A frustrating steamy hot muggy day on the Swan River in Perth on day one of the McDougall McConaghy 2016 International Moth Australian Championships in Perth.
The usually reliable afternoon sea breeze struggled to form all day as the thunder swirled around the Perth skyline. The breeze swung from 210 – 270 degrees and filled in pressure patches over the Melville West race course but never stayed for longer than one leg of each race.
It was all about searching for the pressure and staying on the foils. Only a small number of the top Moth sailors managed to sniff out the zephyrs but had to sail quite extreme angles to remain in the air.
Three short two lap races were completed but it took all day. Most competitors had to count a heavy score but most consistent of the day was Rob Gough from Tasmania who won the first race and followed with a 7,2 to lead the fleet on 10 points.
Local WA sailor Steve Thomas scored a consistent 2,4,6 to bank 12 points, shared with the Moth master Andrew ‘Amac’ McDougall (4,5,3).
Sydneysider Josh McKnight who had a bad first race but followed with two guns will need to wait for the first drop to catch up the leaders.
Josh describes it: “We had pressure lines filling in down the course, It was an everybody foil or nobody foil sort of day. It was about trying to link up those pressure lines to stay foiling the longest, it was probably one of the toughest Moth sailing days.”
In both race 2 & 3 Josh McKnight came from behind the fleet and found the smallest of gaps to slingshot the start and sail round on the foils to grab an early lead which he never relinquished.
“With those sort of starts with everybody on the start line, there is plenty of air going and then they all sheet on and It all closes up so if you can come in and slingshot through you can do better, all those guys on the line have got no chance of foiling. The first few guys will get away and the others will just hang there.”
Glen Oldfield’s wingsail Moth ‘Whisper’ made an appearance and managed to foil and make a spectacular dismount in front of the South of Perth Yacht Club lawn to much applause by the watching spectators.
Ian Sim’s non foiling scow was able to lead some of the latest generation foiling Moths around the course at times running downwind as opposed to reaching backwards and forwards!
So a slow start to the championship and more thunderstorms in the air tomorrow when racing resumes with a 1255 hrs warning signal.
At least competitors were able to enjoy generous helpings of sausage sizzle and an Oppi full of several varieties of Matso’s Broome beer on ice when returning to shore!
For full results and more info go to: www.sopyc.com.au
Drone video of the day: https://vimeo.com/150672439
Sponsors & suppliers to the event include: McDougall McConaghy, Deck Hardware, Zhik, CST Composites, Knee Deep and Matso’s Brewery.
By Jonny Fullerton, Grand Prix Sailing