A shifty 6-8 knot nor’easter greeted crews for their 10am start and by the third race, a 17 knot south easterly sea breeze was producing thrills and spills with a number of Moths going flat chat up on their foils suddenly cart wheeling spectacularly.
“When the foils come out of the water, which often happens downwind and in particular in the chop at the bottom mark, it acts like a brake and trips the Moth over,” explained Australia’s Scott Babbage this afternoon.
Currently fourth on the series pointscore after four races, Babbage ( Appliances Online) is trailing Great Britain’s Simon Payne ( Mach 2), Australian Olympic sailor Nathan Outteridge ( Bladerider), contesting his debut Moth regatta, and New Zealand’s Andrew Brown ( Southern Spars).
Babbage, who has sailed Moths for the past seven years and finished second at the 2007 Moth Worlds, says it was he who introduced Outteridge to Moths. Babbage is also the sheethand for John Harris’ 18 foot skiff campaign and says he got Harris into the Moth class as well. Harris went on to win last year’s Moth World Championship but in this regatta, he’s sitting four places behind Babbage. Luckily.
“I kind of introduced John to the sport and he beat me in last year’s Worlds. Now I’m trying to beat him,” Babbage rued.
“Being a good all rounder will count at the end of the week,” is Babbage’s advice looking forward. With the course area renowned for its variable conditions he believes sailing consistently across the wind ranges will deliver the regatta winner come the final race of the 10 race series on Sunday.
Alan Goddard ( Obsession), Simon Payne and David Lister ( Manic) all scored wins today, with Payne leading the early pointscore off the back of his win in race one yesterday.
Once again newcomer Nathan Outteridge shone amongst today’s fleet of 37 starters with a second in race three and a third in race four. The majority Australian contingent is holding up well against the international force with six of the top 10 pointscore places held by Aussies.
Tomorrow is a layday and with bad weather forecast it’s likely most of the Mothies will use the time for boat work rather hitting the water for practice.
Tonight a number of the Moth sailors, including Nathan Outteridge, Samantha England and John Harris are sprinting up to the Docklands for a 7pm slalom race in the Bladerider X8s within Victoria Harbour at Waterfront City as part of the Skandia Docklands Invitational event.