Saturday, February 8, 2014

2014 Moth Worlds at Hayling Island

Well, as I look at the upcoming worlds at HISC I have to reluctantly admit I won't be able to make it this time around. I was hoping that circumstances and finances would align and I'd be able to make a return engagement. I did compete in the moth world championship at Hayling Island in 1977 as one of three Americans to make the trip. Our boats were fiberglass magnum 2s taken out of a mold from John Claridge's boat that he had sold to Ted Causey after the previous world champs in the States. Back in 1977 I had just graduated from college and had treated myself to a six week cycling vacation in England culminating with the regatta. As I fondly remember the experience I do have a bit of regret that I can't re-experience racing in Chichester Harbour and the Solent.

The 1970's were a simpler time in moth racing. I have to believe that our homemade boats were as competitive as the rest of the boats in the regatta and that the order of finish was determined more by sailing ability and less by the equipment. Of course the boats and rigs mattered, but as long as your hull was fairly light and stayed watertight and your rig had a decent sail you could have had a shot at the top end of the fleet.

As I look at the moths of today I realize that it's much more difficult for one person to build a competitive boat. I just watched a video about the "arms race" leading to the upcoming A-Cat worlds and I see things similar to the pointy end of the moth fleet: a very techie boat shop with some very talented builders and sailors working as a group to push the envelope.  There are folks who are very competitive with home built boats (Dave Lister, for example), but for me to have a chance, even in the silver fleet at a moth worlds, I'd probably have to sail something other than my six year old Hungry Beaver. As a minimum I would think that a new M2 or Exocet with a new rig would be required. Obviously the winners are those with the best skill set for the conditions but I would argue that the differences in the equipment used by the top ten finishers is slight. My boat wouldn't cut it this time around.

I'll keep playing the lottery once a week and maybe I'll hit a winner. Let's see...perhaps $30,000 for the package (and airfare, etc.) should do it..

Good luck all!