Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Zhik Moth Worlds 2011 - Form Guide

Shall we see Moth sailors walking on water at the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds? Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

by Pat Langley

With the first race of the Zhik Moth Worlds under a week away, all competitors are fine tuning their boats in preparation for what is shaping up to be the most interesting Moth World Championship to date. There is a flood of sailing talent turning up amongst the 115 entries from 10 countries so it is sure to be tight at the top.

There has been a great amount of debate in sailing media around the world about the solid wing sail which both Bora Gulari (USA) and George Peet (USA) have been expected to use when the action begins on January 8th at Lake Macquarie, NSW Australia. However in a late breaking report from Lake Macquarie, it appears that Bora and George may be looking at reverting back to the standard soft sail configuration.

Both were out training yesterday with standard soft sail configurations whilst Charlie McKee (USA) was out testing the solid wing sail instead. Is it possible that there is an element of gamesmanship going on at Belmont at the moment? We may still see the solid wing sail on the race course yet.

Regardless of the sail configuration, the best Moth sailor is going to take out the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds. Let’s take a look at who are the contenders and the chargers for the 2011 Moth World title.

Moth Worlds 2010, Dubai. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

The Contenders

Simon Payne (GBR) Mach 2

Simon is the current Moth World, European & British Champion and is a very consistent performer. Simon dominated in Dubai and came 4th at the Moth Open Europeans. Simon is at short odds to defend his title here in Australia.

Nathan Outteridge (AUS) Mach 2

Nathan, the current Moth Open European champion, has been putting in some solid effort into his Moth Sailing of late, although this has had to take a backseat for a summer of 49er racing down under. Since the last 49er event at Sail Melbourne in mid December, Nathan’s focus has returned to the Moth and with the Worlds being sailed on his home waters of Lake Macquarie, Nathan is tipped to go one better than his 2nd place from the 2009 Worlds in Oregon USA. (Note: Nathan did not attend the 2010 Worlds in Dubai). Interestingly Nathan races while listening to an iPod that is housed on his Moth so expect to hear some cool tunes at the head of the fleet.

Bora Gulari (USA) Mach 2 (Object2 Skiffworks solid wing sail?)

Bora Gulari, 2009 Moth World Champion. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

Bora is the 2009 Moth World Champion and was a close 2nd to Nathan at the Moth Open Europeans this year. Bora is fired up turn the tables on Nathan from the Open Europeans however more importantly he is looking to become the first American to win a Moth Worlds at a venue outside of the USA. Bora is considered one of the favourites and there will be many Americans following his progress with interest regardless of what sail configuration he uses.

Scott Babbage (AUS) Mach 2

Scott has been consistently in the top group at the last three world championships but lately he seems to have found some new speed. Scott impressed at the Open Europeans in August 2010 where he brought home a bronze medal and recently took out the Sydney International Regatta in convincing fashion proving that he should be one to watch. Scott will also have to juggle his other role of Regatta Director for the Zhik Moth Worlds however with some good preparation and delegation, expect his focus to remain firmly on the racing during the Worlds.

A-Mac (AUS) Mach 2

Andrew McDougall (AUS) at the 2010 Moth Worlds in Dubai. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

A-Mac is the “Grand Father” of the Moth Class and the man behind the Mach 2 Moth, which is essentially the weapon of choice for most competitors here at Belmont. A-Mac finished 2nd to Simon Payne at the Dubai Worlds after getting off to a flying start and is known to be quick in a straight line. Whilst there might be some younger and fitter sailors competing at Belmont, you can be sure that the old fox has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Will A-Mac be bringing a standard Mach 2 or will there be a Mach 2.5 at Belmont?

Brad Funk (USA) Mach 2

“Super Funk” came 3rd at the Dubai Moth Worlds and has been putting in the hard yards in his Moth of late. Brad is also increasing his training program for his London 2012 Laser campaign so expect him to be in good shape at Belmont. Brad is known to be very quick in light airs.

Tom Slingsby (AUS) Mach 2

Tom is the current ISAF Sailor of the Year and triple Laser World Champ who has turned his hand to the Moth class over the past twelve months. Tom believes that sailing the Moth provides him a refreshing change to the grind of Olympic/One Design racing as well as a great outlet to have fun and learn more about this exciting form of sailing. Most things Tom does turns to gold, so expect him to master the Moth class sooner rather than later and be somewhere at the top during the Zhik Moth Worlds.

John Harris (AUS) Mach 2

The 2008 Moth World Champ and 2001 18’ Skiff World Champion has been devoting all his time to his Moth over the past twelve months and will be somewhere in the mix at the business end of the regatta. John has campaigned the 18’ Skiff the Rag & Famish over the past ten years and is known as a very consistent performer. John’s company sailingbits.com will be on site during the Zhik Moth Worlds providing all vital equipment needed for competitors including a full range of Zhik gear.

The Chargers

Slalom race at the 2010 Moth Worlds. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) Mach 2

Arnaud has not had a great deal of training opportunities of late in Switzerland, however he has arrived at Belmont with plenty of time to recapture the form which saw him win the 2009 Moth European championships. Arnaud tied for 3rd with Brad Funk at the Dubai Moth Worlds but was relegated to the”leather medal” 4th place position on a count back.

Joe Turner (AUS) Mach 2

Our spies tell us that Joe has been ripping it up at the Lake and has plenty of pace. His form is hard to gauge but if the rumours are true, he is quick and will feature.

George Peet (USA) Mach 2 (Object2 Skiffworks solid wing sail?)

George “Bear” Peet is a Volvo Ocean Race veteran as well as a Melges 32 World Champion with the all-conquering Bliksem Racing Team. Bear was also planning on using his Object 2 Skiffworks solid wing sail at Lake Macquarie however our spy’s tell us that like Bora, he too might be having second thoughts. Bear knows his way around a race track and could feature if things go his way.

Rob Gough (AUS) Mach 2

Gough had a disappointing Moth Worlds in Dubai by his own standards, however he hit back with a solid 6th place at the Moth Open Europeans in 2010. Rob won a couple of heavy air races at the Sydney International Regatta held in December 2010 so he will be looking forward to some strong conditions at Belmont.

Dalton Bergan (USA) Mach 2

The Seattle based charger came 5th at the Dubai Worlds and is a quiet achiever amongst the US contingent at the Moth Worlds. Dalton should be up there if all goes to plan.

Euan Mcnicol (AUS) Mach 2

Euan has won three 18’ Skiff World Championships (2000, 2005 & 2009) as well as a 14’ Skiff World Championship in 2006. Euan is a professional sailor and coach who was one of the key team members on the Secret Mens Business 3.5 which was the overall winner of the 2010 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Euan is no stranger to high performance boats so he will be at home at the Lake in his Moth.

Luka Damic (AUS) Scalpel

Luka will be using a Scalpel Moth that was designed and built by Luka and Marty Johnson in Sydney. On his day, Luka can be very quick and will also be wearing his CST hat during the worlds for anyone who needs any assistance with their CST components.

Adam Beashel (AUS) Mach 2

“Beasho” needs no introduction and is taking time out of his ETNZ America’s Cup and Audi Med Cup responsibilities to jump into the Moth Class and learn all about this exciting form of racing. Beasho only picked up his Mach 2 in early December and has been quickly working out how to make them go. Adam and his family live on Lake Macquarie so he has had plenty of time to train in race conditions over the past month. Having sailors such as Beasho at this event is what makes the Zhik Moth Worlds so unique providing such a range of sailing talent from all sectors of the sailing world.

Charlie McKee (USA) Mach 2

The Double Olympic Medalist and US Sailing legend has been a huge promoter of the Moth class in the US over the past few years. Like A-Mac, Charlie is sure to come to Belmont with a few tricks up his sleeve to keep the young “whipper snappers” in check.

Other sailors who will feature include British Skiff champ, Andy Budgen in his bright yellow machine, IMAC President and former Singapore Sailing High Performance Manager Mark Robinson, Dave Lister from Sydney and Iain Jensen who is Nathan Outteridge’s crew on the 49er.

Japanese National Champion (and Zhik Japan CEO), Hiroki Goto is leading the charge from Tokyo along with long time America’s Cup Trimmer Tatsu Wakinaga who will be competing in his first Moth World championship.

In the Women’s division, we will see some great competition amongst a bunch of talented women sailors including Haylee Outteridge, Samantha England, Emma Spiers, Kerstin Sommer and Emma Aspington from Sweden. Hopefully these talented sailors encourage a larger group of women to join the Moth Class. Emma Spiers points out that the girls need to love the boats because there is not much else too attractive in the boat park!

The “Pre Worlds”, Zhik Australian Moth Championship will be raced this week on January 5th and 6th with the first race of the Zhik Moth Worlds kicking off on January 8th 2011.

Video of Moths in 2010:

Zhik Moth Worlds 2011