Two bullets for Outteridge
The opening day of the Syz & Co Moth European Championship was greeted with almost perfect conditions on Lake Silvaplana: the maloja wind made the 87 competitors fly over the alpine lake. Australians Nathan Outteridge and Scott Babbage put in an outstanding performance, closely followed by Swiss no1 Arnaud Psarofaghis and Simon Payne, the current World Champion, as well as American Bora Gulari.
The first race of the championship started shortly after 1300, once the Maloja, the local thermal wind, started blowing. Unfortunately the Maloja was irregular. After several days of intense rain, the ground could hardly warm up and the difference in temperature between the lake and the ground was not big enough to generate a consistent thermal wind, but conditions were sufficient to offer a fantastic spectacle, even if it made competitors’ life difficult. The results kept changing, in a spectacular way, but nevertheless the favourite sailors have come out on top after three races.
“It was very impressive to sail in such a large fleet of boats on such a small lake!” commented 49er World Champion Nathan Outteridge, the hero of the day, who claimed victory in two race retiring from the third with breakage. “It was a great race, with many big shifts. In Australia where I come from, I also sail on a lake, which is two hours north of Sydney. I am thus used to variable and shifty wind conditions due to the surrounding landscape… But there is no snow on the heights!
“The secret with such a large fleet of boats is to take a good start, but this is also the most difficult thing to do. I had two excellent starts today. My goal for tomorrow is to repair my centreboard and to aim for the first 3 places. To achieve that, I will have to be very attentive, because with more than 80 boats on the starting line, sailing can prove to be dangerous!"
While he posted two bullets, Outteridge's retirement from the third means that Scott Babbage leads overall after day one, a point ahead of Simon Payne with Bora Gulari third. The performance of the defending European champion, Arnaud Psarofaghis, did not disappoint with a 7th, a 4th and a 3rd place to end the day fourth overall.
Full results here