To say that Saturday's racing at the 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth World Championship was a tricky one and full of surprises and upsets would be the week's biggest understatement. The first and most decisive race of the day, turned the tables and saw some of the leaders with scores in the teens, twenties or even thirties! It is clear that consistency and committing the least amount of errors are the keys in this regatta and that's exactly what McKnight has shown all week.
The overcast skies and lower temperatures meant that lake Garda's afternoon wind, Ora, wouldn't be as steady as in the previous days, especially with a start one hour earlier than Friday. The right side of the course, as close to the rocks as possible, always paid handsomely this week but this was the one and only race where it wouldn't. The left turned out to be so favored that Brad Funk, the US sailor that saw it coming, would be ahead by a mile. When the trailing boats on the right saw it and went to the left, the breeze died and turned right. Some of the top ten sailors - Babbage, Kotoun, Salter and McDougall - got the double whammy "right when it's left and left when it's right", rounding the first top mark well in the bottom of the fleet. Babbage managed to climb up to 16th but McKnight had yet another consistent race, finishing fourth.
As the breeze got fresher and steadier, the second race would be "about boat speed, without a lot of tricks", as Anthony Kotoun stated. The sailor from the British Virgin Islands nailed his start, got off to the rocks and was able to build an immense lead at the first top mark. Bora Gulari couldn't do anything to catch up with Kotoun and crossed the finish line in second place, ahead of Julian Salter and Joshua McKnight. It surely was a turnaround for Kotoun after scoring a 33rd in the previous race.
The day's final race was again a demonstration of flawless sailing by Joshua McKnight. He got the start right with full pace and rounded the first weather mark in second place, trailing Julian Salter. McKnight has shown his strength upwind all week long and overtook Salter in the second beat. Once again, Anthony Kotoun kept his calm, weaved through the fleet and bagged another second place.
The 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth Worlds will come to an end tomorrow Sunday after the three final races are sailed. A violent storm is forecast over lake Garda on Saturday night that could result in a strong "Pelèr" northerly breeze on Sunday mrning and an extremely light "Ora" in the afternoon. As a result, the race committee has decided to bring the start time forward to 10.00 local time.
Gold Fleet Top Ten After Three Races
1. Joshua McKnight (AUS) - 5 pts
2. Scott Babbage (AUS) - 3pts
3. Anthony Kotoun (ISV) - 9pts
4. Bora Gulari (USA) - 11pts
5. Rob Gough (AUS) - 19pts
6. Julian Salter (AUS) - 21pts
7. Andrew McDougall (AUS) - 22pts
8. Chris Rashley (GBR) - 25pts
9. Jason Belben (GBR) - 27pts
10. Brad Funk (USA) - 28pts
Event Website - www.mothworlds.org