2015 UK Events Calendar

Chris Rashley 2012 UK National Champion
Chris Rashley, a Stokes Bay Moth sailor

International Moth Class – 2015 UK Events Calendar

It seems like only a short time ago that the fleet was basking in sunny weather and enjoying a competitive and hard fought World Championships in the UK. A few of us were sitting in the bar drinking hop based recovery drinks…and Rashley was sat at home wearing his recovery pants.

As the saying goes “Time and tide wait for no man” and so the 2015 season will be on us shortly. In fact for Chris Rashley and a select few, it pretty much peaks in just a few days time down in Sorrento, Melbourne. No doubt those of us that are left behind, i.e. those with jobs, will all be totally unproductive at work for those two weeks as we catch up on the action from the previous night down under. However, for us weekend warriors, the 2015 year is still only a background thought to get around to in a few months time, once the weather warms up and we can start to plan our ten to fifteen sails for the year. Fortunately, as moth sailors, we can do the other thing that we punters love so much about moth sailing, talking it up. One thing that definitely doesn’t need talking up, is Ricky’s usual stellar work in building a series, we have another full calendar with both new locales, and returns to popular locations:

Month Date Venue Event Type
March 7/8 Queen Mary SC Training
March 14/15 Queen Mary SC Grand Prix
April 18/19 WPNSA Grand Prix
May 2/3 Hayling Island SC Grand Prix
May 4 Hayling Island SC Glynn Charles Pursuit Race
June 6/7 Parkstone YC Grand Prix
June 25-28 Stokes Bay SC UK Open & National Championships
July 18/19 Grafham Water SC UK Inland Championships/Grand Prix
August 22-30 Lelystad, Netherlands European Championship
September 19/20 Paignton SC Grand Prix
October ?/? TBC Grand Prix

The season kicks off once again with a gentle sharpener at Queen Mary, some nice flat water to ease us back into things. Of course we also have the usual training session the week before. In 2014 that session was probably the best event all year, outside of the worlds. We got two glamour days sailing in with 12-15 knots and 15-18 degrees. All thirty boats had a great time and it was great to see most of them turn up for the opening grand prix event a week later, which also gave us sun and enough breeze to get a full series of races in. It’s almost a certainty* that we’ll have the same conditions in 2015 to kick start the series.

Jason "Mr Sailtek" Belben
Jason Belben, another Stokes Bay Moth sailor

The highlight of the season in the UK though, will be the National Championships at Stokes Bay in June. Stokes is a fantastic place to sail a moth and in recent seasons it has been breeding world class moth sailors almost as fast as it breeds world class Laser Sailors. We all know that world class sailors set their goals at the beginning of each season as they plot their way to glory: A series of difficult, but potentially achievable goals, to drive them on. There’s a rumour that most great Laser sailors, working their way through the UK Olympic system, have a goal to win the Wednesday night series at Stokes Bay. They never win it of course because they’re probably not good enough. Ainslie and Percy didn’t even manage it, you have to have something special to win that set of races. However, we all know that the Laser fleet at Stokes doesn’t come close to what it takes to be a moth sailor. None of them would dare to put the Moth Wednesday night series on their goal sheet.

So why are the Stokes Bay Moth sailors so good? Is it simply talent? Do good sailors just go to Stokes and start sailing moths? Matthew Syed would have you believe the opposite. He’d probably quote a number of chance factors colliding randomly to produce the perfect breeding ground for Moth superstars. Factors such as a top boat designer sailing there, a group of already talented sailors getting together to train effectively on a regular basis and of course the quality of sailing at the venue, the temptation is to believe this. In fact it definitely helps propel the myth that you can’t catch these people up without retiring, moving to Alverstoke and working on a good 100+ training sessions per season as touted by the man with number 2 on his sail.

Sadly it’s not true. There’s only one of the above factors that really counts:- Stokes Bay is a quality place to sail a moth.

Three bullets in a row for Greenhalgh
Rob Greenhalgh, yet another Stokes Bay Moth sailor

Someone will probably have told you its really hard to sail there. The same person probably sails at a lake, or maybe Portland Harbour or Poole, and pretends they’re a good moth sailor. The issue is that sailing a moth on flat water is basically like having sex with yourself. You swan around looking good, not being remotely challenged and then you go back to the slipway and someone says something like “you’re really cool”. They mean it too and that makes you feel cool. That’s why you said “cheers” in a totally faux modest way and it’s half the reason you bought a moth. Little do they know any idiot can sail a well set up moth on flat water. Stokes is so good, because it’s hard but the right kind of hard. It’s tough but it’s fair. The new to Stokes moth sailor will go out in a Souwesterly force 4 thinking “I’m going to die” as the Solent chop kicks up against the tide. The waves are short and sharp and you’ll take a good kicking. You’ll feel like you’ve never sailed a moth before and you’ll ache like hell afterward. However, there will be an afterwards as, contrary to expectations, you haven’t died. You actually ripped it up. You had a few crashes but you had the most exhilarating sail you’ve had for ages, screaming along, bouncing around on fanny settings: ride height down, wand right off, bow up like a pansy…only marginally in control and not able to think about boat speed at all. However, soon after you realise that it was brilliant, experiencing the feeling of it being like you’ve never sailed a moth before…that was the best feeling ever wasn’t it?! You spent most of your recent moth sailing sessions looking to recreate that buzz. The buzz of the first flight, the first proper gybe and even the first foil tack, well, something that was close to it. And of course, the aching after those first few sails in a moth, foiling or non-foiling (the non-foilers were worse, trust me). Then you go out again and you realise you learnt and learnt loads. So much has been learnt that you’re getting on ok the next time and starting to think about speed and the racing again. You start winding up the ride height, lengthening the wand, putting the bow down and popping in some decent gybes.

Paul Goodison, NOT a Stokes Bay Moth sailor
Paul Goodison, NOT a Stokes Bay Moth sailor

The bit where it really dawns on you what Stokes has done for you is a while after. It happens’ when you go back to the lake, or country club as might be more apt. You swan around as usual but you’re now driving the boat so much harder. You know in your head that you’re now sailing with the boat much higher on the foils, you’ve got your gearing down to zero and your average speed, that’s the one that matters, is way higher. When you get back to the shore and someone says “you’re really cool” you’ll know that you actually are cool and your response will change to something like “flat water is very forgiving”. At that point the person who thinks you’re cool will jizz a little.

Of course there are other events in the series including the exciting prospect of a massive Euro’s in the Netherlands, home of Heineken, soft drugs and hard core porno free to view after midnight on every channel, or so I’ve heard. Perfect for a bunch of geeky sailing types who’s significant others would only come with them on a sailing event if they had a frontal and rear lobotomy.

The series will again be supported by Magic Marine, whom I’m sure would in no way endorse any of the above, and we thank them for their continued support of the class. Receiving a prize from Carrie is a much more interesting and motivating prospect than receiving something from Mike or Ricky. We are also keen to ensure the continued promotion of the class and we are hopeful of retaining the services of Yachts & Yachting.com and Beau Outteridge – the PR “dream team” who did such a great job at the Worlds. The content they created and distributed around the world was universally well received and enjoyed and the viewing statistics were eye watering. Beau is only just releasing the instructional videos he was working on with Nathan at the Hayling Worlds and they are well worth a look: technique-guides

If you want to become a celebrity then you need to make sure you are at the Nationals as coverage will not be limited to those at the “sharp end” of the fleet and will reflect the many things that make this class great, e.g. innovation, entertaining/eccentric characters, great performances and those moments where it just goes wrong! Here’s a link to one of the best interviews from the Hayling Worlds, it’s nearly got higher viewing stats than Nathan or Rob Greenhalgh’s interviews so hopefully this plug will tip it over the edge before the 2015 worlds. We all know we want to be the Viper:

We have a great season ahead of us with fantastic locations and welcoming clubs and we look forward to great support for these events. If last year was anything to judge the 2014/15 Grand Prix Champion is certainly going to have to earn it.

In the meantime, don’t forget your warm gear as the Winter Championships is currently in full flow.

Neil (still boatless) Baker

*might not actually be a certainty