by Lulu Roseman
At the 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth Italian Championships, Josh McKnight on Flying Hellfish powered by Easy Tiger Racing finished sixth overall on Lake Garda - behind a swag of red hot Australians peppered amongst the 83 strong international fleet.
2012 Zhik Italian Moth Championships
Scott Babbage (AUS) sailed a clean and consistent regatta across the five races to take the championship ahead of Bora Gulari (USA) while Joe Turner (AUS) claimed third. Current Australian Moth Champion Rob Gough (AUS) finished fourth and Julian Salter (AUS) took out fifth.
For McKnight it is a solid result leading into the Moth Worlds that kick off on Sunday August 19 where the fleet will swell to 114 competitors and the action is expected to be fierce. While the general consensus amongst the Aussie competitors was 'pretty happy' with their results, McKnight said he would have liked to have been a more dominant force.
Scott Babbage ahead of Josh McKnight Photo: Martina Orsini - 2012 Zhik Italian Moth Championships
'I'm a bit torn about my result because I would like to have beaten Scott Babbage but he is just so polished around the race course and therefore very tough to beat. However I think if we get fully foiling wind I can get him as my little foil is very quick and I seem to be on the pace upwind,' McKnight said.
'The first race on Friday was tough for me given I was almost last to the top mark because I couldn't foil in the lighter breeze. So after that race I sailed ashore and changed main hydrofoils over to my full size foil. That seemed to work better in the last two races because I was able to foil in the lighter breeze. The gear selection for every race is tough because at the club there might be 12 knots of breeze but at the top mark there is just no breeze at all and everyone is low-riding around the top mark,' he said.
McKnight is a fan of the location's warm weather having escaped Sydney's cold winter. He is starting to get a handle on the tricky wind variables of Lake Garda where conditions can be very different on the start line to what they are at the top mark.
Josh McKnight Photo: Martina Orsini - 2012 Zhik Italian Moth Championships
'The light air is a massive challenge for me and that is why I have brought along a full size main foil with me that Reece Tailby kindly lent me. The conditions I've just experienced during these Italian Nationals is nothing compared to what we have had so far in our training so it was good for the Aussies to perform so well.'
As Saturday is the final day to prepare and tweak the boat before the Worlds, McKnight is planning a quiet night having celebrated Babbage's win last night.
'Even though Sunday is a practice race I need to be in fine form for these Worlds. Out of the European sailors I'll be closely watching out for the Brits. Dual Moth World Champion Simon Payne (GBR) is always quick in the light air while the current European Champion, Chris Rashley (GBR) is always fast and a highly tuned moth sailor.'
The 2012 Zhik Italian Moth Championships served as a feeder regatta for the 2012 Moth Worlds, which are currently taking place on scenic Lake Garda
Photo: Martina Orsini - 2012 Zhik Italian Moth Championships