Thursday, January 7, 2016

McKnight Still Dominates Moth Nationals - Day 3

Today’s conditions were the best in the regatta so far, so New South Welshman Josh McKnight underlined his dominance of this National Championship with wins in all three races sailed. Tasmanian Rob Gough strung together a third, a second and a fourth to comfortably retain his second spot on the table, ahead of Ed Chapman who scored a pair of fours and a third.
Josh McKnight Photo: Bernie Kaaks
Fortunately the weather conditions bore little resemblance to the forecast for today. The breeze turned to the west before noon and quickly built to around 12 knots coming from the west south west. The direction remained remarkably steady and pressure built to close to 15 knots by the end of the afternoon, with maximum gusts of 17 knots recorded.
Warren Sare Photo: Bernie Kaaks
Race officer Les Swinton pushed the course length out to 0.9 nautical miles for the first of today’s races only to find the leaders back in the pre-start area after completing three laps in just 24 minutes. His extension of the course had the desired effect with leaders taking around 30 minutes.
Charlie Wyatt Photo: Bernie Kaaks
In this regatta there is a finishing window that remains open for 15 minutes after the first boat has completed the course. Boats failing to finish within the window are scored on their rounding position from the previous lap. The number of boats finishing within the finishing window today was much higher than in previous races, a good reflection on the ideal foiling conditions and a very good reason why so many moth sailors returned to the beach today with huge smiles.

The “U” flag curse continues for some. In the middle race of the day, Brent Pearson, Charlie Wyatt and Joel Castle all chanced their arm one time too many and in the last race Lloyd Edmunds picked up his second disqualification, meaning that at the moment, he has to carry one of them in his score, but that should clear tomorrow when after the eleventh race, boats can drop their two worst scores.

The Moth class has attracted many sailors from other classes. Expatriate Briton Ed Chapman, who has lived in Sydney for the past eight months, sails eighteen footers when he’s not playing with the Moths. Andy Fethers and Queensland’s Matthew Chen are rushing to Melbourne straight after Friday’s final race to participate in the Etchells nationals there.

Andy Fethers commented: “The attraction is partly the thrill and the challenge of sailing these quick little boats and also the convenience of not being dependent on crew to organize a regatta campaign at short notice. The downside is that it can be awfully lonely out there when you know you’re not sailing well.”

In the final race today, Josh McKnight shot out of the blocks early and established a big lead but in the last downwind leg it looked likely that boats which favoured the northern side of the course sailed in better pressure and might reach the finish before him. It was never going to happen though.

McKnight coolly gybed away from the Applecross foreshore and powered to another first place. His lead may have been cut a little, but his position was never in doubt.

Bernie Kaaks

No comments: