Moth Spring Training at Queen Mary SC


Nobody claims that sailing a Moth is easy, you have to swim just in order to launch one, but since they sprouted wings and learnt to fly the class has grown steadily. In recent years, the fleet has attracted sailors young, old and in between, some with thoughts of championship glory and others just because they want to try out the foiling experience before they die.

This year’s Spring training attracted over 30 sailors, ranging from some who had never sailed their boat, to those wishing to gain tips and hints on foil tacking technique. With such a large and diverse training group, it was decided to split up into ‘Beginners’, led by Jason Russell, ably assisted by James Phare and ‘Intermediates’ coached by Ben Paton and Tom Lambert. The former group focussed on safe launch and recovery, getting foiling and foil gybing. The Intermediates discussed foil tacks, rig setup and holding your lane, then launched into the building breeze for some boat handling practice around a tight triangular course.

Training 1

The conditions were amazing with sunshine, warmth (in March!) and 14-18 kt breeze, with challenging gusts to test the stronger sailors. Intensive training in such conditions will quickly tire you out, and most sailors learnt the hard way that their fitness and nutrition strategy could do with some work. After some strong boat handling performances and dodgy navigation (How can so many sailors get lost around a tight triangular course?), the groups came together for some quick races.

All the Saturday highlights were caught on video for an excellent de-brief by the coaches and rounds of applause for Matt Lea and Bleddyn Mon who did some choice foil tacks for the camera. Posers.

Sunday rolled round and the wind had dropped slightly, the coaching team had also changed, to ensure we were in no doubt that there is more than one way to foil a moth. A slightly queasy Neil Baker was head coach of the Intermediates, helped by Patrick Cunningham, while Phil Oligario took the beginners under his wing.

Neil’s main innovation was the ‘gut-buster’ exercise, a cheeky little course that ensured you rarely had more than ten seconds to catch your breath. The exercise did indeed induce mild vomiting, but only amongst the coaches. After an hour or so of the wind filled in a bit more and the fleets joined together for more racing. With Neil coping with the mild sea sickness that only a large inland reservoir can produce.


Sadly I had to leave before the de-brief, but I am sure it was excellent. The question is what did we learn?

1.We learnt that the Moth Class is doing a brilliant job at looking after newcomers to the class, and much of the benefit was not direct instruction but tips, hints and observations from the whole fleet.

2. Tacking is a bit easier if you ease the kicker. – Who knew?

3. There are lots of people who have put in some good winter training and are looking forward to what will be an epic Worlds at Hayling Island this summer.

Thanks to QMSC, Jason and all the coaches for a cracking weekend and a great start to the season.

Next Weekend (March 15th and 16th) will be the first of the Noble Marine GB 2014 series with the Queen Mary Open Event sponsored by Data to Value. Alex Irwin from Sportography will be on the water taking video and photos.

9th March 2014

Dan Vincent