Andrew McDougall
Thierry Martinez /
Andrew McDougall

McDougall does a horizon job

Conditions light and tricky for opening day of the Puma Moth World Championship

Monday March 8th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Arab Emirates

The Puma Moth Worlds got off to slightly shaky start today with a mist/sand haze shrouding Dubai’s unique hi-tec, high rise skyline. Nonetheless come 1500 local off the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, the sea breeze had filled in to around 8-9 knots with a short chop that we understand is typical here, and PRO David Campbell-James was able to get off the first race of the World Championship.

Conditions through the three lap windward-leeward got up to around 11 knots, but on the final circuit went so soft that it became a major test of skill to keep the foiling Moths airborne.

The race was won by designer of the Bladerider and Mach 2 – Melbourne-based Andrew McDougall (if remained any doubt about the type of Moth that it currently dominant – all but one of the top 20 boats in today’s race were Mach 2s...) who led from start to finish.

“I didn’t expect to have it that easy,” McDougall told thedailysail. “I knew I had the speed and I thought I had a lot of downwind speed and I was smoking it downwind. The only conditions that aren’t my conditions are just when it is really hard to get on the foils.” McDougall admitted that he had fallen in sync with the shifts, but fortunately by the time this time his lead was so great that even misjudging the layline into the top mark on the third lap he was still able to stay ahead.

Due to their speed foiling, Moth courses are long, but because the wind was slightly marginal for foiling at times today there appeared to be great variation in how high the boats could point with both extremities of the beat being banged hard, crews reluctant to tack.

The line-up for this year’s World Championship is very different to the Gorge last year and many of the top names are absent - from Nathan Outteridge to the McKee brothers. McDougall’s view is that this World Championship in Dubai will be very different. “The Gorge was very much a sailing ability event. It wasn’t so much about boat speed. You get guys like Nathan Outteridge who really had no boat speed – I would normally pass him - but he could tack on the foils quite often and he knew exactly where he was going. I knew this place could be more like Weymouth where it is not so tricky and it is more about boat speed - which is what I do!”

As to whether progress is still being made in the Moth Class over the last couple of seasons, McDougall is adamant that there is. “I think my boat speed is 10-15% up on what I had in Weymouth, but I can only judge by that at this point. But then there’s just the level of competence, people tacking on foils - it is becoming a lot more tricky.”

Of 44 boats competing at this World Championship, the UK has the largest contingent with 11, including long term foilers such as past Moth World Champion Simon Payne and ex-Tornado Olympian Adam May. The Brits put in a good performance today with Hyde Sails boss Mike Lennon posting a second and Payne and May coming fifth and sixth respectively.

For Lennon getting up to the front of the fleet was an almighty struggle. At the start he got caught in Payne’s dirty air and had to peel off to the right, where thankfully he didn’t loose too much. He rounded the top mark in around 10th place and picked off more places on the next two legs.
At the end of the second run Lennon said a lot of his decisions were made on making sure he stayed airborne. “Into the leeward mark and the wind was getting really soft. I was coming in on port and I wanted to gybe round the committee boat and go out left again, but the wind was just too soft to put a gybe in on the foils, so I decided to round up and head out right.”

This time the right paid handsomely launching the Hyde Sails boat into the top five. Lennon continued: “Chris Graham was still in front of me, leading the group out to that side as was Brad [Funk], but Brad spent a lot of time not foiling at the top of the beat. Going down the last run – Chris was well ahead and did his last gybe in and fell off his foils and couldn’t get back on. Brad gybed and stayed on the foils, but gybed too early and had to gybe back to the finish line and couldn’t get on the foils. He was low riding in and I came in from the other side foils, because I’d managed to do a foiling gybe somehow and I just beat him.”

Others were less fortunate. On Tim Penfold’s boat, sadly, the forestay came out causing him to dismast (something which had happened before in training) and aboard the safety boat thedailysail was on hand to help take him ashore.

Three races are scheduled from now until Saturday with a layday on Thursday and two more races on Sunday. Conditions look set to be similar for the rest of the week with only a couple more knots pressure in the afternoons towards the end of the week.


Pos Sail No Type Helm R1 Tot
1 AUS3380 Mach 2 Andrew McDougall 1 1
2 GBR3708 Mach 2 Michael Lennon 2 2
3 USA3451 Mach 2 Brad Funk 3 3
4 UAE3679 Mach2 Chris Graham 4 4
5 GBR5 Mach 2 Simon Payne 5 5
6 GBR3604 Mach 2 Adam May 6 6
7 SLO3712 Mach 2 Tomaz Copi 7 7
8 AUS7 Mach 2 Scott Babbage 8 8
9 GBR3594 Mach 2 Ricky Tagg 9 9
10 USA4 Mach 2 Dalton Bergen 10 10
11 AUS9 Mach 2 Rob Gough 11 11
12 USA1 Mach 2 Bora Gulari 12 12
13 SWE3666 Mach 2 Martin Gravare 13 13
14 USA3683 Mach 2 Zack Maxam 14 14
15 SUI3623 Mach 2 Mikis Psarofaghis 15 15
16 SIN3700 Mach 2 Mark Robinson 16 16
17 SUI3 Mach 2 Arnaud Psarofaghis 17 17
18 GBR4082 Full Force Alex Adams 18 18
19 SUI3392 Mach 2 Jean-Pierre Ziegert 19 19
20 GBR3632 Mach 2 Paul Hayden 20 20
21 SIN3711 Bladerider James Cole 21 21
22 UAE3276 Bladerider Alex Buerger 22 22
23 USA3615 Mach 2 George Peet 23 23
24 UAE3231 Bladerider Marcel Herrerra 24 24
25 USA3592 Mach 2 Lindsey Bergen 25 25
26 GBR3713 Mach 2 James Phare 26 26
27 GBR3335 Bladerider Dougie Imrie 27 27
28 UAE3300 Bladerider Kerstin Sommer 28 28
29 SWE3125 Bladerider Emma Aspington 29 29
30 UAE3647 Assassin Rob Fordyce 30 30
31 UAE3665 Fastacraft Marc Bruegger 31 31
32 AUS3262 Prowler Zero Ben Crocker 32 32
33 UAE3357 Bladerider Simon Savage 33 33
34 HKG3672 Mach 2 Dion Houghton 34 34
35 UAE3680 Mach 2 Glenn Raphael 35 35
36 SWE3279 Bladerider Magnus Gravare 36 36
37 SUI3250 Bladerider Philip Kasermann 37 37
38 GBR3607 Mach 2 Tim Penfold 38 38
39 GBR3431 Bladerider X8 Richard Davies 39 39
40 SWE3140 Bladerider X8 Per Eskilson 40 40
41 GBR3495 Bladerider Jonathan Peats 41 41
42 CHN3637 Mach 2 Dirk Weiblen 42 42
45 SUI9362 Bladerider Mauro Bettazza   45
45 UAE24 Bladerider Jeroen Leenen   45

Grand Prix scoring

And why, you might ask, if Tim Penfold broke his boat and was towed home does he get 38 points? The Moth Worlds for the last three seasons have run what is known as the 'Grand Prix system', borrowed from Formula One.

Due to the skill required to sail these boats, the difference in speed between the good guys and the less good is significant. Today for example there were boats still rounding the weather mark for the first time as the leaders were halfway up the second beat. So once the first boat is home, then everyone finishes regardless of the lap they are on. All the three laps thus score the top points, the two lappers follow and then those who only managed one lap. Thus Tim Penfold is 38th because he broke his boat after he had completed one lap.

 Puma Moth World Championship day 1  Puma Moth World Championship day 1
 Puma Moth World Championship day 1  Puma Moth World Championship day 1
 Puma Moth World Championship day 1  Puma Moth World Championship day 1
 Puma Moth World Championship day 1  


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