With just one day left before the start of the 2011 International Moth World Championships at Belmont, Australia, being held over the 8-14th January, the preparations are revving up for the 8 sailors out there representing GBR.
Current World, European and Nationals title holder Simon Payne, Mike Lennon, Pete Barton, Ben Paton, Jason Russell, James Phare and Graham Simmonds, have joined ex-pat and 18ft Skiff racer Andy Budgen, to form part of the 115 competitors, in what will be the largest, most highly competitive and challenging Championships the Class has seen.
The entry list boasts a huge line up of top flight sailors, and there has been much speculation to the form guide as to who is favoured to walk away with the title. Yet with so many different champions from other classes and Olympic medalists in attendance, it has become a tight one to call, which could sway many ways depending on the variety of conditions likely.
It has been evident that whilst a host of the Australians, including Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge, have been practicing hard, there have been numerous sailors from other nations out there practicing and fine tuning set up for nearly a month. Particular media interest has been generated by Bora Gulari, Charlie McKee and George Peet from the US, who turned up and pulled a number of solid wing sails out of their container. The US team have been off training hard in the distance on Lake Macquirie to fine tune the wing in readiness for the first battle against the soft sails.
Whilst conditions have been both light and a full foam up over the last few weeks – as well as numerous on course area shark sightings for good measure – the word on the beach is that a decision by the US team to race with the wings will not be made until after the Australian Nationals which is acting as the pre-Worlds regatta, and which end Thursday.
Word from our boys abroad is saying that a number of the Aussies are indeed proving exceptionally rapid in terms of height and speed, and with Lake Macquirie being Nathan’s home pitch, then there is a good prospect that he could well be the one to steal the championship ashes.
It is proving to be a key regatta to follow, and one which depending on the outcome of the wing, could see yet another performance renaissance for the most innovative performance class of the time