Outteridge to the fore

As Simon Payne has a shocker on the penultimate day of the Zhik International Moth Nationals in Geelong

Saturday January 24th 2009, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: United Kingdom
With just one race remaining, Australia’s Nathan Outteridge has moved into first place on the Zhik International Moth Nationals pointscore thanks to consistent seconds, five all up from nine races. And his nemesis Simon Payne made the mistake Outteridge was waiting in the wings for.

“I can’t seem to win a race but I’m good at coming second,” laughed a cold and wet Outteridge following this evening’s ‘dash for cash’ off the breakwater at Royal Geelong Yacht Club. “I’ve been consistent and I haven’t made too many mistakes, when I have they haven’t cost me too much,” Outteridge added.

The big news of the day was pointscore leader heading into this afternoon’s races, s Simon Payne, was OCS in race eight and DNF in race nine after he split his trampoline from end to end and broke an axle, damage that will require overnight repairs before tomorrow’s decider.

In race eight Payne ( Mach 2) and Outteridge ( Bladerider) were both running down to the start and were on the wrong side of the line when the starting signal sounded. Outteridge, an Olympic 49er sailor, realised he had jumped the start and returned to re-start while Payne failed to acknowledge the race committee’s call and was subsequently scored OCS , which attracts the maximum penalty.

When the final scores are tallied tomorrow, following the tenth and final race, each competitor’s two worst race results will be dropped.

Bora Gulari from the USA took charge of race eight from the outset, beating Outteridge, who is putting in an extraordinary performance given he’s just 12 weeks into the class, and Psarofaghis Arnaud ( Oyster Fund).

In race nine David Lister ( Manic) beat the fleet, a result that has moved him into third overall, with Outteridge second and John Harris ( Sailingbits.com) finishing third in that race.

Today’s conditions were a mixed bag with the Moths spending part of the afternoon in postponement until the winds abated on Geelong’s Corio Bay.

In race eight the course was laid for a westerly breeze, which was shifting left and right. Eventually it clocked left to the sou’east with the final five Moths finishing their race in a sou’easterly sea breeze.

In race nine the sea breeze picked up to 16-18 knots, peaking at 22 knots.

While the breeze was at its freshest in the middle of the day, some contesting the Zhik International Moth Nationals, being conducted in conjunction with Skandia Geelong Week, were a little nervous about heading out but for 19 year old Samantha England from Melbourne, it was a case of ‘bring it on’.

The tall blond cuts a striking figure amongst the near 40 Mothies vying for their national title. She’s one of only two women on the starter’s list and she’s the only one sailing on foils with the second woman on the entry list, Kylie Lowry from St George Sailing Club in Sydney, sailing a low rider or scow Moth.

“I love sailing upwind in heavy air,” England admitted today. “I’m heavier and taller than a lot of the guys and I give them a lot of grief both on the water and on the beach. When I beat them they don’t like it at all,” laughed the vivacious sailor who joined the class 18 months ago from Laser Radials and won the women’s division at last year’s World Championship. “I prefer to race against the guys but it would be good to have a lot more girls sailing foils,” she added.

England reckons she does her best work upwind. That’s when she starts to give the blokes - particularly the lighter ones like Simon Payne who admitted yesterday “it’s hard hanging on to the Amazon” on the upwind legs - a bit of curry.

Currently 12th on the pointscore after nine of ten races, England is hoping for a top 20 finish.

This afternoon ten foil Moths put on a show for the crowds off the breakwater with a 10 sprint race ‘dash for cash’. It was a spectacular display with cart wheels and awesome speeds as the fleet was quickly reduced from ten to two - John Harris and Scott Babbage, who sail an 18ft skiff together. In the end Babbage’s boat handling skills proved superior, plus Harris’ race came to a sudden stop when his Moth tipped over, a spill that cost him the $500 prize money as he was leading at the time.

Tomorrow the final race of the Moth Nationals will begin at 10am.

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