The Types of Mothie

The Types of Mothie

As moth sailors will proudly tell you, they are a rare breed. However over the last 10 years the creation of foils has led to there being a lot more of them than we had for a number of years. WE at the moth class have felt this has been a great thing, however, it has also meant that “rare breed” has grown into more of a group of “rare breeds”.

We know this isn’t unique to the Moth Class, most classes have their own unique personalities after all. We often sit about trying to fathom the mind of a person who would sail a boat without foils but it’s up there with trying to answer the meaning of life so we go back to the moth sailors main conundrum, the foil tack. Still, instead of the usual “top 10 predictions” we thought it would be a bit of fun to point out a few of the moth sailor typologies and their idiosyncrasies as we all get ready for the European Championships next week in Leylstad, Holland.

Feel free to follow the event there, see some vids etc and most importantly, keep an eye on the results. I’d point out how many entries there are but it will just make other classes feel sorry for themselves.
In the meantime, let’s start with the best known:

The Pro

These Mothies tend to only turn up for the Worlds. “Have you done much moth sailing this year then?” you ask them. “Oh no, I barely manage to squeeze much in around the Volvo, The Extreme Series and the GC 32s”. To the rest of us that means 40-50 sessions in the last 3 months, not forgetting the time their support team has spent making them custom foils, re-building their “production” boat, drilling out screw heads and building aero shaped stuff to hang off the back. Proof that their taking it seriously comes as they rip it all off after the first day only to stick it back on the next evening after a four hour debrief with their coach.
As this event is their audition for an AC team the probably have a PR team running their media image.
Their Moth sailing is superhuman and no mere mortal can catch them, hence they will probably win the worlds, hence why they turn up.

The Weekend Warrior*

“Sailing this weekend Ollie, fancy doing some tuning together” you ask? “Yep, gonna squeeze in a quick one Sunday morning before taking the eldest to her piano lesson at 10am so I need to be off the water by 9, you?” He says with a straight face. “Never mind…”
This is the most common type of moth sailor. Ways to spot them include the German company car, top spec (hardly used) boat and early onset grey hair from trying to manage a moth habit with 3 kids and 60 hr a week job.
Their career selling Food/IT/recruitment could be significantly better if they didn’t spend Monday working out what went wrong at the weekend just gone, Tuesday morning ordering new kit to resolve the issues diagnosed on Monday…and Friday “Working from Home” fitting the new kit that was ordered on Tuesday. Imagine how much work they must be doing in those 2.5 days? Deep down they know that the only true fulfilment they get is from Moth sailing, hence the sacrifice.
They might also be better at sailing if they managed more than 6 days practice per year.
*not to be confused with “Self-Employed”

The Mid-lifer

Don’t’ confuse these guys with the weekend warriors. They’ve dealt with having the family and the job and all that and they finally realise that now they don’t have to pay for 2 kids at Uni they can finally afford to spend something on themselves! “Eureeekah, I’ll buy a moth”
Sadly, the fact that they haven’t sailed anything faster than a Vareo at Minorca sailing since their teens, hasn’t prepared them for moth sailing very well.
Often can be seen limping badly, padding up the shrouds and perusing the internet for a suitable helmet.
If you see a boat on the slip way, fully rigged with the foils in and covers off, it’s this guy. He’s gone to have a last coffee before launching (code for psyching themselves up). Oh the humanity! FOIL COVERS ON FFS!! (Note for the uninitiated, foil covers on is the first rule of moth sailing).

The Semi

You know the type, they either designate themselves as a pro OR more comically as a working man struggling to make a go of their sailing. There is a good chance they are a trust fund baby or something similar and haven’t quite worked out that in the real world actual work consists of more than 2 weeks coaching a year with a few stints at Cowes/Cork/Tarbert week telling a rich man where to point his new Beneteau.
“I heard you got a full time job at last” you ask? “I did but I had to be out the house for up to 10 or 11 hours a day, it was ridiculous. I was working like a dog”.
Ways to spot them is that they still think a free T-shirt from a sailing event is something for wearing as opposed to cleaning your car with and they probably have some sort of social media page that they post on about their sailing. Mind you, rumours are that one day we might see them in their own brand, well…logo, and line of sailing apparel! They also may have a sponsor that you’ve never heard of which is most likely owned by their parents…or a friend of their parents from the posh yacht club.
They are very good moth sailors, proof that practice via 7 days a week can make near perfect, and can be world champ if they could pick a year when none of the actual pro’s or Olympic Squaders turn up.

The Engineers

“Oh, you’re an Aeronautical engineer, you must be able to help me work out why my rudder keeps ventilating…”
Don’t, just don’t. In fact turn around and walk swiftly away, forgetting you ever asked.
No one has the ability to suck the fun out of moth sailing like an engineer. How something that is so naturally enjoyable can be made less interesting than an A-level chemistry lesson so quickly is beyond me. Never-the-less, these guys manage it.
Easy to spot as they have all kinds of inexplicable cr@p on their boat that no good moth sailors have. Well, until a good moth sailor puts something on and makes it work, then everyone gets it.
Nearly all of this lot need to go sailing and think about it less. Or just eat a spoonful of cement and harden the f… up

The Olympic Squader

A bit like the pro they sail the moth for fun, largely because the schlep of sailing their Olympic boat from Monday to Friday, grinding it out across Europe from one crap port town to another, for the pittance of Olympic funding they get is sapping their very will to live. The moth provides a small outlet to do something “different”* but once again when they do go to any events they are terrified of being beaten and looking bad under the eye of Saron, sorry, Olympic team manager.
I would say it’s worth talking to them to pick up some useful tips, however, they typically have no conscious knowledge of why they’re so darn fast
They make their boat travel at the kind of speeds you only dream of and pick everything up 1000x faster than mortals, e.g. they foil tacked on their second sail and did 30 knots on their third sail. They have never failed to foil through a gybe. Gits!

The Self-Employed

Watch out for these ones. Some sort of questionable employment means they can pack in about 5 sessions on the water a week and still have the budget to go to every moth event including all the Euro cup acts.
They often have a wife but one can only surmise that they think their working whilst they’re at Weymouth sailing with Pro’s, Semi’s and Squaders.
Probably has a very good accountant, or is a boat builder.

The Homebuilder

“Haven’t seen you about this year, been sailing much?” you ask as they turn up to the nationals with an unpainted boat on top of the de-rigueur transporter van. “Yeah, I’ve had 3 sails in her and the last one lasted nearly an hour before something broke. Still, it’s all part of the process”. They’ve only spent 8 months building her, who needs to go sailing anyway?
Anyone who wants to spend more time building a boat than sailing it is odd to most people. However, to the few, it’s the only purpose of the moth. Frankly anyone who can build their own foiling moth from drawing they did at last year’s nationals over a pint is all right by me. Anyone who can build their own foils and then stick it the gold fleet at the worlds are legends. Fact.
They have a very different understanding of the phrase “getting a brew on” and can often be confused with the Die Hard Mothie. Boat speed can range from zero to Dave Lister.

The Wannabe

Apart from explaining what the thing hanging off the front does, the most common conversation moth sailors have with non-moth sailors is….“Oh you’re a moth sailor?”
“I want to get a moth now. I’m bored of looking for crews/going slow etc”
“Cool, good plan. Best thing you’ll ever do, I promise”
“Yeah, I figure that. Thing is, I want to be competitive but I really don’t want to pay too much, and I don’t want to get a boat go out of date too fast”
Unless the person has multiple Olympic medals hanging between their port and starboard nipples, the correct course of action for the moth sailor at this point is similar to dealing with the Engineer. Non-moth sailors just need to get a boat…and start the every lasting process of getting better.
The Wannabe can often be found stalking the moth event websites, and the facebook page. They also probably know more about moths than most moth sailors. Although have most of the facts the wrong way around.
Hmmm, actually the above might just have been me before I bought my first moth.

The Girls

Whilst not as common as they used to be (see Europe) female moth sailors are still a core part of the fleet. Admittedly many of the other descriptions here could suffice but we thought they deserved a special mention. A lot of girls fade out of sailing as they get older but a few legends stick with it and those who truly have the right stuff make it to the moth fleet. I think of it like making it to the Millionaires Mansion in the Game of Life, as opposed to the Country Cottage. The only asset needed is a foiling 11 foot carbon bullet. Although be careful, if you give it a name that makes it sound like you’re Donald Campbell, never turn up to an event and then go on a PR offensive no one will be impressed. Turning up to the Nationals and port tacking the pro’s, or rocking past them downwind in 20 knots out in Hayling Bay at the Worlds is the stuff of legends. Winning the worlds, like Marie Claude in 1968, is…pass that box of Kleenex would you.

The Die hard Mothie.

These guys are the life blood of moths. They were here before foils and will be here long after a decent value production foiler is finally created.
They’re more helpful than anyone you’ve ever met, spew forth eminently helpful advice and seem to have more spares to lend you than you can ever need.
They’re probably from some random pint sized lake in the midlands and drive a van (a van full of moth based tools including work bench, reels of carbon and a homemade enclave), they definitely have knees that would make a surgeon wince.
Sometimes they’ll be faster than the pro’s and sometimes they’ll be DFL. Then they’ll go and smoke 40 cigarettes and drink 10 pints before sleeping in a tent in the corner of the boat park.
They sail with their tongue sticking out and will be awesome with carbon and epoxy.
Make sure you buy them a pint, you owe them for the advice/borrowed tools/spares you’ve had, are currently using and will have soon. You also owe them for the Moth!

So, there it is, tongue firmly in cheek I’m sure you appreciate. I’m sure there will be some mixed opinion on this and definitely a few other classes saying they can match it. In which case let’s see it.

See you in Leylstad.

The Mothies