We were all set to deliver our own Moth Worlds prognostications (late, as usual), but then we ran across this piece on The Foiling Week’s blog from flying scribe Neil Baker, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to do much better. So we pulled some excerpts to post here – with a Day 1 cancellation meaning it’s just in the nick of time – and advise you to head over to the original pieces (Part 1, Part 2) if you want the rest of the story. Shoutout to “Randy Cunningham,” the funniest on-air personality in sailing, in the Worlds intro video above, and tune in to the Worlds video feed for more gems from his generation’s Mouth of the South. Here’s Baker:
On Any Moth Worlds:
Why is it horrible? Well mostly it is the crushing realisation that you have to deliver. Its high noon in the racing stakes and you have nowhere to hide now. You have to make good on what you’ve invested training, in brownie points with the wife (or husband!) and of course in carbon. Moths have that extreme element for sailors of trying to calculate the biggest bang for your buck when buying your kit for a season, and also figuring out the best time to do it so that you haven’t, quite literally, blown your wad too soon. It can be frustrating to buy something new, like a high lift foil, only for someone to release a newer better one a few months later. Of course most annoyingly for one still stuck at the desk looking over a London train station…the really horrible element this week is the self-gratifying pictures of people already on their way or even already at the best sailing spot on the planet, lake Garda, filling social media feeds with increasing regularity.
The wind is like clockwork (touch wood) and the Italians are superb hosts. The pasta always seems to be ready just when you’re going sailing?? The coffee is good enough to make even the most committed Melbournian barista swoon, and for those of a “Patonator” type persuasion, an Aperol Spritz is the finest post sales recovery beverage you’ll get anywhere in the world. The water is also Pan flat when the Orais blowing. Less so when the evil northerly wind is blowing and if we get some f that again it will no doubt separate the men from the boys. If it happens before the gold fleet selection is made it could really change the make up of the fleets.
On Gear Evolution
The kit has changed in an imperceptible yet highly effective way. 2012 was a year when gains were increasingly marginal around the foil horizontals despite a lot of the focus being in that area. There have only been small improvements since. However, many other areas have progressed. Aero tramps, lower mast stumps and stiffer EVERYTHING. Adjustable wands have gone mainstream and then moved onto become telescopic and hang off the Bow sprits to give the boat extra stability and much more control in waves. The foil verticals have got thinner and stiffer and the sails have evolved to a whole new level with Carbon battens being de rigeur. Of course there have been a few howlers along the way, the less said about the twin wands idea the better,one can only assume those guys were trying to make up for something. We also don’t see too many wing sails either although that was partly because it was found they didn’t measure.
Exocets have gone from just single figures in 2012 with just one in the top 10, to being the boat of choice for many. They even finally managed to win the worlds in 2016 at the 5th attempt (took long enough!). Does that mean they’re the best…we’ll find out. Cookie has taken the Rockets into the solid state design and they are going like, erm, something fast that flies, wait, it’ll come to me, and Mach 2 have continued to make small, incremental but effective improvements. There are a few other new designs coming through, we might even see the Lennon “Thinnair”doing well although it’s not raced yet. The Voodoo is getting there and now has some good sailors developing it, we still don’t know what the heck Josh McKnight is going to turn up with. Really, between the big builders, the margins are now very fine. We don’t know which design will win, we know that a Wazsp won’t so stop ****ing asking. One thing we can be certain of is that the best sailor will still probably carry the win. Actually, one more thing we can be certain of is Simon Owen-Smith, the mothies SoS. The most important bit of Moth Kit will be there and he will be busting his ass off for everyone to keep them on the water. Buy that man a beer, I doubt Aperol is his thing, although you never know.
On Fleet Talent
If anyone can name an event with the quality of fleet to match this then I’d like to see it. There really is a depth of talent here that is eye watering. In fact it’s enough to make you cry if you spend the majority of your week trying to do an honest days work flogging lubricant to the over 50s. The majority of Dinghy sailors never get to race against the best in the world. A few occasionally get to race against an Olympian, the odd one of us gets to race against a medallist. At the moth worlds in 2017 you’ll be banging on the toilet door just before launch o’clock, complaining at the wait, with a good chance that it’s someone you’d normally go a bit weak at the knees about if they sailed within 200 metres of you at the round the island race.
On British Hopes
First to go is the current holder of the world championship title, the UK. In fact that very World Champion is Paul Goodison who is turning up fresh from the AC and, knowing nothing about how much time he’s had to sail, he’s definitely got a good chance, he is pure quality. Another strong UK sailor will always be Rob Greenhalgh; usually well prepared and driving some primo, slightly experimental kit, you’d be a fool to bet against him. However, time in the boat is also a challenge for him of late. Well that’s what he’ll tell you anyway. Sadly the current UK champ, Dylan Fletcher, is not available. As member of the GB Olympic squad he’s being marched off to Kiel to continue the relentless Olympic cycle. Far be it for people to have a break in the first year of the cycle. It’s a real shame as Dylan was unbelievably fast at the UK nationals. Still, his Solid State Rocket, not to be confused with a skate park for mice, is coming and will be sailed by none other than former Euro champ Cookie himself. Now we’ll find out if it’s the boat or the sailor eh Cookie? No pressure. There are plenty of other strong UK contenders but it’s unlikely they’ll fight for the title. Ben Paton has already reserved 4th place and Rashley has moved on to some kind of sunsail holiday, or is it Nacra sailing, it all looks the same.
On The Other Big Moth Nation
From the Australian contingent we’ve got a huge bevvy of talent coming, including former Moth world champions Josh McKnight and Nathan Outteridge , Americas cup sailors like Tom Slingsby and Iain Jensen and of course long time Worlds contenders like Scott Babbage and Rob Gough. Whilst many of them have been heavily involved in the AC, or several other types of boat, they’ve all got some great kit and will no doubt be loving the idea of getting stuck into racing at Garda. Rumour is a few of the AC sailors went straight from the Cup to Malcesine to get practicing. Commitment like that shows why they are so much better than the rest of us. I’d have been happy to just get away from boats for good I expect.
Again, read the full breakdown at The Foiling Week here.
And if you want to know Sailing Anarchy’s picks, here they are:
First: Pete Burling
Second: Paul Goodison
Third: Rob Greenhalgh