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The new generation of foiling sailor: We talk to Richard Mason

by Mark Jardine 27 Jun 2017 13:00 BST 27 June 2017
Rich Mason © Musto

Richard Mason is a Musto Clothing Ambassador and one of the up-and-coming sailors in the modern foiling classes. We spoke to him after the UK Moth Nationals in Paignton about his sailing in the Moth and on the Extreme Sailing Series, his work with Musto developing the new Foiling Range, and his aspirations for the Moth Worlds on Lake Garda.

Mark Jardine: The UK Moth Nationals didn't exactly go to plan did it?

Richard Mason: It wasn't so great. I had some gear failure on the first day which meant I missed all four races, then there was only one race on the second day, and then on the third day my mast fell down just after launching. Not my best event!

Mark: What do you find most challenging about sailing a Moth?

Richard: It's difficult to put your finger on one thing. You have to be good at the technical side and you have to be good on the sailing side so I think it challenges you in all areas of where the sport is going.

Mark: You're working with Musto and using their brand-new Dinghy Range. How does that help with your sailing?

Richard: The Musto Foiling Range has just come out and I've worked with them to develop the kit on the safety side. For any crashes you're more protected than you would be in a normal wetsuit. Sailing is going towards short-course, fast boat sailing and I think the clothing market has to keep up with that and that's what Musto are doing.

Mark: So you've been working with them on Impact Protection in the new Foiling Range?

Richard: Exactly, and that's what I was really keen on getting into the new gear. Musto have added D3O Impact Technology pads which harden on impact, originally developed for motorcyclists. Hopefully it'll mean those big crashes won't take you out and you'll be able to sail for the rest of the day.

Mark: You've also been sailing on some of the big foiling catamarans, racing in the GC32s. How has that been?

Richard: It's been fantastic and it's really good fun. Ten of those boats ripping around is just amazing. It's not the America's Cup but they don't have so many boats on their race course. We're hitting 38 knots on the courses so it's super-fast, really tight and it really pushes you in all areas.

Mark: How important it fitness on the boats you sail?

Richard: It's become really important. We're heading towards this Grand Prix Circuit racing which is good for the spectators, up to nine races a day on the Extreme Sailing Series, and being on the bow of SAP you're doing something all the time. You'd probably last a day if your fitness wasn't great, but trying to do a four day regatta, you'd be out of gas really soon.

Mark: Are your aspirations towards sailing in the America's Cup itself?

Richard: For sure I'd love to be on a Cup boat and eventually that's where I'd like to be, but we'll see what happens!

Mark: What are your thoughts about the racing we've seen in the 35th America's Cup?

Richard: It's fantastic. There was lots of speculation beforehand about who was going to be fast or not and it's been great to watch.

Mark: Next up for you is the International Moth World Championship where there will be a 200+ boat fleet and some of the America's Cup sailors taking part. What are your aims at the event?

Richard: It's been a focus of mine for a while and it's been hard to get the time in the boat as I've been doing so much other sailing, but leading up to the Worlds itself I do have a bit of time to train hard. I'd like to be top 15, but I think that's going to be a big ask in such a high quality fleet.

Mark: What's it going to be like sailing in such a big fleet on Lake Garda?

Richard: It's going to be fantastic. I haven't sailed against that many boats since my Optimist days and these things are 20 times the speed! I'm really looking forward to it.

Mark: Best of luck, I hope the training goes well and you have better luck with your boat than you did at the UK Nationals.

Richard: Thanks Mark!

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