Learning to fly!
And now for something completely different! After 3 regattas in a row (Princess Sofia, Hyeres, and the Europeans) it was time for a well-earned holiday, and what better than have my first ever attempt to foil, and where better than Murcia!
The beauty of Provela is there are several boats all designed to foil such as the F101, Whisper, Whazp, Moth, rather than retrofitting hulls which for example may well weigh 3 times as much as a Moth if not more. The F101 is a trimaran with code zero, meaning it can foil in the lightest of winds and when it comes off the foils it is super stable. Think of foiling with stabilisers. The Whazp and Moth are the other end of the scale, a tiny boat (think body of Waszp or Moth with wings) and just 1 sail. Finally, with the Whisper you can tick all the boxes: twin trapeze, jib, main and asymmetric spinnaker. With Simon Cooper, we got it to foil both up and downwind, admittedly on quite hot angles due to the wind.
In order to make the communication between you and the instructor more efficient, thus helping you to pick up the flying technique quicker, we are equipped with BBTalkin headsets for hands-free conversations with each other. This saved lots of capsizing or nose-diving as the instructor can give you on-time comments such as: sheet in, head up/down, pump, lean in, etc.
As a venue it is hard to think of a better place than the Provela base (the exact location is translated as Crystal lake) near Murcia and if it is good enough for Ben Ainslie’s INEOS team to be training then it is definitely good enough for me. The water is flat, warm (very important when you spend so much time in it) and the wind reliable.
The accommodation is also awesome: sea-view flats right by the beach, and only 5 minutes’ walk to the marina. You can also get some discounts in the restaurant, bar, and cafe downstairs. If you have non-sailing family members with you, they can enjoy sunbathing on the beautiful beach and swimming in the small sea lagoon. Mar Menor has everything to offer the whole family.
Quote from Rob Andrews in Hyeres before the holiday, “You will foil within 1 min on the F101 or I buy you a coffee!” I saw Rob during the week at a fantastic meat restaurant and had to confirm that I foiled in well under 1 minute, on my first attempt. I think that he knew that his money was safe. Although out of all the boats I tried, the Moth was my favourite but it is hard to think of a more suitable introduction to foiling than the F101.
They say that time flies when you are having fun and I was flying and having fun. In fact, I was so tempted to have another 30 minutes on the water, but I didn’t want to risk missing my flight. With the speed difference between foiling and non-foiling so large it did put the pressure on to make sure I foiled all the way back to shore on the final run, so as to make it to the airport on time.
I cannot thank my instructors enough: Simon, Nancy, Elliot, Katherine who put me completely at ease, and my holiday at Provela was far too short!
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.