All the Datchet readers of the FF Blog will have been keenly following John Hanson and Helen Hepworth through their adventure at the Hong Kong Worlds. They’ve regularly managed to send us some great photos and snippets of news to liven up our two weeks of rain and gloom !
They had some trials and tribulations during the HK Nationals week when the shroud plates gave up and the rig was down for a day. The boat, Hakuna Matata GBR 3539, was registered in late 1995. It has some history and was built I think for the Jerwoods, 2nd in the Worlds this week. At the Club we have watched John renovate the boat gradually over time, moving up the fleet as he did so. Now we can’t catch him – very impressive!! One delight has been to see John and Helen very patiently using stern mounted video to help them develop technique and hone skill. John told me it has been the single biggest contributor to their performance improvement. They use the camera set at very wide angle so you can see right up the leach plus observe what the team are doing… and importantly the horizon!! I wonder if John can make some general training videos out of his footage for the new online training area on the BIFFA website. Must ask him….
So the boat is 18 years old, and still winning races, and can finish in the top half of the Worlds?! What a tribute to the Ovington Mk IX product, don’t you think?? It’s a great example that you can get into top class FF racing for a very modest cash outlay – and the boat is going as fast probably as it ever has. It has been sold now – the new owner is a new Datchet member, which is great news for us. John and Helen will now be sailing a Mk X, and a lovely boat!! We’d better get used to seeing the back of it!!
All images ©RHKYC/Guy Nowell