The Moths were nervous coming back to Weymouth. Visions of sitting on the beach for much of the very windy Worlds last summer were fresh in everyone’s minds.
Saturday did not disappoint. 25 knots, and a nasty sea state proved testing for the majority of the fleet. Slowly the fleet size reduced as some returned ashore due to breakage, and others just decided it was too much. Pitchpoles abound, some opted early for survival mode, while others pushed hard trying to master the conditions. The race committee struggled to get racing off, with numerous postponed starts for the 600 fleet ahead of us.
The battle of attrition resulted in only four boats making the race. Mike Lennon won from Paul Hayden, Jason Russell, and Robin Wood who has made a welcome return to the class. Special mention as well should go to class newcomer James Phare for surviving the day.
Sunday looked to be the complete opposite in conditions, with between 3 and 12 knots showing on the wall data.
Race 2 started in marginal foiling conditions, Adam May, and Alex Adams foiled off the line well, to get a bit of a jump on the fleet. With the fleet tacked onto port, Mike Cooke came through the fleet well in good pressure up the middle while May and Adams struggled for breeze either side. Cooke lead round the top from May and Adams.
By the leeward mark Lennon was up to third, and got passed May up the beat to take second. Cooke managed to round the windward mark in pressure while those behind had a tricky run with the breeze dropping and getting patchier. Andrew Friend, and James Roche foiled down the run in good pressure to pass a lowriding May and Adams, to claim 3rd and 4th behind Lennon.
Race 3 started in more breeze, and saw Mike Lennon demonstrate good pace to lead round the top mark. The fleet was tightly bunched behind, with Hayden, Harris, Adams, Roche, Cooke and May locked together at speed along the top of the run. By the leeward mark Cooke was up into second, with Hayden in third, and May fourth.
A big left shift up the second beat that only seemed to affect the left side caused a bit more shuffling of the pack behind the top three. Cooke got past Lennon on the run to take the lead which he held to the finish. Hayden lost out to May in the battle for third at the final windward mark when he couldn’t quite lay it.
Race 4. A pin end biased line in marginal foiling conditions saw May the only boat able to cross the line on stbd at the pin end and foiling. The fleet had to tack onto port quickly and were unable to get foiling straight away.
Roche and Friend lead the fleet out to the right hand side, but on tacking saw May already at the windward mark having played the left in good pressure and foiling the whole beat. May held this advantage to the finish. Cooke came through the fleet well on the run to get through into second which was enough to give him the open meeting win ahead of Lennon who was third.
Congratulations go to Mike Cooke for the win. It is still early days for him in his new Ninja design, with more speed surely to come. The early season Mach 2 domination has been stopped, and with 6 different designs in the top 7, it could be an interesting season ahead.
The next event for the UK Moth fleet will be the European Championship in Denmark from the 24th – 28th of June.
1st Mike Cooke – Aardvark Ninja hull & foils, Hyde sail
2nd Mike Lennon – Mach 2 hull & foils, Hyde sail
3rd Adam May – Velociraptor hull & foils, KA MSL13 sail
4th Paul Hayden – Bladerider hull & foils, KA sail
5th Andrew Friend – Bladerider hull & foils, Hyde sail