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Lowrider International Moth Scottish Championship at Largo Bay Sailing Club

by Katie Hughes & Paul Hignett 12 May 03:19 PDT 6-7 May 2023

From foghorns to full sun, force 0 to force 4, rare birds to rare moths... it was all happening in Fife on the east coast of Scotland.

Largo Bay Sailing Club were fantastic hosts for 8 Lowrider Moths, providing a friendly welcome starting with tea and bacon/egg rolls for the small fleet. In the evening the club organised fish and chips which were delivered promptly after racing, and allowed us to loiter in the clubhouse while we worked up the energy to head to the local pub. On the water the beach helpers made launching and recovery easy, and the safety boats made sure everyone got ashore safely. Race officer, Peter Malcolm, was fantastic. As the class is all about enjoying sailing, we had requested short, 30 minute races, and triangles with proper reaches, both of which the race officer achieved to perfection. He also managed a fast turnaround between races which is always appreciated by moth sailors.

The International Moth Lowrider fleet includes designs of boat from the 1970's (or earlier) up to the early 2000's, all carefully restored or maintained and sailing at clubs all around the UK. The open water of Largo Bay attracted the narrow lowrider moths, with the fleet reflecting the International Moth class as it had developed prior to the addition of hydrofoils, with ultra-narrow lightweight hulls and wide wings. Although 7 different designs were represented, they are all well matched, and close racing was expected. The fleet included the top 3 finishers at the last Lowrider Nationals; Nigel Williams, Axeman 6; Martin Harrison, Axeman 7 and Katie Hughes, Skippy. These were joined by the super-fast Scottish sailors, Paul Hignett, Hungry Tiger; Keith Cuthbert, Axeman 7 and Ian Baillie, Axeman 5. Oliver Willison was sailing the narrowest boat in the fleet, Predator, and Sam Barker was sailing the widest boat, an Axeman 2. Despite the long journeys for Oliver (Yorkshire), Sam (Manchester), Nigel (Worcester) and Martin (Isle of Wight!) all boats were on the beach early on Saturday waiting for the wind to fill in.


Race one - Having run the gauntlet of the twitchers, all moths were rigged and ready to go by lunch time. The first start was in a steady force 2, providing pleasant sailing conditions with enough wind to comfortably sit out on the wings (or start hiking for the lighter sailors in the fleet). All boats (pretty much) were on the start line which was quite impressive considering it was the first race of the season for some, and unfamiliar open water for a few. Paul Hignett showed his expected speed and led to the first mark, followed by Keith, Martin then Nigel and Oliver not far behind in his first race in the predator design.

Race two was in slightly more wind. Unfortunately, a couple of boats were missing due to frustrating minor breakages, tiller extension (Martin) and ripped tramps (Keith). Katie and Nigel rounded the windward mark close together followed by Paul. After the gybe mark Katie came to a rapid stop after catching a lobster pot line, allowing Nigel and Paul past. Nigel held his lead over Paul around most of the race, but Paul managed to pass him on the last beat. Meanwhile Katie in third was being pursued by Oliver until his sail ripped on the final beat, which allowed class newcomer Ian to pass him for 4th place.

Race three - The wind was filling in nicely with reaches starting to become quite fast and fun. Paul led round the windward mark and the gybe, but Katie was the first to spot that he had rounded the wrong wing mark. Both Paul and Nigel had to return to the correct mark allowing Katie to briefly take the lead. Paul soon overtook again but Katie just managed to hold off Nigel.

Race four - Martin had managed a rapid pit stop and returned to the race course with a repaired tiller for the final and windiest race of the day. Paul, Nigel then Martin remained in that order around the course. Assistance coming ashore to the now small beach was appreciated by the tired sailors. Help came from both the Largo Bay team, and the other Moth sailors, including Sam who had remained in wet kit all afternoon in order to be able to help after he had come ashore early.


Race five - This one was a bit of a drifter. We were joined by a 14 strong solo fleet for the day which made a bit of pre-start traffic to keep us awake. With a little bit of breeze for the first beat it was close round the windward mark between Katie, Martin and Paul. Martin and Paul sailed to windward of Katie to pass her and Martin held his lead round the rest of the course which was sailed in decreasing wind.

Race six - The second race on Sunday was equally painful! Another one lap race with Martin again showing good speed in the lightest winds.

Race seven - The wind filled in for the last race of the weekend. Held in a comfortable force 2-3 two good laps were sailed. Paul had a good port tack start but Martin was first to the windward mark followed by Paul then Nigel. Oliver was sailing fast upwind to hold off Katie for his best result of the weekend.

The Scottish fleet would like to say a big thank you to those who travelled some significant distances to sail with us. Many thanks again to Largo Bay SC for being fantastic hosts. The next big lowrider event will be the UK nationals later in the year held at Burton SC.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st3029Paul HignettLLSC1111‑2228
2nd4043Martin HarrisonRVYC3(DNS)DNC311118
3rd4026Nigel WilliamsBSC‑423244318
4th4014Katie HughesLLSC‑532433520
5th4060Oliver WillisonBSC65(DNC)DNC55434
6th4039Keith CuthbertDBSC2(DNS)DNCDNCDNSDNSDNC47
7th4049Ian BaillieDBSC74(RET)DNCDNSDNSDNC47

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