McDougall does a horizon job
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.
|1||AUS3380||Mach 2||Andrew McDougall||1||1|
|2||GBR3708||Mach 2||Michael Lennon||2||2|
|3||USA3451||Mach 2||Brad Funk||3||3|
|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|
|23||USA3615||Mach 2||George Peet||23||23|
|25||USA3592||Mach 2||Lindsey Bergen||25||25|
|26||GBR3713||Mach 2||James Phare||26||26|
|32||AUS3262||Prowler Zero||Ben Crocker||32||32|
|34||HKG3672||Mach 2||Dion Houghton||34||34|
|35||UAE3680||Mach 2||Glenn Raphael||35||35|
|38||GBR3607||Mach 2||Tim Penfold||38||38|
|39||GBR3431||Bladerider X8||Richard Davies||39||39|
|40||SWE3140||Bladerider X8||Per Eskilson||40||40|
|42||CHN3637||Mach 2||Dirk Weiblen||42||42|
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.