WARNING: IF YOU HAVE ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, SKIP TO THE VIDEO BELOW. Sander Van Borch is already loading up more awesome shots here, and a title shout out to some boys that did for hardcore music what the Mothies do for sailing. And of course a huge thanks to Sperry, who’ve been supporting Olympic youth sailing in the US for years, and now they’re learning to love the Moths like we do.
I got off the water steamin’ mad yesterday; no matter how prepared we seem to be (and there’s no doubt this is the most ambitious coverage we’ve ever done), tech issues always pop up and bite us in the ass. In this case we had inverter issues, but it’s always something! Fortunately, our backup to the backup plan – streaming 540p video on battery power – worked, meaning there is zero doubt that foiling, dinghy, AC, and really anyone who loves sailing will be able to watch all of the McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds completely live starting today. And if we can get our shit together, it will all be in 720p HD quality. If not, deal.
I stormed off down the beach with about 30 bucks worth of vodka in an icy glass, and within 100 meters, I’d been called over to look at the latest aero fairings on 49er star Simon Hiscocks Mach 2. Within moments, all my anger was gone. “Shock” and his childlike glee at putting together a really cool piece of carbon fiber porn knocked it all out of me. Then he – a goddamned olympic medalist – told me that “it’s just absolutely incredible to be bullshitting on the beach and racing up the line with these guys all around me – when do you ever get to do that?” as he gestured towards Glenn Ashby, Dean Barker, Loick Peyron, and any one of dozens of other legends of the sport on the beach around us. Think about that for a second: An Olympic medalist is completely blown away because he’s never been to anything quite like this. And he’s not getting paid for it; he’s doing it because racing the Moth has made him love sailing as much now as he did when he was a child.
I walked the beach for another hour, talking to another dozen guys and gals about their boats, the conditions, the class – and I walked away with one overarching impression: Moth Worlds really is a window into the future of the sport. It’s not necessarily because foils are going to somehow dominate the world – though with Amac’s new one-design “Wasp”, they might (and we’ll have MUCH more on that soon). What makes this event special is the fact that it attracts the people that will lead the sport for the decades, and they – along with everyone else here – bring a youthful energy to the beach that is palpable, uplifting, and leaves everyone walking away with a smile and a great outlook for the future of sailing.
The Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club knows it; their Opening Ceremony was one of the funniest and most welcoming we’ve ever heard, including a confetti canyon and dozens of local kids frolicking in the veggie-derived bio paper snow, and despite being a pretty posh place, there are more crazed kids sailing random boats off the beach than we’ve seen at any club. The members – even those who don’t know much about sailing – are out in force, volunteering or just adding to the massive spectator crowd. It is a scene that needs to be seen to be believed – and that’s why we’re so glad to bring it to you live.
Our singlehanded ocean racer Ronnie’s been on a crash course learning what these boats are all about, and without further ado, here’s the official SA FORM GUIDE for the 2015 Moth Worlds.
The podium at a Moth Worlds is perhaps the most difficult place for a sailor to reach. Here’s what we think it might look like.
Nathan Outteridge – The name literally needs no introduction. Olympic Gold medallist in the 49er three years ago, two-time Moth World Champion (defending world champ in Hayling last year), and AC 72 skipper onboard Artemis, Outteridge has clearly established himself as being arguably the best high-speed sailor on the planet. That one-in-a-million freak of nature who can squeeze 100% out of any boat and be cool as ice on tactics and in the face of advertsity, Nath is the complete package, the hometown favorite and the smart money.
Peter Burling – Every sport has their superstar of a generation, and if Nath is “it” for the skiff world, Burling’s day is coming. At just 24 years of age, he has competed in two Olympic Games, winning 49er Silver in London 2012, won two 49er Worlds and skippered an AC 45 to a commanding win in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2013. Just like Outerridge, Pete is also a hot-commodity in the America’s Cup scene, earning the position of heir-apparent to the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand. Blazingly fast in the Moth, big and strong and talented beyond belief, Peter Burling will be a Moth World Champion one day; we just don’t know if that title will be awarded this week or further on down the road.
Josh “Yoshi” Mcknight – If a guy like Nathan Outteridge is the Iceman in this fleet, then Josh McKnight is Maverick. Like Maverick, he’s cooler than the underside of the pillow, but also happy to stir the shit and create a little conflict when he can. Josh won a tough world champs in Garda three years ago and plenty thought it was a bit of a fluke, but in the intervening years, he’s proved as fast as anyone over the long haul. McKnight has raw boat speed and talent to spare, while his one weakness may still be a touch of youthful arrogance. Sticking to the basics on boat set-up (he told us that much of the work in the boat park is probably just mental masturbation) and just doing massive amounts of sailing, young Yoshi is a potential World Champion if he can sail a smart regatta.
Bora Gulari – America’s fastest foiling helm and the two-time American World Champion in the Moth, Bora is something of a public enemy hear in Sorrento, though you’d never hear the polite Aussies ever say it. With Australians like Nath, Josh, Babbage, and the rest of the all-stars leading a 97-boat home nation team into this Moth Worlds, no one wants to see an American walk away from ‘straya with the goods. With arguably more hours in a Moth than anyone else, hundreds of hours of development on rig, foil, and ride control and an aerospace engineers intuition, the Detroit-based Luna Rossa sailor is always a factor. He’s also never lost a Moth Worlds to Nathan…
The Top Ten
Tom Slingsby – A 5-time Laser World Champion, Laser gold medalist and strategist aboard Oracle Team USA during their historic win in AC 34, ‘Slingers’ a god on the tactics, ultra-fit, able to hike for ages. He’s got plenty of time training in Oz recently, and there is no doubt in our minds that Tom could walk away with his first Moth Worlds.
Blair Tuke – Sailing alongside Peter Burling to win Olympic Silver in the 49er, and also in the AC 45’s, Extreme 40’s and Moth’s, Peter is also well in line to become a superstar for a generation. Reportedly well on the pace, don’t be surprised to see Blair mixing it up at the very front of the fleet.
Scott Babbage – Obi-wan Kenobi in the Moth, the the current Class President has put a million hours into the boat and has been within striking range of the title on countless occasions. With a huge fleet racing in highly varying conditions that Babbs knows well, he’s got the experience and race craft to manage a big fleet and finally secure the elusive Moth World title…if he can just close the deal.
Chris Draper – The Luna Rossa skipper and Olympic medalist has the speed, tactical prowesse and experience to win in any fleet, but may be hampered by lack of time in the boat due to other commitments.
David Lister – A-class stalwart and Moth aficionado, Lister sails a fully one-off boat that he built with his own two hands. With as many hours in the Moth as anyone and boat speed as his tactical trump card, David is a threat to the podium whenever he lines up. And his foils are all over the fleet;
Paul Goodison – A 3-time Olympian in the Laser with a Gold medal to show for his efforts, Goodison is the naturally gifted sailor that will sail near the front of any fleet that he sails in. Reportedly on-form, Goody will look to improve on his 12th place Worlds finish from last year, with more time in the boat.
Andrew McDougall – The Builder and developer of the Mach 2 and the only guy who’s ever been able to successfully produce a mass-market Moth, AMAC defies physics and medicine, and can easily win races despite being old enough to be some of the fleet’s grandpa. In fact, Amac seems to look younger every year, and be having more and more fun to boot.
The Dark Horses
Iain Jensen – The Artemis wing trimmer and 49er Olympic Gold medalist crew offers the total package, and can sail with the best of ‘em when he’s on point.
Chris Rashley – Immensely experienced in the Moth and ultra successful over the years, the 2014 Worlds runner-up won the pre-Worlds practice race. Rashie blew out a spinal disk and was laid out in the middle of the street just a week ago, but some steroid injections and a bit of rehab combined with an attitude harder than an Ice Road Trucker might just see this light-air speedster performing at the top of the fleet…or laying in a hospital bed..
Rob Gough -A super fast all around sailor with tons of experience in the Moth, many within the class have them as their biggest dark horse to break into the top 5. A popular pick among the fleet, strong, heavy, and no-nonsense.
Glenn Ashby – The 8-time A-Cat World Champion and Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer knows how to make a boat like a Moth go fast, but lacks experience compared to the front runners. The nicest guy you’ll ever meet, Glenn Ashby is the sentimental favorite amongst his competitors to score an unlikely podium finish.
There are battles throughout the fleet; Youth champions, masters champions, women’s title – and we’ve only mentioned a handful of the sailors, constrained by space and time from giving everyone their due. in a fleet where sailors like Route du Rhum winner and ocean sailing legend Loick Peyron, current Mini Transat champ Benoit Marie, and Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Dean Barker blend in with the masses, you know you’re in for a special regatta. We sure do.