The Five intrepid Mothies from opposite corners of England that ‘rocked up to Rutland’ were treated to stunning winter sunshine to reward their combined efforts in ignoring the forecasted freezing temperatures and 30Knt plus Northerly winds to promote the Moth class in the 200 strong fleet at the annual 2-day Tiger Trophy event.
Following the recognised ’Mothwash’ of the 40th Bloody Mary race a few weeks earlier, this should have been the final round of the Sailjuice.com winter series and also a championship decider for our very own Winter series; but with the Hayling Christmas cracker cancelled and the Steve Nicholson postponed until the 23rd Feb, everything was still to play for and the event promised an open and ideal opportunity to shake off those winter blues, shed a few Kilos and set some records in the process.
The Midday start on Saturday allowed the sheltered but stiff on-shore breeze to build into the 20Knt range that saw only Gareth Davies and Richard Westbury launch, leaving Mike Cooke to tinker with his innovative new Rocket design and Tom Lambert/Jamie Pearson (the ‘Yoof’ of Draycote) drinking tea in the club. The exciting fetch into the more exposed Easterly waters of the start line nearest the Dam offered a challenging prospect in navigating cleanly through choppy and confused fleet race starts. After an exciting 28knt blast around and a few unforced pitch-poles, just as confidence was building and heart rate settling the 30Knot gusts claimed their first victim with Richard Westbury losing his bias adjuster to Neptune and forced to low-ride his submarine home leaving only Gareth Davies to take on the brutal & shifty full on/off challenge.
Race 1 saw Gareth lead the fast fleet around for 40 minutes, finishing 83rd on a corrected 555 handicap; Race 2 saw Mike Cooke launch into the battle but retire before the start with frostbite of the fingers which left only Gareth improving to 64th overall. Race 3 witnessed the arrival of Tom Lambert and the return sight of Richard Westbury in his repaired boat to the race course. At last an opportunity for some Mothing competition, but with Westbury slow to wake up to the conditions and Lambert breaking his newly modified pushrod, Gareth finished a respectable 33rd and Westbury in 96th. After thawing out from the sub zero temperatures and whilst sampling the event sponsors ‘Tiger Ale’, Saturday evening saw the intrepid Mothies head off into the local market town of Stamford for a warm & hearty Curry evening washed down, this time, with Indian ‘Tiger’ lager (apart from the ‘Yoof’ who wisely drank only orange juice and coca-cola’s)!
Early Sunday morning dawned with a welcome 90-degree wind-shift to the West, bringing with it warmer temperatures and lighter winds offering a promising ‘Mothwash’ opportunity for the pursuit race. However, early enthusiasm was soon crushed by 10am as the skies blackened and the wind increased again into the upper 20-Knts range, seeing only Gareth Davies and Richard Westbury prepare and rig early for the Midday start. Then, suddenly at 11.45 am, just as Gareth and Richard were launching, the wind speed started to drop. Mike Cooke was quick to notice the change and, with the help of Tom and Jamie, managed to rig and get afloat for the start. But with the slower fleets already lapping through the very short start line, confusion meant the Moth’s started 3 minutes late with Rich Westbury being forced out committee-boat-end by a Rib. Mike Cooke ended up low-riding at the windward mark and Gareth and Richard caught some pressure and foiled away past the club house. Short-lived frustration was soon replaced by some exciting flat-water foiling as the three carved their way through the fleet, Mike Cook revelling in the light and shifty conditions showing that this Rocket has potential to finish 44th overall, leaving Gareth chasing hard to a DNF and Richard suffering a ‘Jason Belben’ moment protested by a rib driver and forced to retire for missing a Mark out.
The weekend didn’t produce the results we expected. However, with Gareth’s impressive display on Saturday it was great to hear the dinghy park buzzing from widespread Mothing admiration and above all, we enjoyed carving through the fleets immensely with the only losers being those not Mothing!
Final Moth Fleet Results:
1 – Gareth Davies (Stone SC) 1,1,1,DNF
2 – Mike Cooke (NFB SC) , DNC,DNC,DNC, 1
3 – Richard Westbury (Bartley SC) DNC, DNC, 2, DNF
4 – Tom Lambert (Draycote SC) DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC
5 – Jamie Pearson (Draycote SC) DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC
NB: Don’t miss out on the final 2 winter event at the Hayling island Perisher on the 16th Febuary and the Steve Nicholson Race at Northampton SC on 23rd February 2013, limited entries are open again Tuesday 5th Feb, last chance to man up, we know who you are?