Sunday, 2 January 2011

Preview of 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds on Belmont Bay

by Vicki Engert

Belmont 16ft Sailing Club has again a full agenda for the month of January with back to back regattas starting from the 28th December with the 29ers and Arrow National Championships running consecutively, the Flying 11 Nationals and not least the Zhik Moth World Championships.

The Moth Class Worlds were last on Lake Macquarie in 1995. That event at South Lake Macquarie ASC was a great success with about 95 entries from UK, Japan, NZ and Aust, And now they’re back…...This time on Belmont Bay.

The International Moth is an eleven foot long, high performance, single handed racing dinghy. The moth is one of the few development classes left in the world and have very few design rules including no weight limit. They encourage innovation just as much as they encourage sailing skill. They are known for their wacky designs, and almost as importantly, they welcome unconventional sailors with open arms. The moth unlike any other sailing craft balances on “hydrofoils” they rise above the surface of the water and skate across the waves at break neck speed. This year will be another jump in innovation with the US team carrying a solid wing in place of the usual fabric sail.

The phenomenal growth in the class internationally in recent years has seen an increase in countries involved in Mothing, and consequently the numbers at Belmont have exceeded expectations with 120 boats travelling from Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, USA and Australia.

The Zhik 2011 International Moth World Championships will feature some of the World’s best sailors on their home turf. Included in the high calibre fleet will be 3-time Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby and current Moth European Champion Nathan Outteridge. Born and bred on Lake Macquarie, Outteridge will be keen to claim the Moth World Championship to add to his swag of titles. However, he will not go unchallenged, “To some extent I feel I have home waters advantage, I’ve spent my life sailing on the lake... It’s a great place to sail. There are many people who could win the worlds... there will be a number of past world champs in the fleet and no doubt there will be a handful of other top sailors who are new to the class like Tom Slingsby. I think it will be a close fought regatta and I am really looking forward to it.”

Fellow Australian and 2008 World Champion, John Harris, will be another serious contender for the World Title. Having put aside his 18ft Skiff aspirations, Harris has put it all on the line in the quest for his second Moth World Championship. “Whilst the competition will be tougher... the ingredients to be successful are the same – a fast and reliable boat, excellent boat-handling, sound race tactics and good physical fitness and recovery. I will be doing my best to be as strong as I can be in all of those areas!”

While they may claim home court advantage, the Australians will not have it all their own way. 2009 World Champion Bora Gulari is making the trek down under, along with reigning World Champion Simon Payne.

This regatta, will be one of the premiere events in the world of competitive sailing, and has attracted top level sailors from across the globe who will test their skills out of Belmont 16s on beautiful Lake Macquarie. The Pre Worlds will be held from 4th to 5th January with the Worlds following to 14th January.

2011 Zhik Moth Worlds