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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

International Moth Open at Oxford Sailing Club

by Kyle Stoneham 16 Mar 02:08 PDT 12 March 2022
Oxford International Moth Open © Adrian Howe

The first event of 2022 calendar was held at Oxford Sailing Club, a new inland venue for the class brought to the attention by the super keen local pairing of Joe Adams (Exocet) and Andrew Jarvis (Thinair). Their foiling exploits are regularly popping up in social media stories: the worse the weather, the better their ejections!

Saturday's forecast was not dismal, sunshine and 15 knot average coupled with the easy journey for majority of the fleets meant it was ideal for a one-day shakedown event - surprising then that only seven boats showed up. I guess this early in the season people are feeling under prepared, I certainly was, with a brand new boat that's only been out a handful of times and not yet raced, but figured getting some rounds under my belt would be the best prep!

Five different Moth designs rigged alongside each other on a grass area right between the club house and launch area, very convenient when you have to walk back and forth to trailer so many times, one Beiker sailor was so keen he got changed over an hour before first start so it was handy the toilet was nearby.

With six races scheduled in fresh breeze no one wanted to get out too early so once course was laid we all launched and headed over, almost 30 seconds had passed and all boats were in the start area. With the line 50m upwind of the wall it became quite clear this wasn't a large expanse of water like Portland Harbour - we had to be much more careful.

Race 1 got away on time, Bridle (Thinair), Stoneham (Exploder), Hiscocks (Beiker) got off the line well, there were some large gusts and equally big holes on the course, Hiscocks got through both tacks with little trouble and rounded the top mark, Stoneham came in a bit hot and blew over on the tack bear-away whilst Eddie rounded with medium amounts of issues, the boats behind were experiencing similar problems but everyone was having fun.

The lay line for the bottom mark had a water tower on it which caught me out (Stoneham), with the option of hitting that or the committee boat or the leeward mark I opted for the inflatable mark and got wiped off the side at 27 knots, it was the lesser of three evils and made it pretty clear this day was going to be about boat handling and managing the gusts.

Simon Hiscocks took the win convincingly with Eddie Bridle in second and Andrew Jarvis in third.

Race 2 showed a similar pattern of wanting to be on the start line without hitting the wall or another competitor trying to achieve it, the same boats got off the line and more sheepishly raced off looking for somewhere to tack, Simon was away and keeping it all fairly tidy compared to the rest of us getting another bullet on the board. Jarvis maintaining his consistency was second followed by Eddie in third and Davis in fourth.

I lost the pin that secures my main foil during a capsize in race 2 and missed race 3, getting it secured again with the help of a RIB, but did have a good view of the racing whilst capsized for 32 minutes. Race 3 was again dominated by Simon's construction of his picket fence, he was even happy to do additional tacks to sail in the best pressure.

The breeze was right up, averaging at 15 knots consisting of 30 knot gusts and vacuumous holes. Boats were being blown over in straight lines and the angles that could be sailed were becoming incredibly narrow.

These were now brutal conditions in cold fresh water, the fact people were still out racing and pushing 29 knots is a testament to the build quality and structural integrity of modern International Moths, blended with some type of insanity that this group of sailors possessed.

I had got so cold that my only reason to secure the main foil was to sail in and warm up, but after a numb handed bear-away, gybe and harden up I found myself on the start line just after the gun went for the Race 4... so I thought let's crack on and finish a race with the plan of keeping it simple, keeping controls in one place and get around.

This seemed to work and netted me a second place, crossing the line just in front of Eddie who went the scary side of the water tower trying to pip me - I think everyone had the same mentality by now, just get the boat round, we were racing the course and now pleased there weren't more entries!

Race 5 and 6 blurred into one. There were some big pitchpoles on bear-aways pre-start and the breeze had gone left so crossing the line was more difficult, Cian Byrne seemed to really like the bigger breeze on his Mach 2 and was pushing on well and getting around nicely. It was a Hiscocks, Stoneham, Byrne 1,2,3 for the last two races, and by middle of race 6 I think everyone else had gone in.

Once ashore we looked like a fleet of open water swimmers stood in our insulated changing robes. Now I think back to it, we pretty much were a fleet of open water swimmers hanging onto some awesome bits of carbon fibre whilst dreaming of a nice warm cup of tea.

After the tricky maths was done it turned out that consistency was in fact king, with Simon Hiscocks taking the win with six bullets and a masterclass in blustery conditions, Gareth Davies (Exocet) coming in second place putting together a solid performance in every race, Stoneham third and the reason I'm writing this report.

Big thanks to Oxford Sailing Club, their race team, and all the volunteers for hosting us and turning around so many races so quickly it was a brilliant effort and really well done, certainly worth the trip.

Our next open is the two day Grand Prix at Queen Mary SC on March 26/27 followed by the Inland Nationals at Grafham on April 23/24.

Follow the UK Moth Class for the season ahead at www.internationalmoth.co.uk and at www.facebook.com/MothClassUK

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st4778Simon HiscocksWPNSA‑1111115
2nd4525Gareth DaviesBlackwater SC34344(DNC)18
3rdKyle Stoneham(DNC)5DNC22219
4th4721Andrew JarvisOxford SC42265(DNC)19
5th4826Eddie BridleBrightlingsea2343(DNC)DNC20
6th4390Cian ByrneRoyal Cork YC(DNC)DNCDNC53327
7th4048Joe AdamOxford SC5657(DNC)DNC31

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