33-year old Bora Gulari handily took two races in the final day of the 2009 CST Moth World Championship, winning the event and becoming the first American in 33 years to win the title. Racing got underway about 11am in 14-15 knots, the lightest breeze of the week, in very flat water and under cloudy skies.
“I can't believe I've done it,” said Gulari, from Detroit, MI. “It's been a fantastic competition and everyone here has been great. I worked hard for this, and put in a lot of time training with George Peet and I couldn't have done it without his motivation. He'd get me out there and keep me on it all year. It feels wonderful to be in top place. Arnaud is an awesome sailor and has sailed so well, and Nathan, well, he's the smartest out there on the course and he pushed me so hard. It's been so great to sail with these guys.
Once he knew he'd taken the first race, Gulari turned the fun dial up and relaxed into the last race, enjoying the lead down the first beat. Missing a tack going into the top mark set him back about five positions and he rounded the mark behind Psarofasghis, Payne, Bergan and Outteridge, so was in top company for the first run. From back in fifth, the downwind sensation wound it up down the track to cross first for the final time in this competition, bringing his event wins to seven, almost half of the races sailed. “Rounding that mark in fifth, although I was in relax mode, I just took off, I don't know what happens but it's an amazing feeling to be able to run like I can on this boat.”
Dalton Bergan, finishing fourth, sailed a fast and tactical event, and along with Olympic Laser sailor Brad Funk, these two tidily supported the American effort in the top ten. Long the domain of the Australians and Europeans, this event has cemented the Americans as a force to be reckoned with in the international Moth fleet. The Australian Bladerider team also made a significant dent at the top of the fleet with four Aussies making top ten.
Top Ten Finishers Overall: Bora Gulari (USA) 24 points, Nathan Outteridge (AUS) 36 points, Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) 40 points, Dalton Bergan (USA) 49 points, Simon Payne (GBR) 66 points, Rohan Veal (AUS) 82 points, Scott Babbage (AUS) 100 points, Brad Funk (USA) 105 points, Rob Gough (AUS) 108 points, and Kevin Hall (NZL) 141 points.
Quotes from the Boats
Nathan Outteridge (AUS)
In the first race I got up to second behind Bora and it was obvious he was going to win so I was trying to cruise home in second and did a jibe, the foils stalled and I capsized so I ended up fifth which put me very close to Arnaud so the in the last race it was all on. When Arnaud had that massive lead and I was back in fifth I was a bit worried but I just kept cool and tried to sail back into the fleet. I climbed back to first at the top mark but then Bora just went past me again downwind. He's going really fast and he's done a lot of work so his win is well deserved. When Rohan gave me the chance to come and sail with the Bladerider team and be involved in, I jumped at it because I had gaps in my 49er schedule and the Farr 40 stuff that I do. Everyone is asking me if I am going to make the 2010 Worlds (March in Dubai), and at the moment I have massive conflicts with some of my other events because I am going to see if I can't figure it out. It's such an awesome event to be involved in. We have the Worlds in Australia in 2011 in Belmont, which is where I'm from, and one of the reasons I was getting into the Moth, so I will definitely do those. I just got into it two years earlier than I was expecting but that's turned out to be a really good thing because I know what the level is and I'm not far off it, I'll keep working away at it.
Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
I'm pretty happy with the results. The first race I was behind Nathan and he capsized on a jibe so I took two points on him there so he finished fifth and I finished third. On the last race I decided I was going to just go for the wind and sail away from him so I could have some boats between us. I did a brilliant first beat and sailed very tactically to get to the top mark first, but when I bore away the wind was very light so I struggled a bit to go down, then I lost my first place on the last upwind because I missed the layline one more time – I didn't learn from yesterday – and Nathan finished one place ahead of me. I finished fourth in last year's Worlds so I'm moving forward. This year's been much more intense and the level is much higher than last year. This year was more about speed. This year there is about ten boats who could win a race versus four last year, so it's much more interesting. Every boat is going progressively faster so it was much more difficult this year.
Charlie McKee USA
(Sailing with a broken hand on the final day, an injury sustained during a crash on Day 4): My goal was top ten, I didn't quite achieve that (11th overall), but the people I was around racing were all amazing sailors and we had a great time. We weren't quite with the top – there were definitely different fleets and within each fleet everyone was having amazing racing. The top seven were much better than everyone else, and our 8th to 15th group was filled with fantastic sailors. We had some great duels which made it super fun. I think everyone felt that way throughout the fleet. When you're in the 30s, you look around and you look at the names on the board and the caliber of the sailors – I've never been to a regatta like this, where there's so much talent deep in the fleet. As the sailing improved during the week it got way harder for me. At the beginning of the week I was just rolling around in 12th place and I'd look behind and there'd be no-one there for a long way, and if I got a 14th or 15th, that was like getting a last. By today, all those guys from 15th to 30th, you make one mistake and they'd mow you down. To see that there's that kind of improvement – it's partly the steepness of the learning curve but it's mostly just the caliber of the sailors who are so good and only just learning to sail the Moth because it's so fun.
Simon Payne (GBR)
(Still wearing a knee brace today): It was fantastic consistently being in the top five and racing with the guys at the top. Today we changed lead among the five of us up and down the course, and it was just great. I thought I could have done a 4th but with Dalton leading that first race, there wasn't much I could have done. It was so close, and to have two Americans in the top 5, that's fantastic.
Nigel Oswald (USA) (Event Chair, talking about the event): The numbers are down on last year but the quality of sailing has gone up significantly. The mix at the top of the racing was exciting, with the exception of Bora, there wasn't any one person winning all the races, as in the last few years there has been a dominant few at the top. I'm really happy with the way the event has turned out and now it's over, happy to be able to relax. Sailing for me personally was up and down but my preparation in a new boat has been negligible, and my main aim was to just try to get better throughout the regatta and see if I could get a couple of good races in. I had a bunch of low teens results on yesterday after some of these guys helped me get my boat set up my boat so I think I've met my expectations. It's been great.
Andrew McDougall (AUS) (designer of the Bladerider and Mach2 Moth):
I'm usually the boat guy at these events but there's not been too many issues which means we're getting it right. I think there's 14 Mach 2s at this event. I've always got spare parts with me, but there's really been not that many breakages at all, so guys have been able to work on their game more than worry about their boats. It's been a fantastic event with just such high level sailing, although speaking for myself, the conditions have been too shifty, I'm not keen on sailing in this kind of shifty breeze.