Thursday, 6 January 2011

Record Moth Fleet Size: Kamikaze Tactics and the Fight to Foil

Zhik Moth Australian Championship - Day 1

by Lizzi Rountree

Day one of the Zhik Moth Australian Championship had a record-breaking 101 foiling Moths on the start line. Scary thought? “100 boats? It wasn’t too bad - just those port-tackers! The stunt-drivers!” said local Aussie Warren Sare.

The fight to foil was the name of the game. Getting to that first puff and flying up and out of the pack meant everything – and with a pin favoured start line, the fleet was chock-full of kamikaze port-tackers risking all to foil first.

“Once you’re [at the pin], you’re committed to doing something crazy,” admitted Sydney sailor Phil Kurts, adding with a smile, “If you’re going fast enough, a gap will appear.”

Local hot shot Joe Turner took race 1, who 4th at the first windward mark made impressive gains and by lap two lead into the finish. Iain Jensen landed 2nd a whole 6 places in front of his 49er skipper Nathan Outteridge who suffered a bad start and worked back to 8th. Rob Gough, Scott Babbage and Tom Slingsby rounded out the top 5.

After two generals, racers finally got out the gates for race 2, with Nathan Outteridge pulling a kamikaze manoeuvre. He nailed a port start, terrifying more than a few starboard tackers with a few close ducks, and launched into clear air. Outteridge cleaned up with minutes over 2nd place Scott Babbage.

Race 3 started in a puff that cut out when the top guys hit the first mark – further separating those that foiled and those that did not. ISAF Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby lead the 1st first beat, but the lighter and faster Outteridge and Babbage quickly overtook him on the run. Outteridge took the win, after Babbage went for a quick swim putting him back to 2nd.

The mixed fleet of international sailors suffered more than a few general recalls and black flags dragging out the 3 races to a staggering 6.5 hours. Lake Macquarie’s light and shifty South Easterly clocking North challenged the visitors, favoured the locals (top 4 in race 1 were all Lake Macquarie boys), and was universally frustrating.

The forecast promises 10-15 knots and sailors hope to have a full day on the foils on day two of the Zhik Moth Australian National Championships.

Day One Results (top 3)
1st Scott Babbage 4,2,2 8pts
2nd Nathan Outteridge 8,1,1 10pts
3rd Rob Gough 3,3,5 11pts

2011 Zhik Moth Australian Championships