2013 Australian International Moth Titles - What a great location for the
Apart from the America’s Cup you probably won’t see a better start list of skippers in any event. Names like Outteridge, Slingsby, Burling, Jensen, McKnight, Babbage, MacDougall. These are superstars of not just this class but high performance Sailing.
To have these names converge on the small town of Wangi (about an hour and thirty minutes north of Sydney) is a testament to the Class and it’s attraction to the best sailors in the world. Slingsby and Outteridge took the week away from busy America’s Cup campaigns to head back to the Central Coast and compete against their mates. These boats are fast, dangerous and exciting to watch.
On Tuesday the fleet had completed in the knock out Winner takes all,’ Bangin the Corners’ Cup. A series of very short course races in front on the club house. The very shallow draft of these boats makes for great close to shore racing in anything over 8 knots. I was stopped in the street on Saturday by an elderly neighbour of the sailing Club. She mentioned that it was the most fun she had in ages, sitting on the back deck with her friends drinking a few glasses of wine and watching the action. She said she had no idea what was going on but it was great fun to watch those crazies going up and down. No wonder sponsrs are flocking to get their names plastered all over these boats.
Sail Sydney had been run with a fleet of 20 or so boats in December without the big names of Outteridge, Jensen, Slingsby and Burling. After the Worlds in Lake Garde in August 2012 it had been a while since the best sailors had gone up against each other. Josh McKnight had taken the title at Lake Garde with training mate Scott Babbage a very close second. This was just after the Olympics so some of the big names were either training for the America’s Cup or getting over a series of Hangovers.
Beau Outteridge has produced some of the best wrap up videos I’ve ever seen for a Regatta. I can’t fault this production and hats off to him for the innovation that is shown with some of the camera work. Here are the Highlights from the races.
Races 1, 2, 3
Races 4, 5 and 6
Races 7, 8 and 9
Races 10, 11, 12 and 13
Pete Burling jumped out of blocks and was never headed the for 2013 Australian International Moth Titles. A 36th in Race 14 the only blemish (which he dropped anyway). His next worst result was a 6th. With 2 drops this gave him an unassailable lead going into the race 14. Talking to the Race committee it was astounding the agility that he was showing in the boat. Very rarely touching the boat down off the foils and making very few mistakes.
Of the Aussies Scott Babbage and Josh McKnight continue their battles to show great boat speed and making very few mistakes. Both sailors never finishing a race outside the top 10. Interestingly the Nathan Outteridge and Tom Slingsby were uncharacteristically inconsistent, trying hard for Boat speed and showing it at times. While still finishing top 10, the top 3 were always there or there-abouts and showed that time in these boats pays off. Sailing a normal dinghy is nothing like this. The Natural tendencies need to be thrown out the window with the Foils changing the weight distribution. Small, nimble movements are the name of the game.
Is this exciting to watch? I don’t know if the Titles themselves will be written about as Tactically brilliant racing. These boats aren’t about Brute force, these are the Cheetahs of the ocean. Not the Rhinoceros. Speed and minimisation of errors is the dominant factor at the moment. similar to the way that high performance Catamarans are sailed, it’s about hitting the corners and sailing fast angles. I have a feeling these boats have a great opportunity to provide some excellent spectator viewing. Not for the tactical ‘Racing Rules of Sailing’ skill set that attracts people to match racing – but for high impact speed to burn, adrenalin type racing. There is a reason that Red Bull have sponsored one of the visiting Japanese boats.