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The Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals - 83 boats set in Foil Town for five days of superb racing

by Mark Jardine / IMCA UK 6 Sep 11:11 PDT 5-11 September 2020
2019 Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals at Castle Cove SC day 3 © Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

The Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals is set to be the dinghy event of the summer. 83 boats, a host of sailing stars, a decent quantity of high modulus carbon and the latest in foiling technology make for a superb cocktail at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy - home of the sailing at the London 2012 Olympics.

It is of course the time of Covid, and in many ways the foiling Moth is the ultimate social distancing device - with wings and high speeds, you simply can't get that close to each other.

As Olympian Stuart Bithell says, "If you get any closer than 4 metres during a race, you'd be pushing it. All it takes is a shift or a lull and you'd have to change direction pretty quick to stay on the foil."

UK Moth Class President Kyle Stoneham adds, "It's especially the case when the wind is light as the shifts are magnified and it's easy to stall the rig and foils. You're hunting for power all the time."

The WPNSA offers the perfect venue for sailing in these times. A huge rigging area and wide slipways ensure that everyone can keep their distance in safety, and the huge fleet can get on and off the water in a short space of time.

The venue is also tailor-made for the class as Stuart describes: "Portland Harbour lends itself to a fast setup - it's the perfect place for foiling."

The International Moth is a development class which never stands still. Lockdown provided time for people to mull over their ideas, developing them in their garage (or lounge in some cases) but this is the first big test against a large, high quality fleet for a while.

Of the visible changes, decksweeper sails and aero packages are evolving. Although the builder of the Exocet Moths Simon Maquire believes the reduction in foil sizes may be reaching a plateau, "You can build smaller foils, but it gets much harder to stay foiling all the time," he explains. "It's a constant balancing act between speed and sailability."

This event is going to be the first chance to see how the latest changes work out on the racecourse and there will be many less-visible refinements, such as tacking wands and mainsheet systems, which will only become evident on the water.

Kyle Stoneham has his own version of Moore's Law for the Moth: "The upwind speed goes up by a knot every year. In 2017 we were doing 17 knots and we're now doing 20."

By this measure, the Moth class should get pretty exciting by 2040...

IMCA UK would like to say a massive thank-you to the event sponsors, who have been so good to the Moth class, especially during these times.

  • Wetsuit Outlet - title sponsor for the second year in a row, they are experiencing a record year partly due to the huge amount of stock they hold on-site ready for next day delivery.
  • Noble Marine - continued support has allowed IMCA to subsidise entry fees for this year's championship, the support we receive is directly linked to the policies they provide Moth sailors with a discount for class members.
  • Blueteq - as well as hosting the online entry system, they are sponsoring an evening meal during the event.
  • Allen - over the past few seasons have become the preferred manufacturer for many high load applications, they have their finger on the pulse with the Moth and continue to support our nationals for the third successive year.
  • Maguire Boats - Simon and the team will be on site for the whole week providing support for their four-time World Championship winning boats.
  • Provela - the home of winter foiling in Mar Menor are putting on #FoilFest weekends throughout the off season, together with transport arrangements for your boat.

The class encourages Moth sailors to support our sponsors wherever possible, since they are so good at supporting us.

More Information:

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