by Mark Jardine
The International Moth World Championships at Hayling Island Sailing Club is shaping up to be the best sailing event in the UK this year. The event has attracted an astounding 130 helms and 18 nations with sailing stars from the Olympics and America’s Cup all converging to race for one of the most coveted titles in the dinghy sailing world.
Luna Rossa AC72 skipper Chris Draper (International Moth) during the John Merricks Tiger Trophy at Rutland Water
The team at HISC, with their world-class facilities, are all set for the event. Hayling Island has outstanding sailing waters on its doorstep and the Sandy Point clubhouse, which was completed in 2003, has everything needed to make the event run like clockwork.
The foiling Moths have attracted top sailors from around the world. These 30 kilo flying machines are constantly developing, pushing both the technology available and the helms to the limit. Speeds in excess of 30 knots are now being recorded and at every world championship new innovations are introduced, some more successful than others.
Runners and Riders
The fleet is packed with Olympic medallists and America’s Cup stars. Here’s a brief look at the main contenders and some of their achievements.
• Nathan Outteridge (AUS) is the 2012 Olympic 49er gold medallist as well as being the Artemis America’s Cup helmsman. He won the 2011 Moth Worlds and was runner-up in 2009 and 2013.
• Chris Draper (GBR) is the Luna Rossa America’s Cup team helmsman and was 49er bronze medallist in the Athens 2004 Olympics. This will be his first International Moth world championship appearance.
• Scott Babbage (AUS) was second in the 2012 worlds and third in the 2013 and 2011 worlds, the only place he hasn’t filled on the podium is the top spot.
• Paul Goodison (GBR) is currently sailing as tactician on Sir Ben Ainslie’s JPMorgan BAR Extreme 40 team and was Laser gold medallist in the Qingdao 2008 Olympics. Like Chris Draper this will be his first Moth worlds.
• Josh McKnight (AUS) won the 2012 Moth World Championships on Lake Garda and will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 11th place at the 2013 worlds in Hawaii.
• Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) is a past International 14, 18ft Skiff World Champion, Volvo Ocean Race winner and Extreme Sailing Series winner. He’s the reigning UK Moth champion and will be itching to add the worlds title to his sailing CV.
• Annalise Murphy (IRL) was fourth in the Laser Radial class in the 2012 Olympics and won the 2013 Radial Europeans. She’s been Moth sailing for the past two years in Ireland and is a fierce competitor.
• Sébastien Col (FRA) was ranking top of the ISAF World Match Race rankings in 2008-09, is one of the top IMOCA 60 skippers and was part of the French K-Challenge America’s Cup team. Will he make a successful transition to the foiling moth?
• Arnaud Psarofarghis (SUI) is the Realteam Extreme Sailing Series helm, won the Moth Europeans in 2008, 2009 and was third in the 2009 Moth worlds at Cascade Locks.
• Ben Paton (GBR) aka ‘The Patonator’ is a previous Laser Radial world and European champion and missed out on the podium at the 2013 Moth worlds in Hawaii by a single point. He’s rumoured to have the biggest guns in the class!
• Chris Rashley (GBR) is a three-time Moth European champion and top-10 finisher in the worlds.
• Rob Gough (AUS) finish third in the 2012 worlds and is another regular top-10 in the worlds.
• Andrew McDougall (AUS) is the man behind the Mach 2 moth and finished second at the 2012 worlds held in Dubai.
• Mike Lennon (GBR) has been regularly winning on the UK Grand Prix circuit in his new Concours d’Elegance winning boat.
Other names to watch out for include past and present 49er campaigners Simon Hiscocks (GBR), Dylan Fletcher (GBR), Stevie Morrison (GBR), Ryan Seaton (IRL) and Brad Funk (USA).
Where is Bora?
There is one name missing from the entry list that is a huge surprise - two-time champion and current title holder Bora Gulari. Having recently signed for the Luna Rossa America’s Cup team, has Bora simply forgotten to fill in the form? Maybe his AC team mate Chris Draper can give him a nudge…
Competition and camaraderie
The foiling Moth sailors are proud of their tradition of sharing knowledge throughout the fleet. Everyone comes together to help out when a competitor breaks something during an event and are only too happy to lend a hand or piece of equipment to get them back out on the water.
While the entry list does boast some of the top names in sailing, it’s the depth of the fleet that is the real strength of the class. Flying while sailing is fun wherever you are in the fleet, and being amongst sailors who can help you get the most of your boat is a huge draw for those who aren’t in the running for the title.
Sponsors and supporters
The International Moth class is hugely grateful to the companies that are helping make this championship possible; Magic Marine, LV, Lennon Sails, CST Composites, Ronstan and Blueteq.
The World Championships take place between 19-25 July and are preceded by the UK Open National Championships on 16-17 July.