Double 49er World Champion Nathan Outteridge of Australia is the early leader at the 2009 CST Composites Moth Worlds, sailed at Cascade Locks, Oregon, USA.
Working the shifts was today's mantra for day one of the 2009 Moth Worlds. The race committee got four races off in predominantly flat water but a shifting breeze that made for tough calls throughout the day. Racing started at noon in about 12 knots, and built to 15 with gusts to 20 at the bottom mark by late afternoon.
Racing was consistently tight at the top of the fleet with the top five finishers battling it out all day. Top ten finishers: Nathan Outteridge
(AUS) 8 points, Bora Gulari
(USA) 12 points, Dalton Bergan
(USA) 13 points, Simon Payne
(GBR) 16 points, Arnaud Psarofaghis
(SUI) 18 points, Rohan Veal
(AUS) 21 points, Kevin Hall
(NZL) 33 points, Rob Gough (AUS) 41 points, Andrew McDougall (AUS) 44 points, and Charlie McKee
(USA) 44 points.
Today's lighter air played well for boats, with few disabling breakages. Scott Babbage
(AUS) caught a DNF on race two, after his mast exploded as it hit the water on an unspectacular manoeuvre between races - reaching for his water bottle, which was unfortunate as he sailed a solid first race, and finished in the top five for both races three and four.
Likewise for Gulari, who had a couple of spectacular starts, and in race three had a solid one hundred yard advantage over the entire fleet coming into the first top mark rounding only to blow it as he missed a puff coming out of the mark and capsized. But boat speed has been his close ally this past week and he put the pedal down to finish 3rd in this race, almost making it past Payne who just got Gulari across the line.
Notes From The Boats
My first race I was winning pretty handily and just kind of had a brain fart at the bottom and capsized early on top of the finish line and let five boats go by. The next race I had a good one, got a second, the next race I won, and then the last race, I had a good battle with Nathan going up the first beat, I got the last few shifts, I think I had about a one hundred yard lead. I went around the weather mark and I was so anxious just to get going down the run just to get out of there, I eased my controls off, a puff hit and I literally got blown over and crashed into the offset mark - my face was up against the offset mark just as Nathan flew by yelling, "Circle, circle," just adding salt to the wound at that point. I had to laugh. I did my turn and got back to third though. Some competitors were actually asking me if I did my circle, and I did! You can't win a regatta on Day 1, but you can definitely lose it. I must have been about 12th at one point there, and I almost got second - getting all the way back up there was a huge accomplishment.
It's really nice racing. I've had good starts and the boat is going really great. I've just made some mistakes - a bad tack one time when I was having a problem trimming. I just keeping doing stupid stuff. The racing's really tight, all the guys are going fast, you just miss one shift and three or four boats pass you, so nice competition. The conditions are hard because it's very shifty, the puff's seem to come from nowhere. It's hard.
I've just been staying in the right spots at the right time. I didn't have a massive speed advantage, just stayed in the right spot and sailed relatively conservatively. It was really shifty as, so sometimes you had to be really risky to sail conservatively. But if you sailed too conservatively you'd get passed, so you had to have a plan and just stick to it, and if people pass you, be confident that you'll get them back. Bora's definitely going fast at the moment, the last two starts today were really good and he just got out of the blocks and caught a couple of good shifts and once he was in the lead he was doing a good job of staying in between us and the next mark and getting in phase. In the second race he was leading and at the top mark capsized on the spacer mark and had to take a turn so he reckons I owe him a burger or something. It's awesome racing with this many boats at such a high level. Scott (Babbage) and I were just saying that if we could do this all the time, it would be incredible. We sail around with three boats at home, and we think that's fun, but a fleet this size and mixing it up, it's cool.
I've had a couple of good races today but the last race was frustrating. There were about six of us coming into the finish, Nathan was just in front, and it was so close and I just got into third place when the barge came past so there was a wind shadow and massive waves, Scotty just nose-dived and that put me back. Sometimes in this game you're the pigeon and sometimes you're the statue, right? But it will all come back and it was all great racing. What am I doing right? Well, I'm a lot lighter than everyone else - 65kgs - so have to work for every foot, so I'm sailing well downwind, getting out of the start ok, and the boat's carrying me a little bit. Ideally we'll get a little bit of everything in this regatta and if it goes light, I'll be on fire.
It's been pretty good. I crumbled a little bit this afternoon. I capsized after my first tack off the line - bad sailing on my part - and in the last race I had a pretty bad start. I got tangled up with a couple of guys who were out of control and it was tight. What seems to be working for me … I have a pretty cool sail, made by Dan Kessler in Seattle. It seems to be working well and that's helped. And, I haven't had any breakdowns. The course is great, so is the racing.
Describing his crash between Race 1 and 2: I was just getting a drink bottle between races and I tipped the boat over and the mast just exploded as it hit the water. The first race I didn't do too well, I had a poor start and got boxed out at the boat end so I didn't have enough time to get up to speed by the time the gun went so I was probably about 20 seconds late, behind the guys who got off first. I had to go back to shore for a new mast and sail, and went straight back out…only to find that they had called a break. Good workout.
My races were okay. I got horrible starts in the first two races. In the first I tried to start right to windward of Nathan and that was a big mistake. He'd just got going and it was a really light spot and I eased my foils and suddenly everyone was gone. I had a lot of catch up to do but made it into the top ten so I was happy with that. It turns out I'm going better downwind at the moment and not so well upwind. Go figure, as soon as I work it out I'll let you know! The second race was solid but not great. But the racing's great, it's so much fun. My gear seems to be working fine, but that being said I've been working pretty much flat-out since I got here a week ago to make sure the boat holds together but that's just part of it. I tuned up a little with Bora before the start and that's a good benchmark obviously. Dalton sailed really well today, and Nathan's pretty handy so he's always going to be there too.
Results - click here