The forecast for the weekend of the 20th/ 21st of November was perfect with winds between 10 – 18 knots for both days so it was with great anticipation that I attended my first Moth Training Camp.
With the promise of Mike Lennon, Ricky Tagg and Mike Cooke being on hand to coach us all, it left no doubt in my mind that this kind of event is they way forward in the future.
After a early briefing, we were split in to groups dependent upon skill level/ time spent sailing a moth.
I was in Mike Lennon’s group along with a few familiar faces and some not so familiar.
The format was upwind downwind to practice the all important tacking and gybing. The wind by this time was gusting into the high teens which was exactly the wind range I have problems gybing in. Mike Lennon and Mike Cooke took turns following me down the runs in the rib to see where I was going wrong and they were able to diagnose pretty quickly where I needed to concentrate my efforts.
Sunday dawned with similar winds which saw many of the newcomers remain ashore as the prospect of spending another three hours on the water was too much for mind, body and boat with several reports of broken bits!
I headed out for a quick stint to see if I could put any of what I learned from the day before in to practice and I was finally able to achieve a single perfect foiling gybe exiting at full speed, smooth and without incident which made me realise that all of my previous efforts in medium to strong winds were hit and miss.
Again the session on the water was followed by a debrief and this time we had footage of Simon Payne and Jason Russell to see how it’s done correctly.
Helen Rollinson was the dark horse of the weekend showing off her rib driving skills and she also excelled in organising the whole weekend.
It must be said that the combined training skills of Mike Lennon, Ricky Tagg and Mike Cooke shone through and the fact that they freely donated their time to this training camp is pretty incredible and fully appreciated by all who attended.
The weekend was a great success and only the second of it’s kind in the world. I know that the training events are at least as popular as the racing circuit events and this is down to the fact that a lot of the mystery of moth sailing is being dissolved as the boats become easier to tune, set up and ultimately sail.
Mike Lennon’s take on the weekend…
“It was great to see so many new faces over the weekend with a varied mix of experience ranging from the world Champion to first timers in the Moth. The low temperatures didn’t chill the enthusiasm of all 20 boats in attendance. Saturday’s early briefing meant the first group were afloat by 10am making the most of the 12 knot breeze and full harbour.
Myself and Mike Cooke were able to watch individual technique and to try and tailor solutions for each sailor. Most problems were timing related and it was good to have the Likes of Si Payne on hand to take pictures of and make comparisons against best practice. It was also great to see Simon, Richard Lovering, Jason Russell, Alex Adams and Tom Offer lining up to do tuning runs.
The evening debrief included analysing some footage of Simon doing 99% full foiling tacks highlighting balance and positioning – Always being slightly ahead of the boat regarding timing of the tack. Sunday was very similar but building on the first days practice. We were able to break down a very steady tack performed for us by Jason Russell, this again emphasized steering, speed vs body position vs boat heel.
At the end of the day the hardy did some short course races. After we received a stern talking to from the race committee of our neighboring club, for racing to fast near their fleet, we moved our mark so as not to offend the faint hearted!
Many thanks to all who attended and making it so worth while and to the coaches Mike Cooke and Rod Harris and thanks also to HISC for allowing us to take over the club…”
It was indeed great to see so many new faces but annoying that they are so talented. It seems the moth class is the class of champions. Some of the new faces were previous national champions in classes like the Musto Skiff, RS800 and others. Thanks to these training camps, there is no longer the painfully long voyage of discovery, learning to sail in isolation and suffering slow progress along the way. I wish these events existed three years ago! I would have progressed far quicker if they had.
On that note, I urge anyone who owns a moth and is too worried about looking bad sailing one, to get yourself along to the next one and you’ll take a massive step forward in mastering these amazing machines!
I for one look forward to the next training camp scheduled for sometime early next year.
Special thanks go to all those who organised and helped out with training… Mike Lennon, Mike Cooke, Ricky Tagg and Helen Rollinson.
Special mention to Mike Lennon also for winning the Travellers Trophy last won by Sam Pascoe back in 2006 (not that Mike knows it yet!) Well done Mike!