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Many questions to be answered at the Lowrider International Moths National Championship at Burton SC

by John Edwards 12 Oct 2023 01:22 PDT 14-15 October 2023
Lowrider Moth boatname collage © David Balkwill

There will be bags more buzz in store at Burton SC this weekend, as the Lowrider Moths return to Foremark Reservoir for an eagerly anticipated National Championship. The stage is set for the aficionados of cost effective style to strut their stuff as if little had changed since the 1980s and '90s.

As a tonic to those who have seen "too much or too little" wind this season, the forecast is looking perfect, with the narrow window for Moth sailing of 10-12 knots (no more, no less) guaranteed at some point over the weekend. Compared to the half full reservoir this time last year, Foremark is at 96% capacity, allowing the most comfortable of launching from the soft grass rigging area or the slipway.

The Facebook page (with now over 1200 members worldwide) has been full of new restorations and sales, as well as some notable returns to the Class. Several of these are amongst the 27 entrants, with a handful more sailors expected than that. To put that number into context, it will be the largest gathering of Lowriders in well over 25 years and a Nationals fleet not exceeded by the Foilers until 2009. There are rumours that some competitors have set off already - well, the visitor from France does have further to come than most, but he is not the only one to be taking a ferry to attend.

Results will be decided both over the water and on handicap, with different divisions according to the era of development. In the Narrow Skiffs, there will be no less than six Hungry Tigers battling for glory (if it's windy). The question is whether any will challenge Paul Hignett's speed. Has the rapidly improving George Edwards bridged the gap yet? Of the other four (who all wish we were a stone lighter), who will be on the best form? Or will one of the experienced Axemen Martin Harrison and Uncle Nige take line honours?

Will the conditions suit Katie Hughes's undoubted skill in her Skippy? Oliver Willison will be fighting there or there abouts in his Predator, and riding with the wind will be David Balkwill on his Little Wing design.

The crate of Magnums will be very fiercely contested, with past Lowrider Champions Lyndon Beasley and Ian Marshall rumoured to be going head to head in Magnum 6's this time, but will Ian Ridge arrive and find a way ahead of them both in his freshly restored 6, or will Kevin Hope in his 1990 Worlds winning Magnum 9 go One Step Beyond them all?

Sam Barker in his Magnum 8, then a 7, a 5 and a 3, a Pearce 2, Warlock Stockholm Sprite and stalwart John Butler in his homebuild UFB round up a strong Division Two. As if that wasn't enough variety, two Shelley's, three Skols and a Mistral comprise the wingless wonders of Division three, with some well known faces there too. From multi-coat varnish to clear-coat carbon, the full spectrum of the class from the 1960's to the Noughties will be on show, so it will be quite a sight, sufficient to attract a well known dinghy historian amongst other anticipated guests.

So everyone who attends will be a winner - and not just the competitors. There will be prizes for enlightened teenagers and wish-they-were-lighter pensioners, line honours, handicaps and all manner of Special Recognition Awards. And the Saturday evening quiz, who knows what that will bring? Moth Bows, Moth Bums, or something completely different to go with the Saucisson and Reblochon?

Some further information:

Registration is from 9am on Saturday 14th October, spectators with PFDs and journalistic skills may be accommodated afloat. There is ample space for campervans and tents. In addition to the weekend "meal deal", there are varied meal options on Saturday evening (to be considered at Registration). The bar will be open Friday and Saturday evening. Four races are scheduled on Saturday and two on Sunday. A prompt getaway is planned after prize-giving on the famed toadstools on Sunday.

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