Another three bullets for Scott Babbage
With no racing on day two, the wind returned with a 25 knots and 1m waves on Lake Garda for the morning of day three of the Zhik Nautica Moth World Championship, giving way in the afternoon to the dwindling Ora wind.
These variable conditions seemed to make no difference to Australian Scott Babbage, who posted three bullets, in the first three of today's four races. Overall this leaves him nine points clear of second placed Anthony Kotoun, who proved to be a master of the light to moderate local Ora afternoon breeze. Comfortable in these conditions, the US Virgin Islands sailor pushed Joshua McKnight down to third overall with Bora Gulari (USA) and Joe Turner (AUS) completing the top five.
To make up for yesterday's lack of racing, so an 08:30 start was scheduled today, the Moth sailors bracing themselves for spectacular
conditions off Campione del Garda. And so in the big breeze there was plenty of capsizes, crashes and swims. But this separated the men from the boys.
In the Yellow fleet, Babbage led from start to finish while in the Blue fleet there was a fight between Joshua McKnight, Joe Turner and Rob Gough, the latter scoring his first victory so far.
When the race committee gave the signal for the second race, the Pelèr was already fading and shifting. Although still fresh, the lighter breeze and the flatter seas didn't provide the same amount of excitement.
Once again, Scott Babbage dominated the Yellow fleet with Chris Rashley coming second behind him. Although Babbage has denied the young British sailor any race wins his consistent performance has allowed him to make inroads to climb into the top five.
After a break ashore to wait for the Ora to build, the fleet took to the water for two more races.
For the Yellow fleet, the third race of the day was marked by the match race between Scott Babbage and Mach 2 designer Andrew McDougall. McDougall built an immense lead over the rest of the fleet at the first weather mark but metre by metre, Babbage closed in on him pipping him at the post.
In the fourth and last race of the day the shifting and dying breeze made it necessary for the Race Committee to shorten course at the bottom mark. Joe Turner dominated the Blue fleet from the outset while in the Yellow fleet Babbage had his worst result of the week so far. Although he was third at the top mark he slipped to 11th by the finish line.
Although Thursday was initially scheduled to be a lay day, the race committee will try to hold two more qualification races starting at 1400 local time. Once again, the weather forecast is quite similar to what we have seen so far and as a result the Moths will have to fly in a light to moderate Ora breeze.
“We had some very good racing in the morning," recounted Babbage on his performance: "The first race of the afternoon was a very close one with Andrew McDougall and I’m not sure whether I beat him or beat me. It was too close to tell. In the last race the breeze died at the top. A few boats got away and then the race committee decided to finish the race at the bottom, so there wasn’t any opportunity. I’m satisfied with my overall performance and I find the morning races much more fun than the afternoon ones. The afternoon races are pretty painful but the morning races are great fun. I hope we do more of these.“
While Babbage is dominating this Zhik Nautica Moth World Championship, the defending champion Nathan Outteridge isn't here, occupied at the helm of Team Korea at the America's Cup World Series in San Francisco. "It would have been good to have him here," said Babbage. "He’s always a good competitor and it’s good when you take races off him. He’s good fun to sail against and I beat him in the Australian nationals, the first regatta I've beaten him in in 10 years. That was good but I think that if he did the Worlds he would definitely be
hard to beat.”
Anthony Kotoun added: “I had a good day. The morning winds are usually not my strength and I’m not as good in the waves. It showed in the first where I led at the weather mark and then downwind went for a bunch of swims. I gained boats on the upwind but then lost on the downwind. I still finished tenth, which was much better than I thought. In the second race of the morning it got light, I sailed well and finished second. This afternoon upwind was my strength and I got a second and a third.
"I’m very, very, very satisfied with my second place overall so far. My goal here was to finish in the top 10. I’ve never done a World Championship in the Moth before. I’ve been sailing this boat for year and a half, so I was hoping for a top ten. I thought a top five would be possible if I had a really good regatta. I realise I am still a rookie and I have some hurdles to overcome but these conditions are mine. If it gets out of this range I don’t expect to keep this train rolling but for now I’ll take it.”
2012 Zhik Nautica Moth World Championship – Top 10 results after 7 races (1 discard)
1. Scott Babbage (AUS), 1+1+1+1+1+1+(11)=6
2. Anthony Kotoun (ISV), 3+3+2+(11)+2+2+3=15
3. Joshua McKnight (AUS), 6+1+1+2+4+3+(12)=17
4. Bora Gulari (USA), 2+2+7+(14)+4+4+3=22
5. Joe Turner (AUS), (9)+9+2+3+3+5+1=23
6. Chris Rashley (GBR), 4+(7)+4+4+2+5+7=26
7. Julian Salter (AUS), 7+4+3+7+(12)+1+8=30
8. Andrew McDougall (AUS), 2+8+5+7+(21)+2+6=30
9. Rob Gough (AUS), 5+3+(17)+1+11+7+5=32
10. Jason Paul Belben (GBR), (60 DNF)+10+6+3+3+10+2=34