Moths - Sail Sydney 15/16 Dec
Why? Well why not. Last weekend Andrew ‘Amac’ McDougall, Kohei (both from BRYC), James Owen Smith (DBYC) and myself made the trip up for the weekend. The 2013 Australian Moth Championship is only just over 2 weeks away and it was a good chance to see where we are at against the strong NSW fleet. There were only 21 moths registered, but level of experience the competitors had was vast including 2 Olympic Gold medallists, Tom Slingsby & Iain Jensen (Nathan Outridge’s crew), 4 of the top 5 boats from the last World Championships and various other professional sailors in attendance; the competition was hot! In fact I think I was one of the only boats there that had not been to the last world championship making up that 120 boat fleet.
It was a few weeks ago at MMYC where we had the latest of the IMCAV Grand Prix rounds, I brought up the idea of the trip. Sail Sydney is a marked occasion for the Sydney moth fleet. We left friday night about 4pm with 2 cars and 4 boats. It was my little subaru’s 3rd trip to NSW with 2 moths in tow, so it knew the way pretty much.
Saturday’s racing got off at about 3:00pm after a delay waiting for other classes to finish their racing on our course. The first of 4 races started with an eager fleet. I made my first start approach way too early and found myself with nowhere to go but. A quick gybe and duck of the fleet saw me spat out the less favoured side of the course. With the fleet heading across the harbour to the layline, and sprinting to the top mark tack it was a bit of a drag race type course. The less tacks you do upwind, the less time you spend moving slowly. The only real tactics involved playing chicken with the harbour traffic which included sea planes, Sydney to Hobart boats, ferries, tankers, cruise ships, spectator boats, party boats, plenty of speed boats, day sailors and not to mention the 460 plus fleet from the regatta! Will I cross that Ferry? Will I stay out of that wind shadow? Will I make it over that bow wave, etc etc. Some of these decisions where to cost me places in quite a few races; some hard calls had to be made in spit seconds, which at speed could be very costly! You could not see the much of the harbour for the sea of boats around you. Having started in two Sydney to Hobart races now, I would say there was nearly as many boats on the water that day, just not staying away from the racing classes! Anyway, the course was 3 laps and I made up a few positions from my near last positions at the first top mark rounding’s. The wind was to become more fluey during the afternoon and holes started appearing which were hard to see in the choppy water from all the boats on the water. I started races 2, 3 & 4 a bit more conservatively which also didn’t help. If you didn’t get your nose into clear air off the start most of the top 15 boats would fly over the top before you could regain speed and height.
After 3 and a bit hours of racing we headed back towards Rose Bay. There was a Dash for Cash racing series scheduled which had been delayed until the wind filled in and we were back out there again after a 10 minute stop ashore. By now it was getting late and half the fleet didn’t compete. The very short course was set close to shore for spectator appeal with the last two boats of each race knocked out for the next until 4 boats remained . 1st place was worth $500 so I thought I’d give it a bash and made it through 3 the 3rd round. It certainly wasn’t for the faint hearted though with boats going flat out and manoeuvring very so close to each other, you really had trust what the person on front wasn’t going to stack. I was actually happy to get knocked out in the 3rd round as the wind died out almost completely and the last 2 races were held in drifting conditions. Hardly a dash, but they had to get it finished before darkness set in. Josh the current Moth world champ won after Victorian James stuffed up the starting sequence.
The next day dawned to 3 more races with a 10am start planned and postponed. The wind decided to kick in about 11, so I was a bit slow getting out to the course foiling straight through the start 20 seconds late on my first approach to the course. Race 2 & 3 were shortened to 2 laps to get us in before the other classes were to start. I saved my best race till last where I made a clean start near the pin and continued to the top mark in 3rd or 4th, it wasn’t until the final 100m I lost 3 spots, but hey I finally felt like I found my groove and was happy with that. After a quick pack up, I was back in the car driving through to bed in Mornington and made it 9 and a half hours later.
Overall I finished 11th which wasn’t great, but left me with lots of room to improve. The other Victorians Amac, Kohei and James ended up 4th,5th & 6th, so at least we showed some strength in the event. Results can be found here:http://www.sailingscoreboard.com/results/index.php/results/classhome/372
Looking forward to the Nationals now at Wangi Wangi on lake Macquarie from the 6th till 14th of January. Unfortunately I will be the only MMYC moth there as the others have made other commitments, but have made many great friends in the class and am staying at the pub opposite the Wangi club, so refreshments will be easy to come by! There should be plenty of great coverage from the event with the 3 golden Olympians competing in a hot fleet of up to 60 boats.
Happy Christmas and new years if I don’t see you before hand and wish me luck!
Cheers Richard Jackson – Moth 3823