A small group of Moths (a wing) arrived with high expectations on Lymington Town Sailing Club, our hosts for the penultimate open meeting of the year. The fleet rigged in the sun on the lawn at LTSC in a light Northerly breeze but at the briefing came the bad news – average of 5 knots of breeze and a 3 knot tide. Whilst the wind swung to the south west the thermal never came in so the day was spent sampling a fine selection of Helen Rollinson’s cakes and providing customer feedback prior to the launch of her new business venture, which will be an undoubted success. There was also much discussion around recent innovations in the class in terms of builders, sail makers and new gadgets.
Despite a determined effort by a small group to boost the bar profits and deplete the bar stock, the fleet arrived early on Sunday and an air of excitement and anticipation was apparent, as everything looked great with average wind speed of 11 knots and gusts of 17 knots and the sun shining. The fleet enjoyed the sail out of the river foiling past the 6 knot speed limit sign at around 16 knots. As the fleet waited to start the breeze began to fade and the tidal effect became apparent along with a large amount of feathery weed. As boats foiled the speed gradually reduced and they were finally grounded, requiring a quick capsize to clear the foils which seemed to have enough plant life on them to restock a medium sized garden centre.
After a short postponement, the race office began the start sequence in a shifting and patchy breeze. Alex Adams and Rod Harris were first out of the blocks with a clean set of foils and hooked into some pressure to take an early lead. Shortly after this Ricky Tagg and Jonnie Hutchcroft were up and flying and in pursuit but most of the remaining fleet were resigned to low riding for the beat.
As they approached the layline for the windward mark, Rod pulled off a well executed foiling gybe instead of tacking and closed distance on Alex and so they rounded the windward mark approximately 30 metres apart, followed a bit later by Ricky and Johnnie. Tom Whicher displayed his low riding moth expertise and rounded 5th from Phillipe Oligario, who was attending his first ever event, and Piers Thomas.
Rod and Alex stayed in pressure all the way down the run with Rod showing good speed and closing on Alex as the approached the leeward mark. The next two boats also managed to foil most of the way down the run in a dying breeze however the next group was condemned to a long and tortuous drift with the tide.
Battle was joined for the next beat in a dying breeze and against a 3 knot tide. The key tactic was to capsize and clear the foils every 2-3 minutes to maintain speed over the ground, which Rod did to great effect to close right up to Alex. After a long and painful beat, Alex was able to hold Rod out at the windward mark to claim the win. Unfortunately for those further back, it quickly became simply a case of simply stemming the tide with the breeze fading rapidly. The fleet was then effectively locked in place until the race was curtailed before one or two got swept past Hurst Castle on the ever increasing tide.
The fleet was picked up by the attending ribs and brought back to shore, to be welcomed with a beverage of choice on the slipway, which brightened everyone’s day. Lymington Town were excellent hosts, made the best of unfortunate conditions and made the fleet extremely welcome. I am sure the event next year will be well attended and with good breezes will be a highlight on the calendar.
1st Alex Adams
2nd Rod Harris
3rd Ricky Tagg
4th Jonnie Hutchcroft
5th Tom Whicher
6th= Piers Thomas
6th= Phillipe Oligario