The Enliven International Moth UK Championships has a truly international flavour with competitors from Belgium France, Holland, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the UK. With a shifty South Easterly breeze with significant variations in both pressure and direction and three races, it was always going to be a game of snakes and ladders. Whilst boat speed is important it was going to be a case of “head out” and avoiding the many snakes lurking on the race course.
After a short delay due to a 30 degree wind shift the fleet got away with a clean start in 15 knots and flat water. Chris Rashley, in his new Maguire boat, made his intentions clear with an early break for the lead followed closely by Mike Cooke and James Phare. The snakes and ladders came into play over the following laps but Chris showed good speed and sense to hold off all comers to take the win from a hard charging Simon Payne in his Mach 2 followed by Mike Cooke and James Phare in new Ninjas.
The second race again saw Rashley take the early jump followed by Mike Cooke, Ricky Tagg and Simon Payne. With Cooke, Payne and Tagg swapping places over the ensuing legs and laps Rashley simply had to keep between the fight behind and the next mark as these four extended from the fleet. In the end Rashley held his lead from Payne, Cooke and Tagg.
Race 3 saw a hectic start with a number of competitors playing safe and responding to the individual recall. Payne turned the tables leading round the top from Rashley, hot on his heels. Giovanni Galeotti, in a unique and very different Ninja, was finally on the ladders instead of snakes and was in pursuit of the top two. On the second beat the wind dropped with most falling off the foils – it was time to get the tide right and hunt for pressure. Payne worked the tide well and developed a big lead. Richard Westbury made the most of the opportunity and foiled round a group of boats to arrive at the windward mark close behind Rashley with Nils Akervall from Sweden in contention. Rashley, Westbury and Akervall found the pressure to foil towards the end of the run the run but despite not being able to foil, Payne’s lead was enough to give him the race win.
It has been tight at the top but this continues all the way down the fleet and a lot of rivalries will continue during the week but the early indications suggest that Rashley and Payne are a jump ahead with experience winning out over youth! Mike Cooke is stalking them with two thirds but a retirement in one race drops him down the leader board but when discards kick in it will be all to play for. A healthy mix of designs in the top 5 (2 Mach 2, 2 Maguire and 1 Ninja) shows that choice of boat is not the be all and end all even in this fast evolving class.
Pos Helm Club Points
1st Simon Payne Hayling Island 5
2nd Chris Rashley Stokes Bay 6
3rd Ricky Tagg Hayling Island 19
4th Rich Westbury Bartley 20
5th Gareth Davies Stone 24