Blowing away the winter cobwebs

Simon Payne reports on the first Moth open meeting of the season at Parkstone YC

Wednesday February 27th 2008, Author: Mike Cooke, Location: United Kingdom
This was the first Moth open meeting in February that anyone can remember. That Moth sailors are racing in the winter, despite a somewhat unconventional (wet) launch procedure is a testament to enthusiasm and atmosphere in the class.

With the World Championships at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy in July several of the top UK sailors have already put quite some time in. Also several new world class sailors have joined the class and with many younger up and coming mothies having new kit, no one really new who would beat who. And with 15 knots of breeze on Saturday it was sure to be good spectator sport on the mile long windward/leeward course.

But when the start gun fired at 1300hrs on Saturday morning it was immediately clear that National Champion Jason Belben had not taken the winter off. Quick out of the blocks in his Fastacraft Prowler he won both races. Adam May was up there too in his M3V design and Mike Lennon in his BladeRider sailed well in his first ever Moth race to come 3rd in race one.

Gary Ireson fresh from competing in the Australian National Championships was also going well in his new Prowler Zero. European Champion Simon Payne, who's boat arrived from Australia the day before was struggling a bit with set up problems and posted a 4th and 3rd.

The cold water was having an effect on most people's foils and occasionally large plumes of spray were seen suddenly erupting from rudders as they ventilated. This was often followed by a spectacular crash, oddly a problem that doesn't happen when the water is somewhat warmer.

With three back to back races on Sunday it was an early start but as this was the first ever open where every boat was a foiler, it wasn't long before the sailors were on the start line. In 8 to 10 knots of breeze the racing was good.. Belben won the first and second after close racing with Payne, who getting faster each race won the last. New people, notably Gary Ireson, and Tim Boon, now in a Prowler were mixing it at the front and both snatched the lead briefly. Adam May, forced to use his hi wind KA MSL10 design sail was down on power a bit and just hung off the back of the first group. He'll be back at the front when he gets the right sail up.

In terms of development within the class, Tom Whicher turned up with the new Axiom design which can be seen at this weekends Dinghy Exhibition. Mike Lennon is using the new Hyde sail, Simon Payne used the all new 'F sail' from Fastacraft on Sunday and was going fast and Ricki Tag sailing a Full Force Mistress design was using the new KA MSL10B, a sail optimized for breezy conditions which looked good and goes very well, even down the wind range.


1st Jason Belben
2nd Simon Payne
3rd Adam May
4th Gary Ireson
5th Tim Boon
6th Mike Lennon

The next event is 21st and 24th of March at Weston. There is sure to be good racing as people continue to try out new gear and practice hard in the mean time.

More photos on page 2...

Ed: And where was Toby???

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