Payne takes the lead at the UK Moth Nationals
42 boats eventually pitched up at the Moth UK National Championship taking place out of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club in Torquay. After two races, reigning World Champion Simon Payne proved that he has lost none of the magic that won him this year’s supreme title in Dubai.
After a brief delay caused by congestion squeezing the Moths down the narrow slipway, launching into the marina, the first race got underway in around 10 knots of breeze from the south and with the wind set to go right there seemed popularity in port tack starts.
By the first mark the usual suspects were ahead with Switzerland’s European Champion Arnaud Psarofaghis leading from Simon Payne, but with the surprise feature of Alex Adams in third. However after four laps Payne had pulled into the lead finishing substantially ahead of Psarofaghis and with Hyde Sails’ Mike Lennon having pulled up through the ranks after a slow start to take third.
Race two and the wind was already going right and continued to do so in a major way through the race. This was compounded on the third beat a large hole developed in the middle of the course leaving the foiling Moths in low rider mode. Mike Lennon made up for his slow start in race one to lead around the top mark, but Ronstan’s Jason Belben aboard his Ninja demonstrate his skill in these conditions and pulling into the lead eventually taking the gun from Simon Payne. This was something which Mike Lennon says Belben also demonstrated at the recent Poole Open. “It went squwiffy – and he tacked away and everyone was heading out to the supposed favoured side and he played the shifts up the middle and he did the same here and he won.”
Back on land Belben, who was National Champion three years ago, commented: “I managed to keep foiling for most of the time - it was very difficult finding the bits of pressure, just to keep on the foil when doing the tacks and gybes.” Belben picked up his Ninja (his third foiling Moth following on from a Mistress and a Prowler) in November and reckons they are quick in the light to moderate – “they just manage to stay on the foil a bit longer.” The boat he sails is a standard Ninja, but Belben trains out of Stokes Bay where the Ninja’s designer Kevin Ellway also sails from.
Simon Payne was pleased with his performance on his Mach 2. “I have only sailed about seven times since Dubai, so when I got off the start line I was fast through the water and I sailed sensibly. It started to get gusty so you had to cover your arse downwind rather than sail the fastest course. The next race was hard. I was second at the top mark and then it started to go funny and then a huge hole opened up in the middle of the course. Jason was to windward of me and as it died he tacked and he foiled out and I lost it. That was it. Then possibility it should have been shortened after that because it turned into a lottery. We were beating downwind and running upwind. But it is the nationals – it is a bit of fun.”
Others who did well after this tricky opening day out on the water were Ricky Tagg, who posted a fifth in both races and Tim Penfold who holds ninth.
Ninja builder Mike Cooke was not in the best of moods back ashore. While Jason Belben had won the second race in one of his boats, his own new Ninja, featuring super high aspect ratio foils and a new deck arrangement, had broken in the second race.
Racing at the UK Moth Nationals continues Friday and Saturday with three races on each and an addition non-scoring slalom competition on Saturday with two races completing the regatta on Sunday. The breezy day is expected to be Saturday.
|2||Oyster Funds||Arnaud Psarofughis||2||2||4|
|3||Stay Hungry||Jason Belben||4||1||5|
|4||Hyde Sails||Michael Lennon||3||4||7|
|5||Hidden Talent||Ricky Tagg||5||5||10|
|6||Black Pig||David Edwards||6||6||12|
|7||SYZ and CO||Mikis Psarofughis||9||7||16|
|11||El Toro||Paul Hayden||14||10||24|
|13||Man Group||James Phare||10||19||29|
|15||Packet Rocket||Ben Paton||21||13||34|
|18||Flying Scotsman||Dougie Imrie||26||15||41|
|19||Jet Air||Jonnie Hutch||18||23||41|
|22||Ninja Tuna||Tom Offer||23||24||47|
|25||Very Orange||Thomas Lambert||31||21||52|
|32||Must Fly||Colin Newman||32||29||61|
|37||Carbon Footprint||Katherine Knight||35||35||70|
|38||Black Pig||Mike Owen||33||43||76|
|39||Tiger Too||Helen Rollinson||43||43||86|
|39||Pimp Ninja||Leo Carswell||43||43||86|
|39||Il Mostro||Simon Propper||43||43||86|
|39||Ninja Turtle||Mike Cooke||43||43||86|