Weymouth GP 17/18 May 2014 by Ben Paton (Roving reporter)
38 enthusiastic Mothies turned up last weekend at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, known to Moth sailors as “Foiltown”, looking to benchmark their performance and check out the competition at the latest round of the Noble Marine Grand Prix series, especially as the Worlds is only 2 months away. After having such a fantastic Nationals last year every one remained optimistic even with a dubious forecast. Unfortunately the wind god’s teased us during the day us so we sent out the class guinea pig, Kyle Stoneham, to test the wind but no foiling although this may have been because his haircut weighed him down.
Most sailors decided enough was enough and headed to Portland’s famous Cove pub to enjoy a cider on what will be one of Weymouth’s warmest evenings of the year.
Sunday morning and a nice 8-10 knots was blowing just in time for our 10:30 start with 5 races scheduled. Mike Lennon, using his latest design from his newly started sail company: Lennon Design, took full advantage of the port end bias with Rob Greenhalgh in the middle and Paton at the starboard end but with clear air and pace. Chris Rashley started on port and headed to the right only later to get nailed by a left hand shift and less pressure. Paton put the hammer down and deliberately closed in on Greenhalgh to stop him from tacking on the layline. Mike Cooke and Ricky Tagg were close behind but it was Lennon who comfortably led followed by Greenhalgh then Paton who was being hunted by Cooke downwind.
At the leeward mark, Robert tacked of onto port hoping there was still more left in the wind. Paton playing it safe decided to cover the boats behind this time. Greenhalgh made a nice gain before blowing it at the top mark by having to complete an extra 2 tacks. Jason Belben, who tacked out to the left, also closed the gap on Paton and tried hard go for the lee bow, which is quite easy when you only weigh the same as a bag of sugar. It was just a little late as now on the layline both boats came of the foils and it was only Paton who could get up foiling again pulling away to the finish. Rashley pulled up to round in 6th with Ricky Tagg.
With a sprint to the finish downwind we travelled at a boring 17 knots in 7 knots of wind. Lennon showing Greenhalgh his pace wins followed by Paton and Tagg.
With the southeasterly wind dissipating with the heat, we were all trying to stay foiling throughout the 2nd start sequence pulling figure of eight like courses ready to smash the line. Rob Greenhalgh fancied a bit of port action but Paton knew his game and shut the door on him. This left nobody foiling at the start until Paton made the most of his two pumps (so he says) got going and was first up on the foils followed by Neil Baker. Paton tacking into some pressure near the lay-line came off the foils and watched Rashley cruise out to the lay line at 14 knots before making an awesome tack to stay on the foils and take the lead at the top mark, however putting in an unusual capsize around the mark allowed Paton to close the gap. No longer foiling Paton tried to sail over the top of Rashley downwind only to be luffed head to wind allowing mike Lennon to join the battle. It was a long trek down to the finish not on the foils as we watched Ricky Tagg who rounded the top mark just inside the top 10 found pressure and was closing the gap and fast!!! eventually falling of the foils just boat lengths in front of the leading trio. Rob Greenhalgh’s lack of experience led him trying to foil in the same gust as Ricky Tagg used to foil but failed. The results were Tagg, Paton, Lennon closely followed by Rashley. Neil Baker did well to finish in 5th ahead of South African Jonathan Heathcote.
Our thanks go to series sponsor Noble Marine for their continued support and our Clothing Partner Magic Marine for their generous support with prizes for the UK Class and support of the upcoming UK National and World Championships at Hayling Island, July 16th-25th
Report written by Ben Paton. Moth coaching available see: www.benpatonracing.com