Photo: Paul Plested

Foiling on the UK's Lake Garda

Tom Offer comes out on top at the Moth Inland Championship at Lake Bala

Monday May 27th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

The International Moths headed west into the depths of Wales for the 2013 Inland Championship over the weekend. Billed as the Garda of the UK, it had a lot to live up to and thankfully didn't disappoint, with a range of conditions and some of the best sailing the fleet could remember.

A few keen folks showed up on the Friday and were rewarded with a full on sail in flat water and some attempts at the UK speed record were had, with several boats posting 28 and 29 knot personal bests but that elusive 30 knot barrier is a tough nut to crack in the cold UK waters.

Saturday arrived and saw one race in marginal foiling conditions as the 'Ora', or whatever the Bala inhabitants call it, didn't quite kick in. Ricky Tagg in his Mach 2 made the most of the puffs to sneak out an early lead, which he held on to to the finish from Mike Cooke in his Rocket and Neil Baker in another Mach 2.

Sunday saw two races in the morning in a light breeze running down the lake. Mike Cooke led down the first run, but a lack of practice showed as he fluffed his first gybe, letting Ben Paton in an Exocet, Ricky Tagg and Richard Westbury, in Ninjas, take charge of the race. These four traded places throughout the race and things were very tight down the final run with Richard Westbury finally taking the win and Cooke recovering to second just ahead of a charging Tagg.

The second morning race was a brief one lap affair as the last of the morning breeze dropped out. Tom Offer made the most of the puffs to take the win from a breakaway group of Paton, Baker and Westbury, all just getting down the run in the last of the wind. The remainder of the fleet chased zephyrs for a short period before the thermal breeze started to kick in.

After a stop for lunch the fleet returned to the lake with a cracking breeze running straight down Wales' finest. Unfortunately for some, the race officer was very keen to get things started on time, leaving 3 boats late for the start including Cooke, effectively leaving him out of contention. Tom Offer put on another solid performance to take the win from Ben Paton and big man Gareth Davies in an Exocet loving the new breeze pulling in third.

Once the stragglers were rounded up, the final race of the day was a tight one between Offer, Paton and Cooke, until Ben decided he'd heard mining was the thing to do in North Wales and gave it his best shot. Cooke reeled in Offer and eventually gained the lead before deciding that he too fancied exploring for slate and took a dive - Tom rounded off his consistent scoreline with another win and the overall title.

The Mothies loved their weekend in the sun and hills and are looking forward to another visit in the future. Four different designs taking the top four positions mean the sailor skills are the real divider at the top of the fleet and with the upcoming UK National championships in Weymouth this event could be the most competitive in years.


Pos Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Tot Net
1 Tom OFFER (13.0 DNC) 5 1 1 1 21 8
2 Ricky TAGG 1 3 4 4 (13.0 DNF) 25 12
3 Mike COOKE 2 2 -6 6 2 18 12
4 Richard WESTBURY -5 1 5 5 5 21 16
5 Gareth DAVIES 8 6 -9 3 3 29 20
6 Ben PATON (13.0 DNC) 4 2 2 13.0 DNF 34 21
7 Neil BAKER 3 9 3 -10 6 31 21
8 Martin FEAR 4 8 8 -9 7 36 27
9 Paul HIGNETT 6 -11 7 7 8 39 28
10 Peter BARTON (13.0 DNC) 7 10 8 4 42 29
11 Matthew SMITH 7 10 -11 11 9 48 37
12 Stuart SCOTT 9 (13.0 DNF) 13.0 DNS 13.0 DNC 13.0 DNC 61 48

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