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The Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals at the WPNSA - Day 3

by Mark Jardine / IMCA UK 9 Sep 12:30 PDT 5-11 September 2020

Dylan Fletcher served up a flawless foiling masterclass on Portland Harbour on Wednesday, extending his lead with three perfect results.

Conditions were a touch lighter at around 9 to 11 knots, which suited the trimmed-down 49er helmsman who had lost a few kilos in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics; he literally flew away from the fleet in the racing.

"I made a few tiny tweaks on the boat and it looked like foiling higher picked up less weed, so I tried that and it helped. I sailed with weed in every race, but I was just managing it better," said Dylan.

Weymouth's resident American, Brad Funk - who pushed Dylan all the way at last year's championship - is in second overall, but a massive 19 points behind in the rankings:

"I didn't quite get the wind right today. I had a little boat issue with not being able to foil off the start line with my wand line stuck, so had to play catch-up in two out of the three races, but Dylan had great starts, local knowledge probably helped him a bit today and he was always going the right way. He did a great job.

"The Moth class is great because the gains and losses can be huge, which makes it so exciting. It's not like an Etchells where if you have a bad start you sit in last the whole race; in the Moth, especially in light conditions, it's phenomenally awesome to be able to get the pressure bands right, link them all together and you can pass 30 boats in one lap."

Top America's Cup sailor and Olympic medallist Chris Draper has recently returned to the class and is massively enjoying his return, currently lying in third place:

"I'm having a really good time. I'm feeling very lucky to have a boat to sail with Brad Funk lending me his second boat, but I haven't really done any Moth sailing for around five years, so it's nice to do some again. I'm pretty rusty and have no hiking muscles whatsoever, but I've been having good fun! I'm really enjoying racing again. I'm sailing around with a big ear-to-ear grin all the time!"

Castle Cove Sailing Club's Alex Adams is pushing the rock stars all the way and currently lies in fourth after another good day on the water:

"In the last race in particular I managed to keep it all together. I've shown promise a couple of times, but then I'd do something silly like dropping off the foils in a tack; but a second in the last race was very pleasing. You'd don't really expect to be saying 'I've got a little battle on with Chris Draper' do you?"

Alex gave us this reason for the superb performance of the front-runners: "It's not always the difference in the equipment that makes the difference, it's more how it's tuned. Upwind, getting the rig nice and flat makes a big difference, even on days like today, but also knowing when not to go too flat as you'll sail into a hole and get into trouble quite quickly. It's really about having an efficient kicker and downhaul and getting the right prodder settings - that's what has made a big difference for me anyway."

Top of the female standings is Josie Gliddon, who had her best day of the event so far. She's bought a second hand Exocet with a couple of changes which are proving beneficial:

"My latest boat has higher wing bars, which mean I can lean it over to windward a bit further, which really helps me. I've also dropped the mast down a little bit further, giving a lower centre of effort, which again is better at my weight."

There are a couple more female sailors in the fleet, including Volvo Ocean Race sailor Emily Nagel, but Josie is keen to attract more to the fleet:

"I think it's just going for it. I think it could be perceived as a slightly scary class, there are obviously a lot of very good guys as all the pro sailors love sailing the Moth, but actually it's a really fun class as well. If you want to get better at any sort of sailing, then the Moth is the boat to be in."

Classes like the 29er and WASZP have some fantastic female sailors in, who Josie would like to encourage across to the Moth class:

"I've done a bit of coaching for the WASZPs and have been really impressed with the sailing standard and a few people who've transferred say that the Moth is easier, but you need to love boatwork! It's great seeing a lot of the younger sailors coming into the class, buying a relatively old boat and learning to foil - that's really encouraging."

One sailor who is competing at his first Moth Nationals, but who is no stranger to the top step of the podium in many championships, is Ian Southworth:

"It's absolutely fantastic, but tiring! A whole range of abilities at the event, but it's tough and great racing - I'm hooked! It's great seeing all the different people from so many areas of our sport sailing together at this event. It's a right old mix of sailors and fascinating to be a part of. I'm still trying all the combinations of pulling the strings, working out which one does what, and in Weymouth at a Nationals you can monitor what's happening, so I think it's very useful."

There is a marked difference between the leaders and the backmarkers in downwind sailing style, and Dylan had this advice to give on how to set up on the runs:

"Try and sail the boat flat, or with just a little bit of windward heel, and then hike hard. I've been telling a few guys this week when they've been struggling to think of it like a conventional dinghy, for example when you're sailing an RS200 in 7 knots of breeze, sailing with a loose vang and trying to hike it down and squeeze the mainsheet on every time you get a gust. It's exactly the same in the Moth, except you're going 18 knots in 7 knots of wind!"

Chris Draper has been really impressed with the development in the class, in particular how different Moth designs have developed:

"It's great to see the diversity of boat designs up at the front. I still think the Exocet is a really good boat, but it's good to see the Thinnair going well, the Rockets right up there and Brad in his Bieker. It's a really cool mix."

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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