Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Babbage Blows Fleet Away - Day Three - Moth Worlds

The 125-strong fleet faced a wide range of conditions that started with a 25-knot 'Peler' and one metre waves early in the morning to a dying “Ora” late in the afternoon that forced the race committee to shorten the last race. Scott Babbage dominated once again and extended his lead but the day’s story is certainly Anthony Kouton, the 'rookie' from the British Virgin Islands who has claimed third place overall.
Scott Babbage Photo: All rights reserved
Only the dying breeze at the end of the afternoon could stop Scott Babbage today. The Australian sailor now has a solid grasp on the overall lead with six points ahead of second-placed Josh McKnight while Anthony Kotoun of the British Virgin Island just one point behind McKnight. Kotoun might call himself a 'rookie with many hurdles to overcome but he proved to be a master of the light to moderate Ora, the afternoon breeze on Lake Garda. The top-five is now completed by Joe Turner and Bora Gulari  who have both started to find their form.
Joe Turner Photo: All rights reserved
The locals say that when the sun rises over the mountains surrounding Lake Garda, the 'Pelèr' kicks in with vengeance. So, with an 8:30am start scheduled the fleet were prepared for some tough and spectacular conditions. There was plenty of carnage with dozens of capsizes, crashes and swims. In the Yellow fleet, Babbage led from start to finish while in the Blue fleet a fight began between Josh McKnight, Joe Turner and Rob Gough that saw the latter score his first victory so far.
Josh McKnight Photo: All rights reserved
When the race committee gave the signal for the second race, the Pelèr was already fading and shifting. Although still fresh, the lighter breeze and the flatter seas didn’t provide the same amount of excitement. Scott Babbage again dominated the Yellow fleet with Chris Rashley coming second behind him. Although the young British sailor hasn’t scored any wins his consistent performance has allowed him to make inroads into the top five rankings .
Photo: All rights reserved
After a break ashore in order to get the 'Pelèr' out of the way and wait for the 'Ora' to build up, the fleet hit the water for two more races.
Photo: All rights reserved
For the Yellow fleet, the third race of the day was marked by a match race between Scott Babbage and Andrew McDougall. McDougall built an immense lead over the rest of the fleet at the first weather mark but metre by metre, Babbage closed in on him to cross the finish line first.
Andrew McDougall Photo: All rights reserved
In the fourth and last race of the day the shifting and dying breeze made it necessary to shorten the course at the bottom mark. Joe Turner dominated the Blue fleet from the outset while in the Yellow fleet Babbage had his worst result of the week so far. Although he was third at the top mark he slipped to eleventh by the finish line.
Photo: All rights reserved
Although Thursday was initially scheduled to be a lay day, the race committee will try to hold two more qualification races starting at 2:00pm local time. Once again, the weather forecast is quite similar to what we have seen so far and as a result the Moths will have to fly in a light to moderate Ora breeze.
Photo: All rights reserved

Scott Babbage (AUS), on his performance: “We had some very good racing in the morning. The first race of the afternoon was a very close one with Andrew McDougall and I’m wasn't sure whether I beat him or he beat me. It was too close to tell. In the last race the breeze died at the top. A few boats got away and then the race committee decided to finish the race at the bottom, so there wasn’t any opportunity. I’m satisfied with my overall performance and I find the morning races much more fun than the afternoon ones. The afternoon races are pretty painful but the morning races are great fun. I hope we do more of these.“
Scott Babbage Photo: All rights reserved
Scott Babbage (AUS), on whether he’s happy Nathan Outteridge is in San Francisco for the America’s Cup races: “[Laughs] No, it would have been good to have him here, he’s always a good competitor and it’s good when you take races off him. He’s good fun to sail against and I beat him in the Australian Nationals, the first regatta in 10 years I have beaten him in. That was good but I think that if he was racing in these Worlds he would definitely be hard to beat.”
Photo: All rights reserved
Anthony Kotoun (ISV): “I had a good day. The morning winds are usually not my strength and I’m not as good in the waves. It showed in the first race where I lead at the weather mark and then downwind went for a bunch of swims. I gained on boats on the upwind but then lost on the downwind. I still finished tenth, which was much better than I thought. In the second race of the morning it got light and I sailed well to finish second. This afternoon upwind was my strength and I got a second and a third.
Anthony Kotoun Photo: All rights reserved
"I’m very, very, very satisfied with my second position overall so far. My goal here is to finish in the top 10. I’ve never done a world championship in the Moth before. I’ve been sailing this boat for a year and a half, so I am hoping for a top ten. I thought a top five would be possible if I had a really good regatta. I realise I am still a rookie and I have some hurdles to overcome but these conditions are mine. If it gets out of this range I don’t expect to keep this train rolling but for now I’ll take it.”

Full results available at

Moth Worlds Media

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