Belben by a point
Queen Mary hosted the International Moth Inland Championships over 8-9 May. 21 boats attended from all over the country, despite a very light forecast and a number of people packing boats into crates to send them to the European Foil Fest in Spain.
Fortunately the breeze defied all forecasts and the fleet were greeted with foiling conditions for the first race, albeit with a few holes.
Adam May pulled off a perfect port tack foiling flyer at the start and was looking good until he tried to tack at the wall and found little pressure to help him. This enabled Ricky Tagg to round the windward in first place followed by Jason Belben. Those following were becalmed at the windward mark though, allowing Tagg and Belben to sail away to a considerable lead. Adam and Alex Adams were swallowed up by the pack who came down with new foiling breeze whilst they were low riding down the middle. For the first two laps the racing was close between the first two boats however Ricky was able to extend on Jason, who also pulled out from the chasing pack. Adam climbed back through the pack to emerge into a clear third place, helped by Alex taking a quick swim after a broken mainsheet. A careless pitch pole on the downwind by Ricky compounded by losing 2 camber inducers opened the door for Jason to chase him down however the shorted course enabled Ricky to hold on from the hard charging Jason followed by Adam and Alex.
Race 2 saw most of the fleet learning Adam’s lesson and starting on port in an increasing breeze. Despite impressive turns of speed by Olivier Vidal and James Phare in their new boats, Adam rounded the windward closely followed by Ricky and Jason. These three had a close fight over the next few laps, pulling away from the chasing pack with a number of place changes. Adam managed to sneak some distance on the last lap leaving Ricky and Jason to fight for second, with Ricky just winning that battle. Alex showed his consistency to take an easy 4th place from Ben Paton, who was sailing a new boat and attending his first open meeting.
Race 3 saw the whole fleet again port tack starting, with James Phare leading the fleet around the top mark from Adam, but soon it was the same 3 protagonists fighting it out for the lead. Ricky fell of the pace with a couple of laps to go and Adam consolidated his great day with a solid lead over Jason Belben, despite him trying various new routes up the beat to pass Adam however the tight race course bounded by a wall on one side, and a dredger on the other, left few opportunities.
Sunday again fooled the weather men giving a good breeze but with bigger gusts and holes to catch the unwary or unlucky. Race 4 had the '3 amigos' contesting the lead for the first 3 laps. Ricky’s vang snapped with a lap to go taking him out of contention and limping to shore to put on a replacement. Jason, Adam and Alex had a hard fought battle with the lead changing numerous times. Tightly bunched down the final run in a very patchy marginal foiling breeze the win could have gone to anybody, but it was Jason who got it by a few boat lengths from Adam, and then Alex. Ben Paton finished in 5th for an impressive rookie performance.
Race 5 saw Adam and Jason again heading the pack and with Ricky still trying to get downwind to the start as they were a third of the way up the beat, the show down for the title began. The leading duo pulled some distance on the chasing pack. Jason held the dominant position for much of the race, but it was very tight. Adam kept getting back to within only a few lengths of him, but couldn’t find a way to pass, so Jason took his second win of the day, with Alex in 3rd place and Ricky climbing back to fourth.
With Jason and Adam on exactly equal points and places, the last race was set to be the show down – whoever beat the other won! Round the first windward, Ricky led from Adam followed by Jason but down the run Adam had a pop out mid gybe and took an early bath dropping him back to around 6th and seemingly giving the title to Jason. At the top of the third lap, Ricky and Jason rounded in minimal pressure and could only watch as Adam and Alex, in great pressure, foiled into the mark enabling Adam to jump them both. Jason then lifted off closely followed by Ricky just before Alex too passed them both - the title was, seemingly, back with Adam. A mighty battle ensued between Adam, Jason and Ricky with the lead swapping a number of times, and the odd hole in the breeze causing expletive to fly as Ricky and Jason again floundered letting Adam through to the lead again. Ricky then got significant pressure and a shift that left Adam and Jason foiling in low pressure and away from the mark. Jason gybed across before Adam but it left Ricky to take the lead. On the final run it was Jason’s turn to get the pressure at the mark and get to leeward of Ricky at the gybe and snatch the lead but a last charge enabled Ricky to steal the race win from Jason followed by Adam.
It was good to see that all across the fleet there were tightly contented battles with only the odd point separating each place from 5th to 10th. This tight racing and a good number of new faces into the fleet bodes well for an exciting and hard fought season in the class.
Whilst the top three were similar in speed Jason was a worthy and deserved winner in a hard fought event having made fewer mistakes than his rivals.
|3||Tagg, Ricky||1||2||3||22 (DNC)||4||1||11|
|8||Phare, James||22 (DNC)||9||5||9||5||9||37|
|10||Paton, Ben||9||5||12||5||22 (DNF)||22 (DNC)||53|
|13||Reynolds, Simon||22 (DNC)||12||10||22 (DNC)||10||10||64|
|14||Barton, Peter||15||14||11||11||16||22 (DNF)||67|
|15||Reid, Jamie||12||15||15||14||13||22 (DNC)||69|
|16||Anstead, Chris||11||11||22 (DNC)||12||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||78|
|17||Ogg, Sue||14||17||16||22 (DNC)||14||22 (DNC)||83|
|18||Beard, Paul||13||16||22 (DNF)||22 (DNC)||15||22 (DNC)||88|
|19||Watson, Alan||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||110|
|20||Sutcliffe, Ben||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||110|
|21||Ramshaw, John||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||22 (DNC)||110|