The penultimate day of the Enliven International Moth UK Nationals dawned with a forecast not too dissimilar to the previous cancelled day – a gusty 25 knots gusting 30 in a tidal estuary kicking up a short , sharp chop challenging for even the grandmasters of Stokes Bay. Undeterred, however, following several postponements the class sent out two crash test dummies in the form of Simon Hiscocks & Olivier Vidal. Both returned to shore alive following some bumpy downwind rides, however the prospect of racing 40 Moths gathered from across Europe looked slim. Fortunately a window of opportunity in the weather opened late in the afternoon allowing the fleet to launch into bumpy and challenging conditions.
Race Four of the championship started with 15 to 20 knots of breeze allowing some of the more portly Moth sailors to stretch their legs. The very serious Chris Rashley, closely followed by Simon Payne lead the way, closely followed by Nils Akervall of Royal Swedish Y.C. and James Phare who fought a close battle for third place. Peter Barton, using his cut down foils and local hero Gareth Davies also featured at the top with the latter clearly enjoying the stronger breeze. Eelco Boers, sailing his brand new Ninja also showed moments of impressive speed despite continuing to work through the usual new boat teething issues.
The windspeed increased to 20-25 knots with gusts into the late 20s for Race Five. This changed the sea state particularly at the leeward the gate from mildly confused to schizophrenic, leading frequent place changing and a number of spectacular crashes. Again Rashley and Payne were fast out of the blocks with Peter Barton clearly relishing the conditions not far behind. A Switzerland-Benelux showdown also featured within the race as Eelco Boers and Giovanni Galeotti with his handy bowsprit, fought off challenges from Philippe Kaserman and Fabien Frosch. Again local hero Gareth Davies made the most of the conditions to claim a well earned 6th. Special mention has to go to Simon Hiscocks though who made up for a lack of adjustable gearing with sheer determination to claim 5th.
So overall going into the final day of the championship Rashley leads Payne by 3 points with a close pack of Barton, Davies, Cooke and Tagg vying for third. However with at least 3 more races happening tomorrow in a similarly ‘challenging’ forecast the championship is still very much to play for.