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Baptism By Fire @ 2019 Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals

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  • Baptism By Fire @ 2019 Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals

    2019 Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals Day 1: Baptism of Fire
    mark jardine all verbs and photos

    There was a marked reluctance from the fleet to launch today from the Castle Cove Sailing Club dinghy park as they looked out onto the white horses covering Portland Harbour. It was only 20 minutes before the 1pm start gun that a deluge of Moths flew to the start line, battling on the edge of control.
    Under an overcast sky, the Race Officer wasted no time in getting the fleet away, knowing that the wind was forecast to increase, catching out some who waited too long on the shore.

    From the off Dylan Fletcher showed why he’s favourite for the event, with only the USA’s Brad Funk sticking with him upwind before Dylan hit the afterburner down the run, extending throughout to take the win.
    “Upwind today we were hitting 19.5 to 20 knots, which was getting a bit wild, and downwind I peaked at 31.4 knots which is pretty good considering it was windward / leeward, rather than just reaching to get a top speed - it shows how the boats are moving. It was an exciting day!” said Dylan.

    In the second race things didn’t go so smoothly, with Dylan ditching it in a few times as he explains:
    “The boat was great today, but I was thinking a lot about how to stay safe on the runs, and I had a game plan of being slightly shy of the lay-line, and that turned out to be pretty bad news. Some of the older guys who were just doing one tack and one gybe, slightly over-standing, seemed to be taking the safer option. Maybe I was trying to race it a bit hard and I paid the price, getting stuck in the death-zone just above the leeward gate.”

    Even with these capsizes, Dylan leads after two races with a total of five points.
    French sailor Benoit Marie didn’t make the first race, but blasted round the course in the second race to take third place with a constant smile on his face as he describes:
    “It was full on! When I missed the first race it was beautiful to watch the action, but once I was out racing in the second, the aim was to hang on, stay upright and just send it, especially downwind. I loved it today – it was a lot of fun. It’s so cool, the boat is whistling, you know you’re right on the limit and you have to steer through the waves. It’s just fantastic!”
    Kyle Stoneham has recently switched from an Exocet to a solid-winged Rocket Moth so we found out what it has been like changing between the two designs:
    “The Rocket is definitely more difficult to sail, but I think there’s more potential speed there, if you can somehow get it out of the boat. I felt moments of absolute pace, but also contrasting moments of very little control! Trying not to under-lay the leeward marks downwind and reducing your manoeuvres, while upwind not over-laying the windward marks is key to getting around the race track. Coming into the windward mark on a reaching angle is very difficult, especially when you have a gate. Once you’ve completed the bear-away and can see, it’s exhilarating, you’re then looking for your gybe and keeping an eye on the waves, trying to stay above the water! It was an awesome day.”

    Top female sailor Josie Gliddon didn’t have the best start to the event:
    “After I finally got out on the water after having problems with my cunningham, I just couldn’t keep the boat upright, so I didn’t even make a start! It was just too much today – I’ve found the limit! I still enjoyed it, you just hang on and try and stay in control. Clearly that doesn’t always happen! But every time you go out you get a little bit better and I learnt something new today – how to right the boat like a windsurfer – water-starting every capsize!”

    For some of the elder statesmen of the fleet it was a tough day on the water, as Ricky Tagg describes:
    “It was fun, it was fast, it was furious and also a bit wet at times. Unfortunately, the body was failing, but the boat failed first with a broken shroud. It should all be fine for tomorrow.”
    James Sainsbury documented his home-build of Valkyrie on and last year and it’s fantastic to see him now enjoying the fruits of his labour out on the racetrack:
    “The boat is absolutely fantastic, solid upwind and downwind, and has some incredible pace in a straight line, logging well over 30 knots during the winter. It’s quite difficult to sail with a very low boom making it a small area to get through during the manoeuvres, but I’m learning and developing new systems all the time. It was particularly well-behaved in today’s breezy conditions.”

    Paul Williams, Managing Director of Wetsuit Outlet had these words to say about their title sponsorship of the event:
    “Wetsuit Outlet is delighted to return this year, growing our sponsorship to be the lead sponsor of the Moth Nationals. As the largest online retailer of premium performance sailing brands, such as Zhik and Gill, it’s a perfect association to be involved in the all-action Moth class.
    “Over the last 14 years Wetsuit Outlet has grown to be Europe’s biggest dinghy and yacht sailing retailer, supporting everyone from the leisure sailor to the serious racer, by offering the best customer service and next day delivery from our extensive stock.”

    IMCA UK (the UK Moth Class Association for those not into acronyms) is fortunate to have the support of some key sponsors who we’d like to thank individually below:
    Noble Marine Insurance have been involved with the class for many years and probably provide the best service to Moth sailors when things don’t go as smoothly as planned. A quick chat with the sailors in the dinghy park will reinforce this.

    Allen Brothers have been designing and manufacturing high quality deck hardware in the UK for many years. Their XHL blocks are in use in many of the kicker systems across the fleet thanks to their extraordinary load-bearing capabilities - it does no harm that they look the business as well.

    Maguire Boats are the builders of the market-leading Exocet Moth but have supported designs of every flavour during class events. Simon and his team work tirelessly to ensure that every sailor spends as much time as possible during a championship on the water.

    Shock Sailing are based just around the corner from Castle Cove SC at Portland, servicing high-performance boats at the WPNSA and around the world. This is a company which is always innovating, and they are loaning a RIB for the Nationals.

    The Rutland Moth Squad are a growing band of competitive sailors who are notching up some top international results. They take the phrase ‘loyal to the foil’ to new levels and the class are actively looking to add Rutland to the Grand Prix circuit.

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