Photos: Meredith Block

Kotoun ahead

Moths compete for the 11th Hour Cup in Newport, RI

Sunday May 25th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

Unseasonably cold temperature and winds up to 15 knots welcomed the high-flying International Moth fleet to Narragansett Bay on Saturday for the inaugural 11th Hour Cup regatta, with long time Newport local and reigning US National Champion Anthony Kotoun sailing a nearly flawless day to lead the fleet.

Boston-based attorney Matt Knowles found the only chink in Kotoun’s armour on the fifth and final race of the day, when a dropping breeze allowed the lightweight Knowles to sail away to a nearly one-minute win over the fleet. “It’s always nice to have a good lead, but this 11th Hour Cup is much bigger than that,” said Kotoun, who also serves as the regatta organizer for the event. “It provides an opportunity for the US Moth Class and Class Partner 11th Hour Racing to get together and brainstorm on where we want to take our partnership for the coming year.”

Newport-based 11th Hour Racing, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, seeks to mobilise the sailing and marine industry to create systemic change for the improved health of our oceans, and Program Director Kate Neubauer said the organisation is extremely excited about their continuing partnership with the US Moth Class. “Anyone who loves the water can’t help but be fascinated by these athletes with their state-of-the-art foiling boats,” said Neubauer, on site to train the Moth racers as ‘ambassadors’ for 11th Hour’s mission. “Moth sailors spend more time in the water than any other sailor, and between that and the fact that the tiniest bit of trash on a foil can destroy a sailor’s day, we’ve found the Moth Class to be the perfect partner for helping us spread our message of environmental sustainability to sailors around the world.”

The US Moth Class continues to lead the way in bringing varied stakeholders together in the name of marine conservation, and this week, the 11th Hour Cup Moth Fleet visited the University of Rhode Island’s world-leading Inner Space Center to learn about their cutting-edge programs of underwater exploration and education. Director Dwight Coleman showed off their NASA-modeled control room, giving the moth sailors a fascinating view of some of the HD footage streaming live from thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. Kotoun was most fascinated by the ‘robot garage’; a shop on URI’s Graduate campus dedicated to modifying and repairing the multi-million dollar high-tec underwater vehicles that serve as the backbone of the Inner Space program. “We’re all just tinkerers in our own way, and it’s great to share ideas with the brilliant scientists who are leading the way under the water just as we are leading the way foiling over it.”

Sunday’s forecast offers light to moderate breeze, which is likely to favor the lighter sailors like Knowles and fleet newcomer and M.I.T. graduate student Brooks Reed, while Kotoun will fight to hold on to his lead. Southern California’s Zack Maxam will likely be back on form after a distracted day on Saturday, when he ended racing early to propose to longtime girlfriend and Moth fan Christy Politowski at the water’s edge near Fort Adams. “She said ‘yes’, and that’s better than winning any race,” Maxam said. Relive Saturday’s racing with photos, videos, and interviews on the US Moth Class Facebook Page, and tune in Sunday at 11 AM for racing. Photos and videos of the racing can be found in the gallery here.

Top five results after five races:


1 – Anthony Kotoun – Newport – 7 Points
2 – Matt Knowles – Boston – Miami – 11 Points
3 – Tom Loughborough – Newport – 14 Points
4 – Brooks Read – Cambridge - 19 Points
5 – Jason Carroll – New York - 25 Points

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