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Redoro Frantoi Venetia Moth Worlds 2021. Senior Sailors, Junior Sailors

by Guy Nowell 7 Sep 05:26 PDT 2-7 September 2021
Redoro Frantai Veneti Moth Worlds 2021. Tom Slingsby. © Martina Orsini

A long time ago, when there was an active fleet of twelve X-99s in Hong Kong, I sailed on a boat named X-Calibur. For more than two years we had the same crew all the time, weekend after weekend. We got to that happy state where there was no talking – none needed – between the cogs of the well-oiled machine. We hit the start lines bang on the gun, we tacked on a heartbeat, we gybed when asked, and the only people on deck during the runs were the helm and the kite trimmer; the rest were down on the bolts. (Stay with me - I promise this is going somewhere.)

Come the Class Championships (1993 or thereabouts), and a number of self-appointed rock stars departed their comfort zone in Victoria Harbour and ventured out to the wilds of Port Shelter. They chartered a couple of boats, and set out to give the country cousins a lesson or two. That series we won with 10 bullets and two second places, which were our discards. Damn, it felt good! But that was only Club racing. Quite what Tom Slingsby is feeling as he ruthlessly dominates the Moth Worlds 2021 in Malcesine is anyone’s guess, but it's probably good. After four days he has:

* 11 bullets from 12 races,

* a 1 and a 2 discards,

* a 24-point lead over Iain Jensen in 2nd place,

* and just one day to go.

‘Confident’ could be excused, but Slingsby is much too sensible to count chickens. In 2008 he went to the Olympic Regatta in Qingdao as Laser World Champion, and finished 22nd overall. “That was a dark place,” he told me. “I didn’t get in a boat for 9 months after that.”

Malcesine is definitely not a dark place. “But he’s not having as much fun as the rest of us,” says Francesco Bruni, with a distinctly Italian smile. “He’s so far ahead, we don’t worry about him. But we’re having the fun, believe me. It’s so close, and third to seventh is only 5 points…” So what does it take to beat Slingsby, who seems to be covered in some sort of secret sauce? “He’s 2 knots faster in all directions; he hikes better than anyone else; he’s technically near-perfect; he is 36 and I am 48. That’s the problem.”

After two days of qualifying races and two days of the finals series, Bruni is lying 6th overall. “I let myself down in the qualifying races,” he says, “when the good guys were split up into two fleets. I should have been higher up on the leader board when the finals started.”

Paul Goodison (43) has been having a good time too. “Yesterday was a fun day on Lake Garda, with perfect conditions for the first two races. The last race was complicated with a weakening Ora; I did a lot of low-riding which along with the new mast following yesterday’s accident did not help me much.I almost beat Tom Slingsby in the second round, it would have been nice, but he’s going really fast.”

At the other end of the age spectrum from Bruni and Goodison is Nicolai Jacobsen, the youngest sailor in the fleet at 19, and hanging on with plenty of grit for a finish in the top 20. “He won the pre-World,” says Bruni, “so I am surprised he is not scoring better. But he has the right attitude, and bags of potential. It’s really nice to see a new face in the boat park.”

Today, Tuesday, is the last day of competition. Final report tomorrow.

Full results: fragliavela.sailti.com/it/default/races/race-resultsall/text/CampionatodelMondoMoth2021-it/menuaction/race

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