Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Babbage Blitzes Fleet at Moth Worlds Lake Garda

Australia's Scott Babbage leads the 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth World Championships after three bullets on the opening day. In light conditions around a tricky race course his results are a reflection of the momentum he built last week when he claimed victory in the Zhik Nautica Italian Moth Open.
Photo: © Th.Martinez/Sea&Co
The fleet was split into two groups that alternated on an inner and outer racing area. Getting a good clean start ahead of pack, flying to the rocks and tacking under the layline first was the way to win on the inner course. The steep hills surrounding Lake Garda give more pressure to the breeze and those sail closer to shore are rewarded with more pressure.
Photo: © Th.Martinez/Sea&Co
On the outer loop, further in the middle of the lake, things were way more complicated, or even “spooky” as Bora Gulari said. The breeze was much harder to read and a favored side in one race would then fail to deliver. The African heat wave passing through Italy with it's record-high temperatures didn’t allow for the “Ora”, the afternoon breeze Lake Garda is famous for, to develop properly.
Photo: © Th.Martinez/Sea&Co
Scott Babbage managed to line up all his ducks. He nailed his starts, got to the rocks and managed to always pick the favored side of the course. His nearest rival Joe Turner had no such luck. Apart from Babbage favourites like Bora Gulari and Turner who are placed fifth and tenth, respectively didn't deliver the goods. Australia's Josh McKnight and Anthony Kotoun from the Virgin Island both had an awesome day and finished the day in second and third overall respectively.

Photo: © Th.Martinez/Sea&Co
Joe Turner (AUS) : “This was probably one of the worst days of Moth sailing I have ever had in my life. The boat was going very good but the driver was a bit of an idiot. It was a tough day and I think the start line wasn’t set up very fairly. It was extremely biased in the pin end and every one was port-tack starting. People were too scared to start on starboard.

"In the first race I tried to port tack the fleet along with everyone else and some guy who was on starboard protested and I had to do a 360. In the second race I tried to call someone up and crashed into another boat. In the last race I sailed OK, I made a lot of mistakes but still managed to finish second.It was still a relatively fun day on the water. It is always fun to sail on the moth.”
Photo: © Th.Martinez/Sea&Co
Bora Gulari (USA) : “On the outer loop it was kind of spooky. When I chose the left, the right would pay and when I chose the left, the right would pay. I was a little bit lost on the outside course. I would say that my boat speed was OK, not great but I’m still working on it. It’s still the qualification stage so we have a couple of days before the final showdown.

"The starts are probably the most exciting 30 seconds of sailboat racing that can exist as most of the fleet is lining up on port and a few people are lining up on starboard and with closing speeds of 30 knots it gets your heart going. That’s for sure.”

Racing continues on Tuesday and the weather forecast is for similar conditions.

Zhik Nautica Moth World Championships – Day 1 – Results after 3 races (Top 10)

1. Scott Babbage (AUS), 1+1+1=3
2. Joshua McKnight (AUS), 6+1+1=8
3. Anthony Kotoun (ISV), 3+3+2=8
4. Eric Aakhus (USA), 1+4+5=10
5. Bora Gulari (USA), 2+2+7=11
6. Francesco Bianchi (ITA), 3+6+4=13
7. Julian Salter (AUS), 7+4+3=14
8. Andrew McDougall (AUS), 2+8+5=15
9. Chris Rashley (GBR), 4+7+4=15
10. Joe Turner (AUS), 9+9+2=20

Lulu Roseman

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