Sunday, 9 January 2011

Zhik Moth Worlds 2011 Day One: Turner Turns Up the Heat

Charlie McKee (USA) with wing sail. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

by Pat Langley

Sydney’s Joe Turner (AUS) sailed an almost flawless day taking an early lead on the 1st day of qualification series at the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds sailed at Lake Macquarie, NSW Australia. The self-acclaimed light-air specialist won his fleet with two wins and a second place.

With 115 competitors entered, Race Committee split the fleet into two groups for the qualification series to limit the congestion on the start line and race course.

The 8-12 knot Easterly never delivered the famed sea-breeze, and remained patchy in places with shifts of almost 20 degrees.

Weed woes continued, wrapping around more than a few foils. Sailors in the top end of the fleet such as Turner and Scott Babbage consistently threw in “a capsize or two” during the race to clear their blades.

Tasmanian Rob Gough (AUS) also had a good day in this group posting a 1, 3 and 3 whilst Scott Babbage (AUS) continued his good form and scored a 6, 2 and 2 to be the other standout from this group. Arnaud Psarofarghis (SUI) is the best European and showed that he will be a contender by posting a 4,4 and 6 for the day and is placed 6th overall.

Iain Jensen (AUS). Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

The other qualification fleet featured close racing and amazing comebacks. Iain Jensen sailed a stellar first race, beating his regular Olympic 49er skipper, Nathan Outteridge who finished 5th.

Outteridge bounced back winning race two by a large margin over Tom Slingsby (AUS) and Pete Burling (NZL) who both got through the day relatively unscathed. Slingsby sliding around 5ths while Burling was never out of the top 3.

Chris Rast (USA). Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

Both Outteridge and 2009 Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (USA) staged amazing comebacks in race 3. Both were dead off the start line, and managed to climb up to 20th and 21st, respectively by the first windward mark. By the finish Outteridge was able to claim his second win of the day from Burling and 2008 World Champion John Harris (AUS).

Dalton Bergan currently leads the Americans in 11th place, and the 2010 Moth World Champion from Great Britain, Simon Payne sits in 12th place. 2009 Moth World Champion is presently in 14th place.

Spectators galore flanked the finish line, with cheers erupting as the Moths screamed across the finish. More crowds are expected tomorrow for a 1300 hrs (ADST) start.

The fleets will be re-split for tomorrow’s second day of the qualification series which will run until Tuesday 11th January. The final series begins Thursday, 13th of January after a lay-day on Wednesday.

An alternative report: A Day for Old Dogs and Aussie Men

Note from SailRaceWin: Peter Burling (NZL) currently lies fourth overall - and he is a young Kiwi!

Emma Aspington (SWE). Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

It was a hot first day for the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds with enough Easterly for “Light-air Flyer” Joe Turner (AUS) to turn out a record of 2, 1, 1 and win the day. Aussies make up 4 out of the top 5 after day 1 with Nathan Outteridge in 2nd, Rob Gough with 3rd, and Scott Babbage in 5th. Kiwi Peter Burling cracks in with 4th. But it wasn’t just the “young blokes” leading around the track, there was plenty of – experience – and international flavour breaching the top 10 around the tracks.

Swiss cousins Mikis and Arnaud Psarofaghis (try saying that 10 times fast), both had excellent days, Arnaud pumping out 3 top 10 finishes and Mikis a few in the top 15. Hero moves of the day go to Nathan Outteridge and Bora Gulari who in the last race were dead off the line, rounded the windward mark in 20th and 21st, and both fought their way back to a top 10 finish.

“So this is what it feels like to fly” reports Charlie McKee (USA), the Wing-sail guinea pig. The Wing-sail made a stunning debut after having a tough time at the Nationals and a full-blown smash-up during a practice session on the lay-day. “I’ve never piloted a glider,“ McKee said, “But this is what I imagine how it would feel.” McKee had an excellent beat, winning the first leg of the 2nd race and managed to hold on to a 5th.

Mikis Psarofaghis (SUI). Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co.

Even top sailors get a few butterflies (moths?) in the stomach at World Championships. Brad Funk (USA) started off the day sailing the wrong race in the split fleet starts, who is “pretty glad” it’s a long series. Byrne Lochlin (AUS) might have forgotten to put his bung in, and might have had to raft up on the American support boat to drain his hull…

Some of the followers on Facebook couldn’t believe the live updates: “Old Man Rast beat the young guns?” Sailors all born before 19__, such as Chris Rast (USA), Charlie McKee (USA), Peder Arvefors (SWE) and 3rd over-all Rob Gough all tasted the top 10.

Arvefors, like Rast and McKee, came to the Moth from a strong background in 49ers, as well as some i14s and ice sailing. He’s here with his wife and four kids, “and I think there’s a few cousins too”, proving that you can foil, get top 10 finishes, and have your family, too. He currently sits in 27th overall.

Zhik 2011 Moth World Championships - Belmont Saturday 8 Jan 2011
Rank - Skipper - Country - Sail No. - Race 1 - Race 2 - Race 3 - Pts Overall

1 Joe Turner AUS 3639 2 1 1 4
2 Nathan Outteridge AUS 3750 5 1 1 7
3 Rob Gough AUS 3731 1 3 3 7
4 Peter Burling NZL 3773 2 3 2 7
5 Scott Babbage AUS 7 6 2 2 10
6 Arnaud Psarofaghis SUI 4 4 4 6 14
7 Tom Slingsby AUS 3786 6 2 6 14
8 Matt Crockett AUS 3820 7 4 4 15
9 Iain Jensen AUS 3709 1 9 7 17
10 John Harris AUS 3634 9 7 3 19

Zhik Moth Worlds 2011