Australia's Olympic 49er champion Nathan Outteridge has added the 2014 Moth World Champioship to his impressive resume after leaving the field in his wake in the final race.
The event began badly for the 2011 World Champion when he broke his wand on the way to the start of the first race. But after that things went his way despite the often light conditions, winning four of the 15 races. Along with the DNS from race one, he was able to discard two fourth placings to finish on 23 points, 10 clear of runner-up Chris Rashley (GBR). Australian Josh Mcknight was third, just a point behind Rashley.
Here's the final report from Mark Jardine:
The forecast for the final day was for no wind, but it turned out to be a sparkling day with the best breeze of the week. Four races were held in glorious Summer racing conditions, with 10-14 knot winds, leading to very tactical racing.
Gold fleet racing started at 9.30am, with Nathan Outteridge never letting Chris Rashley out of his sights. Ben Paton led the charge in race 7, with the leaders round the windward mark and screaming along the Hayling shoreline. Chris Rashley was in 2nd followed by Mike Lennon and Outteridge in 4th. Robert Greenhalgh and Scott Babbage climbed through the fleet to finish 2nd & 3rd respectively behind Ben Paton, who took his first ever Moth Worlds race victory, with Outteridge 4th, Lennon 5th & Rashley 6th.
On his first Moth worlds race win Ben said, “It meant quite a lot to me, when I knew that I could win the race after the first lap I gave it everything I had to make sure that I kept everyone behind me and extend my lead a bit so that my downwind was pretty comfortable. I was getting pretty excited about crossing the line as last year in Hawaii I'd led round the windward mark many, many times but wasn't good enough downwind so it was brilliant.”
Race 8 started soon after with a crowded pin end of the line. Jason Belben led around the track to win from Scott Babbage and Andrew McDougall (A-Mac) in third – a result that vastly improved Australia's chances of retaining the Moth Ashes.
Race 9 saw Josh Mcknight take a small lead over Outteridge with Chris Rashley chasing hard in 3rd. Josh did a great job of holding off Nathan to take the win, but Chris' 3rd was not enough and sealed the title for Nathan Outteridge. Paul Goodison knocked in a good race in 4th with Robert Greenhalgh having a much better day in 5th.
There were a few white-caps on the waves at the start of the final race – fantastic conditions. The Patonator had a flying start at the Committee Boat end, but it was Josh Mcknight who led the first lap from Outteridge and A-Mac sailing another blinder for the Australian Moth Ashes team.
Josh led Nathan with Chris Rashley moving up to 3rd. The final leg became really unstable with all the leaders dropping off their foils at times. In the end Outteridge knocked in 15 gybes in a band of breeze to win the race by a country mile and wrap up his championship in style! Josh limped across the line in 2nd with Robert Greenhalgh slipping through to 3rd, Ben Paton 4th & Tom Offer 5th.
Nathan said about the final race, “It had got a bit soft in that very last race and I actually fell off the foils at the top mark. Josh Mcknight and Chris Rashley gybed in a really good puff, and I managed to gybe, get foiling again and did about 15 gybes down in this one little puff, turned around half-way to see how I was going and no-one was foiling so it was a pretty nice way to finish, to have a really big lead.”
Josh Mcknight who finished third overall said, “It was a really good event, we were lucky to get the breeze in the end as it was looking pretty borderline at the start. It was really good racing that we had in the finals and it was one of the closest regattas we've had in a while. I finished one point of Chris (Rashley) and Nathan and Chris had a battle early on in the finals so it was really, really good to see.
On Australia retaining the #MothAshes Josh said, “Well I mean that's really all we come to these events for – the Moth Ashes. It's a great trophy to have as it puts emphasis on a bit of team spirit among Australia and England… A-Mac's got a knack for pulling something out of the bag, whether it be new kit or just a stellar result, he's always sort-of done it so it's good to see him do it again.”
Robert Greenhalgh, who had a far better final day said, “It's been a great worlds, great event at Hayling. Conditions have been hard for the race officers, but they've made the best of it, they've brought the starts forward and we got some races away. I had a disappointing mid-regatta, some speed issues which I dealt with by changing foil today and I was off again. So a little disappointing, but pleased to know I'm on the pace again.”
Local sailor Ollie Holden, who finished 23rd overall in his second Moth Worlds said, “I'm absolutely thrilled. I had no idea I could do as well as that. I'm really, really pleased, it's really come together… What I've found in the Gold fleet is that you're punished really badly for any mistake you make. I took a wrong turn up the beat in the last race and you're just at the back, there's no free passes basically and you've just got to fight so hard to get back. As an amateur, behind the top 15 there's a really tight bunch of about 20 or 30 boats so it's real nip and tuck sailing – it's really good.”
Ollie gave us his thoughts on Nathan Outteridge winning the title, “I think it's fully deserved – he's a legend, an absolute legend. Good for him.”
Ollie was also really impressed with how his home club hosted the event, “I actually think they've done really well. They've pulled it together, we've got a fantastic team of volunteers here, more than 100 involved in running this event, so that's fantastic. They're pretty much the best in the country, if not the best in the world, so it's good.”
Stevie Morrison described his first Moth Worlds regatta, “It was a bit of a shame about the weather, but we've had a great last day so I'll certainly remember that as a real insight into what Moth racing can be like. For me it was just an incredible learning experience, I think I want to go away and let my brain turn from the mush it's in right now into some coherent thought patterns, come back in two weeks and start racing again. It's been a hard week but I've loved it.”
Tim Hancock, the event's Principal Race Officer said, “The final day was a glamorous day, we had up to 16 knots of breeze, we had 3 really good races, the last one was a bit softer but still foiling all the way round pretty much, so I'm delighted with the last day. The club puts a lot of effort into this, 130 volunteers so it's a huge effort from everybody. The UK class bid for this event over 4 years ago, so for it all to culminate in a warm, sunny week, ok challenging wind at times, but to come together in the great finish of the last couple of days, I'm delighted for everybody.”
Nathan Outteridge in his prize giving speech said, “It's amazing how much can change in a couple of weeks. Mike (Lennon) showed us all how to do it during the Nationals and things changed a bit. Firstly I'd like to thank the sailing club, they've put on a great event, obviously in really trying conditions. It was good to see we got out there early and got some good racing in today. Really impressed with how the Brits have performed. Chris Rashley's done a great job, he set the bar and I've been chasing him all week so well done to Chris, well done to Josh (Mcknight) for his podium as well. Thanks to everyone who has organised the event, the sponsors, it's been a massive event to try and pull together and there's been a huge turnout. I think the class is really strong, so really happy to be here and be involved. Big thanks to A-Mac and Simon from Mach 2, Simon did a great job putting me back on the water on the first day, I think he's been keeping everyone's boats intact, regardless of what type of boat it is. You helped me in Hawaii and helped me when I bent my push-rod in the first race – it was nice not to have to carry those 70 points… Really looking forward to Sorrento next year, hopefully as many of you as possible can come down and do it.”
Tom Offer, who won the Corinthian Trophy at the Moth Worlds, won a new CST boom which was instantly turned into a 'Boom of Doom' for his pint to travel down, “It was a little bit dusty – I think I made a good effort of it.”
On the week overall Tom said, “Difficult, you know, it's a world championship. I'd done as much preparation as I felt I could do before the event. I was extremely pleased with my result, wanted to get a top ten and managed to achieve that so I'm really, really pleased. You look at the list of massive sailing names that are in this fleet that I have luckily managed to finish above so I'm really pleased with my performance and it's just been lots of good fun.”
Full results can be found here.
A 2 minute championship video shot by Beau Outteridge: