Interview with Triple European Champion Chris Rashley
Chris Rashley has lit up the scoreboard yet again at the 2013 Moth Europeans in Sicily to take his third consecutive Moth Europeans title.
With top place on the podium in Germany in 2011, Garda 2012 and now Sicily in 2013, the 24 year old is proving to be quite the young upstart. Focusing on consistency and ultimate boat preparation, he provides an excellent role model on how to put together championship winning performances.
With great support from his long-term sponsors Royal London Yacht Club, the Stokes Bay sailor learnt his Moth craft in his Ellway-designed Ninja back in 2011. From his very first Moth open, he has led from the front. His switch to the Exocet in early 2012, designed again by Kevin Ellway and built by Maguire Boats, has further enhanced his dominance.
Unbeknown to many, Chris is no stranger to the podium as he has several National and European championship titles from many different classes under his belt. We managed to catch up with Chris last week and had a few questions to throw at him.
Q. How are you feeling now you have done what no one else has achieved in the history of the moth class being a consecutive triple European Champion (since the introduction of foils)?
A. I’m delighted to have won the Euros this year. I’ve been off the water most of the winter coaching 29ers and 49ers, so I was aiming to use the event for racing practice and time on the water – especially since we’ve had such a bad winter. But it’s been great to get my season off to such a flying start.
Q. What were the conditions like in Sicily?
A. The conditions at Sicily were varied and challenging, with plenty of short, steep chop thrown up over the windy days. Racing was cancelled on the first two days of the championships and the sailors sat ashore under postponements for lengthy periods throughout the whole event.
Q. How did you manage to remain in control with such adverse conditions?
A. It’s hard to maintain your focus and motivation under those circumstances. After we missed the first two days, and the conditions were so difficult, I knew it was likely we would not have many races. This meant that there would potentially be no discard and that every race was going to count. In the end we did get enough races in to get a discard, but it went down to wire.
Q. Did anyone pose a threat to you at the Championships?
A. Mike Lennon in his new Exocet put in a sterling performance. I’ve never seen him go so fast and he was ballistic in light airs. He was a serious challenger to me right up until the last race – but fortunately we had 12 knots of consistent sailing conditions for that final race and everything came good for me. Third place went to my training buddy, Jason Belben. It was great to stand next to him on the podium. We’ve been training together at Stokes Bay for a long time now and he pushes me really hard. He’s the perfect training partner.
Q. Is there any one you would like to mention that helped your campaign?
A. I’ve been using Allen fittings which keeps my boat completely UK-built and I’ve also been using a C-Tech Mast which Kevin Ellway and I have developed in association with Alex Vallings. Kevin has been invaluable with all the development work he has made on the Exocet and helping me continually push things forward. I would also like to thank the Royal London Yacht Club for their continued support in helping me to achieve my ambitions. I would also like to mention Peter Taylor from the Royal London YC for his guidance with my program. Simon Maguire from Maguire boats for providing me with the race winning platform from last year onwards.
Q. What are your plans now moving forward?
A. In the short term I am preparing for my home club open at Stokes Bay on 15 June and then the Nationals at Castle Cove two weeks later. After that I am looking forward to this year’s Worlds in Hawaii. I’m currently ranked 7 in the world and I am definitely looking for a top ten finish this year. But my main sights are set on the 2014 Worlds in the UK.
With the number of high calibre Moth sailors increasing every year both in the UK and abroad, it will be a tough but exciting fight for the title of 2014 World Champion. Good luck to Chris and all the UK Mothies.