Monday, 15 March 2010

Day Six Report from PUMA International Moth Worlds

Simon Payne (GBR) still on top going into the final day

The fleet at the PUMA Moth Worlds in ´Day 6. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

by Bridgid Murphy

Three races were held Saturday for the Puma Moth World Championships in more light winds off the coast of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club. Along with most of the competition, UAE resident Glenn Raphael has been surprised by the light conditions this week. "It's pretty testing out there. Most of our training has been in the 12-15 knot range, and we've just had very little practice in these conditions," said Raphael. "Still, I'm having fun and that's what really matters."

With only one day remaining, Simon Payne (GBR) tripled his three point lead from yesterday over Brad Funk (USA). "It's damned hard work, and I guess I've got a good lead but I can't seem to win a race out there," said Payne, regarding his performance. "I'll look at the board, won't be doing anything differently, maybe have a few beers, read my book, then go to bed."

Funk, who earned two come-from-behind, first-place finishes for the day had a 13th in the second race, making Payne's lead all-but untouchable barring catastrophe.

Brad Funk (USA), Anna Tunnicliffe's husband, on Day 6 of the PUMA Moth Worlds. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

Andrew McDougall (AUS) continued his strong performance with a decisive victory in race two, lifting him over Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) for the final spot on the podium with just two races left in the 2010 championship. Psarofaghis had a disappointing performance, his worst of the week, with a 17th and a 15th on Saturday.

Amazingly, the first and third-place racers are among the oldest in the fleet. Payne (45) explains that "age isn't a barrier unless you think it is. You've got to stay fit and do your own thing and you can do well,”he said. "Who says this is a young man's game?" said McDougall. "Our average age is 50 years old, and we're not getting any slower either."

After making major changes to his boat, top level pro sailor George “Bear” Peet (USA) had his best day of this championship with two solid top ten finishes, but he remained baffled by the conditions. "There's no rhyme or reason to the wind. You can sail 20 degrees higher and faster than a guy 10 feet away from you. It'll make you go crazy.” With so much experience in sailing other classes he explains that “Moth sailing requires every aspect of your sailing ability to be at the top if you want to do well in this class. It's made me so much better in my other sailing."

In the women’s division, Emma Aspington (SWE) has opened up a 17 point lead over Kirsten Sommer (UAE). As the event has progressed both have gotten quite a bit faster. "This is one of the best regattas I've ever been to in any class. The people are so nice and helpful but it is still extremely competitive,” said Aspinton. These women have been sailing impressively consistently finishing in the middle of the men’s fleet.

Two races are scheduled for Sunday, the final day of the 2010 Puma Moth World Championship.

PUMA Ocean Racing

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