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International Moth UK National © Mark Jardine / IMCAUK
International Moth UK National © Mark Jardine / IMCAUK

International Moth UK National

Day two at the International Moth UK Nationals proved to be frustrating as the forecast lack of wind came to pass. After a postponement a patchy 7-8 knot wind filled in from the East, just enough to get the fleet foiling and squeeze in a single race.

Race Officer Keith Harris talked us through the frustrations of days like today, ‘We wait to see what the wind is doing – we have to give it time as always. What we’re trying to find here is a steady breeze for a good half an hour at a reasonable speed and then maybe we can start racing. If it keeps moving then we have to wait and see what happens.’

With the Moth fleet a minimum of seven knots of breeze is needed as Keith explained, ‘Anything less than that and it’s going to be very difficult for the fleet to foil. We’re looking for half the fleet to be foiling and then it’s a reasonable race for them, anything less than that and we shouldn’t be racing.’

After watching the wind move from East to South West and then back to East again, the postponement flag was dropped and racing started at 2:20pm on the second attempt. Choosing the right places to tack and gybe proved critical in the race as event leader David Hivey explained, ‘For me – especially being 90 kilos – staying on the foils was the most important part, trying to make sure you tack in the gusts and picking the side of the racecourse you go early so you have more pressure as you’re coming towards the top.

I tried to do that on the second beat and made a right mess of it, losing what would have been a race win by trying to tack to stay in more pressure when it looked like Paton was losing more pressure at the top. I ended up ditching my tack and losing the lead, but the idea was still there.’

The race was shortened to two laps as the easterly faded, with Yealm Yacht Club’s Dan Ellis taking the win, after Ben Paton crossed the line first but was called OCS. David Hivey finished second with Dan Ward third.

Post-race the Moth fleet, who have many connections with America’s Cup teams, were fully engrossed in the superb racing taking place in Bermuda. With many of the sailors getting updates from the teams, it was fascinating to get the inside track as to what is really going on. What is quite clear after the opening races is that this America’s Cup is wide open, and the foiling Moths have been the instigator of the modern version of this event.

by Mark Jardine / IMCAUK

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