|Conditions were cold and very cloudy, with an extremely shifty breeze that favored the right side for most of Day 4 of the CST Composites Moth Worlds, held at Cascade Locks, Oregon. Racing got underway around 11am in flat water and about 15 knots. The wind stayed in the 15-18 range for most of the morning, building for the third race, with the breeze always a bit heavier at the bottom end of the course. Mixing it up for Day 4, the sailors raced three races on a Z course.
Today’s racing set up for an exciting final day, with no change in position for the top five. All eyes will be closely watching 20-year old Arnaud,Psarofaghi, just six points behind Outteridge. Given that, daily, he’s been picking up the pace, sailing extremely consistently, his speed downwind up there with Gulari’s, a second could just be his tomorrow.
Outteridge wasn’t on his usual consistent form: “I was having bad tacks,” he said. “In the last race I capsized on the first beat. I was still sailing the right direction, I just couldn’t execute as well as I have been in the last few days. It was a bit frustrating.”
Picking up some sage advice from Charlie McKee, Gulari knows that focusing on his own game and having confidence that he can make the right calls will be his focus for tomorrow. “I’m going with the flow, just doing what Charlie told me to do - sail the keepers and just cruise. There’s no tactics in this for me, I’m just going out and doing what I do.”
Simon Payne got back out on the water today, with a full-on knee brace after a hospital visit yesterday for his injured knee. In a sport that demands physical agility, it was great to see 45-year old Payne not only get back out there, but take a first and keep his top five position in the fleet. Meanwhile, fatigue is creeping into the ranks, the fleet feeling the physical pressure of staying hard at it these past few weeks, so those in top shape will be well positioned for good results come Saturday.
Notes from the boats
Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI): In the first race, just after the start I tacked pretty early, just after Bora. We went on the right side as the wind was going right. We got a really nice shift and I came back on the left with a nice breeze to go back to the right. I turned the top mark first just in front of Bora and he overtook me on the downwind. On the second upwind, I went on the left and then on the right before him so I could get the shift so I could round the top mark first again, then on the last downwind Bora was just slightly faster and passed me again. It was really tight between the two of us, and really exciting when he was chasing me. I think Bora’s the fastest downwind, I think he has a really good technique downwind, he’s clearly faster than everyone. I did some really nice tacks today, except on the second race I was leading and I did three really bad tacks because I tacked just under the lay-line and Simon passed me there and I couldn’t get him back. It’ll be really hard to take to t6 points from Nathan tomorrow because he’s really consistent but I will try to stay in third place and try for second if it’s possible.
Bora Gulari (USA): This morning Charlie told me just to have confidence in myself and my decisions and I did, and a couple of times it worked out. I had faith in myself when I had leverage on Nathan a couple of times – he’s so smart and he’s so good. I see him split from me and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Does he have it right, or do I have it right?” I remember at least a few times when I looked down and told myself, “I feel good about what I’m doing here.” There was one time in the last race today where I was third around the leeward mark, with Nathan leading followed by Scott. I looked up the course and thought, “I’m tacking out right now, we’re already massively headed and I want to get on this lift.” On the runs, I just like to run away, get away from everyone as fast as possible, that’s if I’m not chasing Nathan. I had much better tacks today. It’s not thinking about it, but just doing it. The breeze was good although I was a little worried it was a little strong at the end of the second race. I throttled back, I think I was in 5th and Nathan was behind me. I felt like I needed to keep putting points up and be ultra aggressive. Dalton was next to me and I’m watching his front foil ventilate and he’s hopping through waves, Scott was pushing really hard, Rohan and Simon were hauling butt, and I was thinking, “I don’t need to break the boat right now.”
Dalton Bergan (USA): I still haven’t got it all figured out – it’s tricky when it’s overcast like this – it seemed like there was more rightie than normal. We usually play the Oregon shore a little more but the right was working better today which was a challenge but the right side does also have the favorable current. I was really close to Nathan a few times but not quite there. Sometimes I think I’m going just as fast, if not faster, I just don’t seem to consistently have the boat speed. Bora’s definitely got better tacks than the rest of us and that’s definitely helping him. I don’t think I’m sailing as smart as I could be. On the last race going into the first beat Nathan and I were basically one and two, but I felt like as the regatta comes to a close I felt like I needed to take a little gamble so I hitched back left. I wasn’t really keeping up with him as he was going a little faster and that killed me, put me back to about 10th or 12th. I haven’t used any big throw-outs yet so I’m looking to start taking some risks. I need some wins basically to have any shot so was trying to gamble a little harder today, but funnily enough my gambles today didn’t seem to change my results!
Nathan Outteridge (AUS): I got a 3, 6, 3, which is okay but Bora obviously got much better results so the distance is a lot bigger than it was at the beginning of the day, which wasn’t the plan but I just wasn’t sailing very well. I think the body just starts getting tired after sailing for so long. The boat’s okay, boat speed is okay, I think a few guys are starting to work it out downwind a little bit, Bora’s definitely the fastest and today for the first time Scott went past him downwind so he’d obviously worked out what to do. It’s frustrating when people go past you through speed but you just have to keep working on it and find away to get it back.
Simon Payne (GRB): I’ve torn cartilage and there’s ligament damage in my knee, but I went out again today as I thought I couldn’t do anymore damage so as long as I took enough pain killers…and I didn’t have much else to do! I was alright in the first race, which was encouraging because it was breezy again and being light and hiking with one leg, well…I had a great second race and won that. I got a good start, I found some speed and was trying to minimize my tacks and just stayed to windward of the group and went around the top mark in 4th or 5th. I’ve been getting faster and faster downwind and I think I went around the next windward mark second and got on the run to the finish. My strategy downwind was just, don’t blow this, just stay in the flat water, if you don’t win this race that’s fine, but just get a good result. Fortunately the breeze was on that side and I screamed through and that was that. Life’s a lot easier when you’re in the top five. In the last race, it was nothing to do with my leg, I was stupid and stacked it on the last run trying to sneak inside Rohan and Rob Gough. I’m kind of reaching Rohan right now and am just so pleased that Arnaud’s made great gains, he’s a great sailor, he’s young, very natural. He’s going really fast, he’s in a Mach 2 and I think the Mach 2s have a little bit of an edge. So, great day, I’m really happy with things, and sometimes racing’s just fun, right?
Morgan Larson (USA): It’s been a wild ride for me. I’m really enjoying the Moth. I’ve got my boat almost a year ago but I haven’t really put that much time into it. This has been a great spot for the event. I think Cascade Locks has a lot to offer to a lot of fleets and classes. It’s the perfect venue for the Moth and it’s been a big learning curve for me. I’m having fun but today was a little frustrating for me as my foil wasn’t working right. These boats have a lot going on. Bora’s got a nice lead now and is sailing the boat really well. If there’s anybody who could beat him it would be Nathan just because he’s so skilled and such a good sailor with some World Championship wins so he knows what it takes. I think this is Bora’s first (World event), so I am sure he’s got that wondering in the back of his head, “How can I not screw this up?”
Brad Funk (USA): Today wasn’t as good as yesterday. I had decent starts but maybe I didn’t de-power enough – I felt like I was getting thrown around a lot in the shifts and puffs. It was more challenging for me dealing with that. I was a little off, probably a little tired, and having to make decisions when you’re like that the boat handling starts to slip. Definitely if your tack slips more you lose heaps on the front group. My starts seem to be okay but after that I seem to start making mistakes and they start reaching by me again.
Rohan Veal (AUS):I still can’t find this leak in my boat. I had to go ashore to drain the water out and at least five or six liters came out. That wasn’t helping me in the first two races. In the second race I thought I’d do something stupid and start on port and cross the fleet. I played the shifts really well and was going much quicker and got a really nice shift out to the right. Rob Gough and I paid off well on that. Then Scott, Nathan, myself and Rob – 4 Aussies – all rounded in the top 4, then it was a game of trying to find the right pressure downwind and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. I did okay in that race and it seems I couldn’t have done much better than that with what I had so I was reasonably happy with it. The competition is very good and there’s just no room for error at all. You just drop so many places if you make a small mistake. We’re really happy with the way Nathan is going on his Bladerider – he’s certainly not slow against Bora who is a little bit quicker but also a bit heavier – anything could still happen on the last day. Should be good racing.