The Dash for Cash at Sail Sydney

Phillip Kurts ready to light it up.
Robin Evans
Sail Sydney 2011 has launched into a full days racing at Georges River 16ft Sailing Club and the Dash for Cash at Woollahra Sailing Club for the Moths. It was challenge for the competitors with winds varying between three and ten knots, making it difficult for the Moths to get out of the water. Races were won based on who could get up, then stay up on their foils in the light, gusty conditions.

After two teaser races which featured Scott Babbage getting stuck on the windward buoy, the fleet of eight lined up for the first official heat. 'I'm a bit upset that the first two didn't count' said Ben Newling cheerfully while waiting for the start.

Scott Babbage ready to start.
Robin Evans

Shortly after the start, Scott Babbage took a quick lead before being was overtaken by Josh McKnight at the windward mark followed by Newling, Phillip Kurts and Matt Crockett. Others did not fair as well with Emma Spiers and Simon Liddington both capsizing before the first mark. Liddington managed to get up and around the mark before Spiers but only after recovering from another damp spill which killed his speed.

Emma Spiers before the start.
Robin Evans

At the bottom mark, Newling was nipping at the heels of Babbage and it all seemed over for him grabbing line honours until the last downwind leg to the finish which saw Babbage jump to the lead and win the heat. The top three for the first heat was Scott Babbage, Ben Newling and Phillip Kurts. Then came Joshua McKnight, Matt Crockett, Simon Liddington, Emma Spiers and Michael O'Shea.

The second race did not go as well for Babbage, working in favour for Phillip Kurts and Ben Newling who were in front at the first mark. In the next leg Babbage dropped all the way to fifth but again managed to claw his way back. Kurts managed to hold the lead to the end with Babbage second and McKnight coming a close third, leaving the rest of the fleet to crawl across the finish in next to no wind. Behind McKnight, Crockett placed fourth in front of Newling, Spiers, O'Shea and Liddington.

World Champion Moth sailor Josh McKnight
Mainsheet Media

In the fading light and wind, the third and final heat played out similarly to the first. However this time, McKnight was able to slide into second behind Babbage, pushing Kurts and Newling into third and forth place respectively. Emma Spiers snared fifth in front of Crockett, Liddington and O'Shea who was unable to finish.

Well done to Scott Babbage, who took home the $500 prize money and also to Phillip Kurts and Joshua McKnight who won runners up prizes supplied by Sail Sydney sponsors, Gill and Nautilus Marine. This event marks the start of the regatta for the Moth Class. Sailing for all classes will continue over the weekend out of Woollahra Sailing Club and Georges River 16ft Sailing Club.

Sail Sydney website