As a very old and wise, X boat sailor once said to a fellow yachtsmen standing on the dock… “Many a fine days sailing has been ruined by a weather forecast young man”. Nike have a similar strap line, albeit shorter.
So it was for the intrepid band of mothies who ignored the windless forecast and ventured forth to Weston – and had a great event.
The Moths started off the same line as the Foiling 600s, making for an interesting showdown between the fleets.
Race one started in about 8-11 knots, and Simon Payne, Adam May and Paul Hayden were the first up onto foils to pull out into an early lead. Payne lead round the windward mark and with impressive speed just sailed away from the fleet. May extended on the fleet to look safe in second, but Mike Lennon was on a charge. Having been over the line and going back, he came back through the fleet quickly to be up with May at the leeward mark for the second time. But the breeze was dropping now, and in the marginal conditions Adam could keep it in the air in just a fraction less breeze and was able to sail away. With the third lap in a dying breeze the separations soon opened up as more and more time was spent in lowrider mode.
By the start of race two the breeze fortunately had returned. With the Moths in full foiling mode and sailing low and fast off the line to get up on foils, and the 600’s still in seahugging mode it made the starts tricky for some with some rather differing angles being sailed. Payne again popped out early to lead round the windward mark, being chased by Lennon. These two sailing their new Mach 2 moths had a clear speed edge on the rest of the fleet and sailed away leaving a tight battle for third. Hayden, Russell, Adams, Harris, and May had a good tussle. Harris eventually pulled through with good downwind pace to lead the bunch from May. But in a similar pattern to the first race the final run was a lowrider, and Adams pointed at the leeward mark to overtook May who’d tried to search for that extra little puff to get back onto foils but to no avail.
In the Moth vs Foiling 600 showdown it was a clear win to the Moth fleet who were happily foiling in the light breeze, with the leading Moths lapping the leading 600s who just needed that bit more breeze to get up.
With an almost glass-out, Payne was already heading ashore planning his day cruising on his folkboat on Sunday, while the fleet waiting to see if we could get lucky with the breeze for just one more race. It was not to be though, and the race officer sent the fleet home.
The Moth fleet spent the remainder of the afternoon drinking tea, beer and catching up on a load of boat and sail measuring before a decent pub dinner in Netley.
Conditions on Sunday were light, leaving many to ponder the option of sailing or staying ashore to watch the Monaco Grand Prix. The race officer wisely delayed for an hour and a half but a light breeze came in and he scheduled racing for 12:30. Katherine Knight was the only boat to launch, and wobbled out to the race area while the rest considered it too light to don the wetsuits. Katherine arrived just in time for the scheduled start and sailed round on her own to take the bullet. Meanwhile the breeze had built a fraction and the remainder of the fleet headed out.
Race 4 was still very light with marginal foiling just possible. May and Russell were the only ones able to foil off the heavily port biased line, and pulled out on the fleet to round the top mark in that order. May was able to foil round the whole course, while the rest of the fleet had portions of lowriding and comfortably took the win. Russell, Lennon and Harris battled for second with Lennon eventually taking it from Harris.
With a fraction more pressure in race 5, Lennon was able to use his speed advantage over the fleet a little more. The race lead changed hands numerous times as May would foil earlier and for longer, but Lennon had the pace edge to claw the advantage back when foiling. Lennon took the win from May by about 3 lengths, decided on the last tack into the finish. Hayden took third from Carveth to make it a close four way battle for the final podium spot.
For the final race, May once again got foiling early to lead round the top mark, but Lennon got past on the run. May took the lead again up the next beat, only for Lennon to sail through into the lead just before the leeward mark and hold it up the short beat to the finish, to secure the open meeting win. Russell took third, but a fourth for Harris was enough to give him third overall.
An enjoyable weekend was had by all who ignored the forecast and made it down. We had great hospitality by Weston Sailing Club, and some amazing bacon sandwichs’ served up by the girls in the kitchen before racing.
The Moths join in the Weymouth Regatta in two weeks time for the next open of the year.