before the wind drops out completely.
Race truck prep!
As such we’ll be away now until Monday morning when we’ll be back at the grindstone producing all the orders that we haven’t sorted this week. The shop will be open to take any order you care to place and I imagine by the end of next week we’ll have our backlog shifted……… Then we’ll be into prep for the DF65 Nationals at Two Islands RYC over the weekend of 1st and 2nd June.
It’s declared it wants a rest.
So whilst everyone else is packing shorts and flip flops into cases to go over to Italy to race DF95’s this weekend I’m suffering from printer failure. It seems that my two and a half year old Samsung laser printer has reached the end of it’s page count and has politely but firmly told me that I am not allowed to print anything else until I’ve replaced the imaging unit.
I’ve sent a pigeon to collect one but the headwind on the way to the real world may delay him somewhat. I’m assured he’ll be back tomorrow with the shiny new unit. This means we are currently unable to print shipping labels so any orders placed over the last few days may be a little delayed.
Apologies for this, totally not our fault.
So we rocked up at Gosport on Friday, had some practice rolled into Saturday with DF65 that seemed to be off the pace, having thought I was well on it. Turns out that I’d stuck some rig bits in the wrong place, the wind wasn’t where I thought it was plus other racing driver excuses. Not the best day at the office. Sunday was a better day with the purple “Wonkaboat” doing it’s thing and a second spot finish out of the 52 skippers was pretty pleasing for the first proper outing for the new outfit.
Wonkaboat in action. – Photo Sue Brown….thanks Sue!
Back at base I took a look at the 65 rig and worked out where the issue was, built some new booms up and hey presto I think we have the issue sorted. I also decided that purple is pretty fast but there are no purple 65 hulls until July so I have added my own purple to what is now called “Wonkaboat Jnr” The fleet matches…result!
Wonkaboat & Wonkaboat Jnr
We also collected our new RG65 from Alex Cory (he builds lovely boats by the way) and we are now trying hard to get it ready for the next round of the RG65 TT series which is in 7 days time at Bournville, lets see if we can get that sorted!
So a super short production week this week, Monday and Tuesday were busy busy, clearing all our orders, Wednesday saw us on a roadtrip to Birkenhead to get some IOM sails measured (yes they did by the way!) before getting a bit of DF65 training in at the Birkenhead club by joining in their Wednesday morning series with some really light and shifty Birkenhead conditions. Much fun and a second spot finish was hard earned. I needed to get my new DF65 on the water and tuned, having built it quickly at the back end of last season for the last TT event it just wasn’t quite right….it’s better now….
Today sees our last production day until Monday, we’ve plenty to do so any orders placed today will not get looked at until Monday I’m afraid.
Tomorrow sees us roadtripping 300 miles South to Gosport from the next couple of rounds of the DF Racing UK TT Series. A whole heap of entries for both days will see a great weekend of racing take place. I might even be collecting my new RG65…maybe!
Last Sunday saw us up at West Lancs YC for the final event in the winter series there. It was a great day of racing even with the low turnout due to the forecast being pretty grim. We had the new DF95 on the water and equipped with C rig it went well all day and myself and John Brierley spent most of the day tuning and match racing around the course, he won some, I won some and at the end of the day we finished on the same points with the same number of firsts and seconds and it was a big countback to declare me as the winner by no margin at all. This also gave me the series which was a surprise but a pleasing result, I counted a first and two second spots.
Shiny new DF95….before decoration!!
Anyhow I must get on, early start in the morning. The shop is open to take your order as ever, it’ll get looked at on Monday.
Well that was a reasonably productive day. We are now almost up to date with our sail orders. 13.5 suits produced today and the theme seems to be pairs. Lots of DF95 A&B suit combos today along with some DF65 stuff too, a couple of sticker sets and some deck patches fell into the post as well.
Photos of today’s work below.
Well, as experiences go that rates as one of the best of all time. A trip to China to visit the Joysway Factory followed by a couple of nights in Hong Kong. I’ve had my mind well and truly blown, met some crazy people, been looked after like a king and stayed in possibly one of the best hotels in Dongguan City and possibly one of the worst in Hong Kong. Both were interesting for totally different reasons!
View from the 11th floor in Dongguan, this is basically what the whole of Shenzen looks like.
The Joysway element of the trip was really very cool and was the main reason for the trip. Seeing where and how the DF Racing products are manufactured was a real eye opener with a mix of 21st century technology blended seamlessly with 1950’s hand assembly lines. What was great to see was just how much that the company does in house, for instance they produce all their own moulds for both injection moulding and blow moulding in the dedicated toolmaking shop. They outsource the production of the ballast weights and fins but they are produced in Joysway made moulds.
Joysway produced moulds for blow moulding of boat hulls.
There was a whole heap of other stuff going on too all of which we were openly shown around, from moulding shop to warehouse, taking in production, design, R&D and loads of other stuff too.
Hong Kong was the total opposite to the private dining rooms of China, the best way to describe Kowloon is simply awesome but really tiring all at the same time. We stayed pretty much bang in the centre of Kowloon in the Chungking Mansions, look it up on the interweb its about as diverse a place as you’ll ever wander in to. It rained a bit and it was mainly misty until Sunday when it brightened up a bit and we made it up to the top of HK Island on the tram……..another experience!
View from the top of Hong Kong Island.
All too quickly it was time to return home and an early start from Heathrow on Monday morning saw us back at base in North Wales by mid afternoon. Tuesday was taken up by a chunk of catch up admin and we finally got to our orders this morning. We’ve nailed most of the non sail orders and should be through the backlog by mid next week, just before we trot down to Gosport for rounds 3 & 4 of the DF Racing TT Series.
Orders away today.