By Jonny Fullerton, Grand Prix Sailing
Jonny Fullerton: How did you start sailing and in what classes?
Kirsten Norris: I started sailing when I was 10 years old sailing a local WA class the Pelican and then 420’s as a kid, then I moved to match racing and keel boats and a bit of Tasar sailing.
JF: Thats very different to a foiling boat like a Moth when did you get the bug to go foiling?
KN: I found that I had become strong as an allrounder in sailing over the years but the area I hadn’t tried was skiffs so I was keen to give skiffs a go and obviously the hydrofoiling side became very popular so I had a go on one of my friends boats once and was hooked so I decided to give the skiffs a miss and go straight for Moth foiling.
JF: So once you got the Moth how long did it take you to get used to sailing it and then foiling
KN: So what I did was, I probably went out about 4 or 5 times with a friend of mine and we had a Laser and a Moth out and I would take the Laser and when once we were away from all obstacles I swapped to the Moth and towards the end of the 3rd time, I started sailing the boat in by myself so then I could sail it and tack basically, but to be sailing well, it took me about a couple of months. I could foil well but it takes a bit longer to master tacking and gybing on the foils but I am getting better all the time.
JF: It is one thing getting up on the foils and another thing foiling around a race course, thats another step?
KN: Yes absolutely I am just working on that step at the moment, I am looking at upgrading to a more competitive boat, I have become hooked and so keen to give this racing thing a hard go rather than just the joy of foiling.
JF: What are your ambitions for the future?
KN: It’s really addictive after you give it a go, its nothing like anything you have done before, its really challenging, its a whole new aspect of sailing, its really fun, its terrifying when its windy but I am coming to terms with that and hopefully I will get more confident in the wind as well.
JF: Any tips you can give any female club sailors wanting to get into foiling boats like the Moth?
KN: Yeah they are difficult boats to sail, you really need to be good at sailing another dinghy class before you give it a go because a lot of your responses need to be instinctive but once you do anybody can try it at a ‘Try Sailing Day’. You just need to have someone there who does know what they are doing who can give you pointers.
Go sailing in the right conditions, when its not windy you are not going to hurt yourself, you just fall in the water al lot, you just have to persevere. When it gets windy it gets difficult but make sure you tell someone you are going out and make sure there are people around and work up to the stronger breezes.
JF: The boats are very technical aren’t they?
KN: I focused on getting a relatively basic boat that was well set up to start with at first so i could focus on trying to sail it and using all the settings as they were and now I am starting to tweak it more.
JF: Good luck with the rest of your season
KN: No worries, thanks very much