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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nathan Outtridge Grabs The Lead at 2014 Moth Worlds - Day 6 Hayling Island, UK

An earlier start allowed the Gold fleet to complete four races on the penultimate day of the International Moth World Championships at Hayling Island, while the Silver fleet had to settle for just three. Racing was held under sunny skies in gusty and shifty 8-13 knot breezes that faded by the day's final race as the wind swung around to the east. 
Nathan Outteridge Photo: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
Race three of the Gold fleet finally got underway under a Black Flag on the second attempt after a general recall. Robert Greenhalgh's day didn't start well with a broken vang that took him out of the race. Scott Babbage led from start to take the bullet from Nathan Outteridge followed by Josh McKnight in third and Chris Rashley in fourth for a Australian sweep of the podium.
Josh McKnight Photo: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
In Race four Outteridge  nailed the win, and the outright lead, with Josh Mcknight just behind and only a second ahead of Scott Babbage, who continued his good form of the day to finish third. Paul Goodison had his best race so far of the finals series to take fourth.
Photo: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
McKnight turned the tables on fellow countryman Outteridge in Race five to take his first finals series win, while Chris Rashley clung on to claim third.
Photo: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
The breeze continued to swing around to the east and dropped right off by the day's final race. The big names went for the pin end of the line where Outteridge was squeezed out however he held his nerve to round the top mark in touch with the leaders. Greenhalgh put his earlier troubles  behind him to start well in this group.
Photo: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
Mike Lennon was hammering downwind with a 100 metre lead at the gate while Brad Funk was under pressure from Outteridge and Rashley. The final leg became light and flukey as the leaders  struggled to stay on their foils but managed to weave their way through the gaps. Rashley got the gun ahead of Outteridge followed by Ben Paton in third. Despite their best efforts Brad Funk dropped to ninth and Mike Lennon to 11th.

"We got out a bit earlier today so there was a bit more breeze. I was just able to link the shifts on the first beat. I think I led around the top mark in the first three races. I was finding the right end of the line and then judging when to tack. Sometimes you had to overlay the top mark by a long way to get the best pressure and sometimes you had to hitch up underneath, and I was just getting that tack timing pretty good," Nathan Outteridge said.

"I figured there were some good oscillations, based on what was happening yesterday. The wind was really good on the left at the top, coming off the land, and we were getting some good righties at the bottom, so in the middle two races it worked out to start at the windward end and I could see that I was just higher than all the boats to leeward of me. I just waited for them to cave, and then just tacked when I thought it was good," he added.

"The forecast doesn't look great for tomorrow, and when the forecast doesn't look good for the final day it's important to be in the lead. It happened to me last year against Bora (Gulari) where he got a couple of points ahead of me going into the final day and we never raced. I'm not saying I'm wishing for no racing tomorrow but at least I'm not going to be disappointed if we don't." 

"I had a bit of a nightmare in either the third race today. I was always quite consistent getting round the windward mark in the top three or four but this time I had Nathan who came and slammed a tack on me at the windward mark. I lost the wind and ended up getting the rudder caught around the anchor line for the windward mark which cost me a couple of minutes and a 360," Ben Paton said.

"I was about 26th at the bottom mark and had to work pretty hard to get back into a counter which I think was ninth. The final race of the day was probably the most tactical downwind race that I've ever done in a Moth; I think we were doing eight or 10 gybes just to stay in a bit of pressure, lots of places changing so I was happy to get a 3rd in that," Paton added.

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