Friday, 7 January 2011

Zhik Moth Australian Championships: Outteridge Dominates on Final Day

Nathan Outteridge: Zhik Australian Moth Champion 2011. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

by Pat Langley

On the final day of the Zhik Moth Australian Championship, Australian Nathan Outteridge sent a strong message to his rivals for the forthcoming Zhik 2011 Moth Worlds - improve or expect more of the same.

Nathan won all three races of the day to finish the regatta on 5 points overall with his drop race of 8th place in race one denying him a clean sweep.

Conditions improved on the final day generating full foiling conditions of 8-12 knots from the east south east that allowed the leaders to complete each race in less than 25 minutes. The racing was much closer on day two, with many of the internationals starting to get back into form. Most notable was Brad Funk (USA) who improved today posting solid results of 6, 5 and 4 after a "difficult" day one.

In race one of the day, the öeft hand side of the race track was heavily favoured and resulted in most competitors approaching the top mark on the port tack layline. Nathan Outteridge dominated from the start to win from Pete Burling (NZL) and local Scott Beeby (AUS) in 3rd. ISAF Sail of the Year, Tom Slingsby (AUS), broke his forestay before the start of race one of the day, however, he was able to repair it in time for race two.

Race two took three attempts to get a clean start which eventually saw PRO Peter Moor pull out the black flag to show that he meant business. In the next attempt to start, Rob Gough (AUS) was singled out and disqualified for being over the line early, as was Tom Slingsby. Rob Gough went on to win the race, but the silence from the committee boat alerted Rob to his disqualification. This left Nathan Outteridge as the winner of this race, with Scott Babbage (AUS) in 2nd and the consistent John Harris (AUS) in 3rd place.

The final race of the series was an extravaganza for the locally based "Moth Squad" with all team members taking out the top three places in this race. Nathan Outteridge closed out the regatta with a tight win from Joe Turner (AUS) and Tom Slingsby in 3rd.

The "Moth Squad" is a group of Lake Macquarie based sailors led by Joe Turner who spend all their time training and learning new moves and tricks on their foiling Moths.

Scott Babbage celebrated his 2nd place overall by performing a spectacular crash on the finish line of the last race, which received rousing applause from spectators.

Joe Turner's 2nd place in race 6 was enough to see him claim third place overall and prove that he is the real deal for the 2011 Zhik Moth World Championships.

New Zealander 49er champion, Peter Burling had a great series, and showed that he will be a threat at the Zhik Worlds, to take 4th place overall and 2008 Moth World Champion John Harris sailed consistently well throughout to round out the top 5 overall.

With the 2011 Australian Moth Championships now completed, all eyes will focus on race one of the 2011 Zhik Moth World Championships which start tomorrow, 8th January, at 1300 ADST. Can the internationals bounce back? It is surely going to be an exciting regatta.

Results and images from the final day's racing for the Zhik Australian Moth Championships 2011 may be viewed on SailRaceWin.

Zhik Moth Australian Championships 2011