Thursday, 2 September 2010

Syz and Co International Moth European Championships - our summary

Negative Ghost Rider the pattern is full..

Or is it? The small lake of Silvaplana in Switzerland coped with 85 Moths better than most people thought, although it didn’t promise to be a great regatta as the week before saw temperatures plummet. Some Mach 2 sailors were experiencing severe cold as they practiced in 20 knots, which linked to an 8 degree air temperature gave a sub zero wind chill. Yet slowly, ever so slowly the sun came out, but not before we all understood why the North Face of the Eiger has claimed so many lives. In August.

The air was thin as the competitors inadvertently joined the mile high club. Most had not raced at that altitude before and their exhaustion was apparent. Ten tacks a beat up the right side meant that, whilst all would survive, the fittest prospered.

And the fittest were there. The American Bora Gulari, wounded at the last worlds was back looking lean and relaxed. Nathan Outteridge the “wunder kid” from Australia arrived fresh from winning the 49er division at “Sail for Gold” . Defending European Champion from Switzerland Arnaud Psarofaghis, back on a KA rig, was looking fast and hot with best in class boat handling. Simon Payne from the UK, the current World Champion, having just won the UK nationals, was looking to complete a “hat trick” of trophies for 2010.

From Australia also came Andrew McDougall, second at the recent 2010 World Championships, countrymen Scott Babbage and Rob Gough all had their eyes on the prize.

Interestingly Gulari, Outteridge and Babbage had new stock Mach 2’s and sails delivered to the event. Fast out of the box was always our mantra and oh God did this prove the case.

Race days

They say “keep your head out of the boat”! Nowhere has that been more important. With closing speed of nearly 40 knots you have to spot ‘em a long way out. Just getting to the start was scary and there were crashes. GBR’s Tim Penfold hit a German and was fortunate to escape with a black eye and a cut cheek only. With new wings he would race the next day.

It was safest at the front and music man Nathan Outteridge stormed into an early lead showing clear technical sailing superiority, but if you could hear the dance music coming from his boat you were still doing ok.

And dances there were plenty. Andrew McDougall, a late arrival wisely decided to sit a few out as the thin air caught out those not yet acclimatised. Only later in the week would he show his old form

Bora Gulari started averagely, but he soon lit the after burners on his American jet, and in the windy conditions, seemed one of the few who can better Outteridge at his own game.

It came down to the last day and a clearly ill Gulari won his third race in a row to make it a final race showdown. We didn’t drink from the lake again as Bora threw up in it at the finish and sadly, drained and exhausted, he limped in. The event belonged to Outteridge!

There were battles all the way down the fleet. Payne and Babbage tied on points in the end, with Babbage getting it on count back, but when you are European you gotta keep your eye on the other Europeans and it was Payne who was the European Champion, despite a tough week and only 4th overall.

Rob Gough came in 6th overall, sick in the week he showed courage to keep going when most would have gladly gone to bed. Matthais Renker(SUI), Chris Graham (UAE), Chris Rast (SUI) and Jason Belben (GBR) made up the top ten.

We’re the Gear!

Mach 2’s took the top 9 places and we had 17 boats in the top 20. Importantly also KA sail took the first 11 places showing that “you gotta be in it to win it”
The choice seemingly now is not which sail, but which KA sail is right for you?

A soldier can give you a gun, yet if you can’t fire it you may die and somewhat less dramatically but along the same lines, how you set up your Mach 2 is critical if you want to win races.

Most sailors were front/front hole on the main foil with the wand adjuster wound all the way to the top to slow down the main foil flap in the flat water of the Alps.
Gantrys were wound a couple of turns out so get the bow right down for upwind work and ride height adjusters were made to work hard as boat speeds nudged towards 30 knots downwind.

Rig wise the KA MSL 13/ new medium mast from Mach 2 showed great height. A precious commodity in the shifty lake conditions.

The KAMSL10 riders like Payne and Psarophagis used the stiff Mach 2 mast.

Outteridge, (who used both) summarised “the MSL13 has more height but possibly the 10 is lower but faster on open water”. I guess we will see in Belmont.

There was agreement however on the strategy of slackening the sail battens to get the sail to work better in the breeze.


Sailings version of the Tango! A stylized knife fight that mesmerised the viewing public and made the sailors proud to be part. We go on to Belmont! Who knows what will happen, but one thing’s for sure, gear wise there’s only one choice, and you know what I’m going to say…
Full results here

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