by Brad Marsh 27 Jul 07:50 UTC 25-26 July 2020 Bieker Moth by Mackay Boats – © Adam Mustill Photography Tweet
This weekend was the first iteration of the NZ Moth Class Winter sprints racing at Manly Sailing Club. 17 boats in total arrived up for the first race on Saturday then as per usual Moth racing there was a natural attrition rate to those hardy soldiers left at the end of the second day!
The conditions were champagne and the water as cold as the ice in a champagne bucket but Race Officer Russell Coutts did a great job with his team of volunteers and resources donated by the Manly Sailing Club to get us underway in flat water and a shifty offshore breeze. The new Bieker moths built in NZ again showed their impressive speed upwind on the first beat but they were not going to have it that easy with ace wildcard Nathan Outteridge proving to the fleet that a Mach 2 can still be very competitive.
The day was was a battle between the heavyweights with Sam Meech (NZL Olympian) versus Nathan Outteridge (AUS Olympian) Thankfully this ANZAC battle went the right way and Sam came back to the beach at the end of day one the victor and leading the fleet heading into day two. Further down the fleet some of the new comers showed great development since our last regatta just before lockdown – the overall level of sailing getting higher and racing becoming more intense.
Day two was very similar conditions to the Saturday with many people changing configurations and gear based on what was learnt the first day. The Moth class is an open development class and much like a skiff, our trailers are often full of all sorts of equipment from masts to sails to foils that each have a very narrow band of optimum conditions. Local sailor Stu Goodes was lucky to have all of his equipment intact and available for day two after a spectacular crash on day one when he accelerated in a gust approaching the bottom mark and had no option but to plow straight into it. In a crash similar to what we used to expect from Hamish Pepper in his Rent-a-Dent sponsored Moth Stu was catapulted from his boat as it went from an estimated 25 knots to 0 knots in less than 1 second.
Day two was a short and sharp day with 3 quick races and some very close racing. However there was no toppling Sam Meech and his impressive form who went on the win the weekend’s racing ahead of Stu followed by Alex Koukourakis in his Exocet Moth.
A special mention to Tom Barker who had an exceptional second day of racing in his heavily modified home build moth and also to Frankie Dair who proved a Bladerider can still be a competitive fleet racing boat when in the hands of a capable sailor.