Reigning Moth world champion, Nathan Outteridge (AUS) kick-started his defence in style, getting the early jump at the McDougall + McConaghy 2015 International Moth World Championship which started on Port Phillip in Sorrento, Victoria today. Outteridge, the 2012 Olympic 49er gold medallist skipper, fired off two bullets and a fourth (his drop) on the first day of the Qualifying series to take an early lead.
Peter Burling (NZL), the 2012 Olympic silver medallist skipper, who fellow Moth competitor Tom Slingsby forewarned would be the biggest threat for the series some weeks ago, is in second place after scoring 7-2-1 results, while Outteridge’s 49er gold medallist crew, Iain Jensen, is third. The top three are each separated by one point.
“There’s a lot of Kiwi rivalry going on,” Outteridge said tonight. “We raced against them (Burling and Blair Tuke) in the 49er and now here we are again. Peter is top in my group, so we’ll see how we go tomorrow.”
Jensen agreed. “Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who were our training partners in the 49er, are our biggest rivals. Peter’s in Nathan’s group and Blair’s in mine; he’s only sailed a Moth for three months, so his win (in Race 3) is pretty impressive,” Jensen said of Tuke who is currently in 21st place.
The 2012 Moth world champion, Josh McKnight (AUS) is poised nicely in fourth place, with Chris Draper (GBR), Tom Slingsby (AUS) and 2013 Moth world champion Bora Gulari (USA) trailing him, with very little between them at this early stage.
Former two-time world champion and Moth exponent, Rohan Veal, is on the comeback trail, having not competed since 2008. A little rusty, he is in 35th place. In 2005 he won every single race of the Worlds in stunning fashion. The best placed female is Wakako Tabata (JPN) in 65th place.
With 165 entries, the fleet was split into two (Blue and Yellow) on two course areas, a big job for race officials. Originally, PRO Garry Hosie planned to hold four races, but conditions decided otherwise.
Two races were held in a 6-10 knot south/south-easterly breeze. Race 1 was fairly quick, but by Race 2, patchy fickle winds slowed the fleets on both courses and the sailors struggled to foil. Then the breeze fizzled to little more than 2 knots.
The AP flag was raised and the sailors waited it out. Finally a third race was underway in more light patchy airs. Race officials shortened the race to one lap, and once it was over, they were forced to call it quits for the day and competitors returned to Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC) which is hosting the Worlds.
The record entry fleet is represented by Italy, Austria, Ireland, Japan, Great Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, France, Sweden and Australia are all well represented.
The qualifying rounds continue tomorrow from 1300 hours. Full results at: www.mothworlds.org/sorrento/
By Di Pearson, McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds Media