Puma Moth Worlds - some gizmos

Mike Lennon at full tilt
James Boyd Photography / www.thedailysail.com
Mike Lennon at full tilt
Race leaders Andrew McDougall and Mike Lennon on their tweaky bits and technique
While all the top boats at the Puma Moth World Championship are Mach 2s, there are little tweaky variations between the boats. Background To recap a little on the basic gear - foiling Moths have inverted T-foils on their centreboard and rudder which is what gets them airborne. On the trailing edge of the lateral part of both the centreboard and rudder T-foils is a small adjustable flap to accentuate the lift characteristic of each foil. The one on the rudder is operated via a motorcycle-style grip at the end of the tiller. The one on the centreboard is automatically adjusted by the ‘wand’ sensor that dangles from the bow, via a push rod connecting the top of the wand to the top of the lever mechanism within the centreboard. So when the bottom of the wand meets a wave, it lifts the wand, this moves the pushrod and in turn the lever within the centreboard causing ‘more flap’ to be applied, lifting the boat. When the wand falls into a trough so it drops and the flap returns to neutral. A new introduction for 2009 was what has become known as a ‘ride height adjuster’ that adjusts the ‘overall ride’, ie more or less flap on the centreboard foil, regardless of the waves. This is typically a little spindle on top of the centreboard operated by a line from either side of the boat, although there are variations on this theme. Tweaky bits Present race leader Andrew McDougall, who is also the designer of the Bladerider and its now dominant McConaghy-built successor, is using a different set of foils on his Mach 2. The rudder is supposedly smaller than the typical Mach 2 foil, and a theory going around the fleet is that the changes are more significant than McDougall is letting on. “I have