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The Foiling Dinghy Book by Alan Hillman
The Foiling Dinghy Book by Alan Hillman

Time in the Garage - home builders corner at the Moth Worlds

by Louay Habib 22 Jul 2014 13:56 BST 19-25 July 2014
Home builders (l to r) Richard Edwards, Glen Read, Phillippe Oligario & Alex Koukourakis at the International Moth World Championships © Tom Gruitt / yachtsandyachting.com

Louay Habib visits the self-styled "Home Builder's Corner" at Hayling Island Sailing Club

Moth Sailors come from all walks of life and many of them build their own boats, balancing home life, work and their passion for sailing.

Richard Edwards, a dentist from Poole is a prime example: "It is all about fun and satisfaction in building your own boat, I have built two Moths, which are the same age as my two children. I am a bit of an insomniac and while my wife went to sleep after caring for the kids all day, I would get in the garage and get the project rolling. Both of my moths are called Daisy after my Grandmother, who left me a bit of money and I put that towards building the boats. I don't get to many of the open meetings but when I do, it is great to catch up with other home builders and share our ideas and as I say, it is a lot of fun!

"Building your own boat is not as straight forward as buying one off the shelf. However, as the hull is out of the water, it isn't really a problem if you get some of that wrong. As long as its structurally sound the shape is not very important. The loads are massive, so getting the structure in the right places is more important than anything. We often have professional boat builders come over to our corner to look at what we have been up to."

Alex Koukourakis is a joiner by trade making all sorts of wooden structures and his friends, in the home build sect at the Moth Worlds, describe him as a real craftsman with great skill and precision.

"I built the boat at home in the garage, as I haven't got pots of money. So I got some sizes, made a male plug and the long process began! Making the mold was the easy bit because it is something I do quite a lot in wood and relatively speaking carbon isn't that different to work with.

"Really it's a platform boat and it's all about the rig and the foils. I had a lot of guidance and encouragement from a mate who is also a home builder, Phil Oligario, and he said – just give it a go mate. I am constantly on the phone to him working out how to do things. For me part of the attraction to Moth sailing is racing something that you have made yourself and this class is great for that because at the end of the day it's an 11ft boat so the materials don't cost a lot.

"I have been Moth sailing for three years, before that I raced high performance dinghies, like 420s but that was back in the 80s when I was at school. I never got into the water pushers, why would you when you can carry a Moth into the water and fly!

"Coming to an event like the Worlds you are here with top sailors who are pouring money into development, that is something that we as home builders could never do and you can learn a hell of a lot because the top guys are very open to us, probably more so than to their near rivals.

"My boat is quick because it has great foils, the only let down is me and my lack of practice. If you put one of the top guys in my boat there is no reason why they wouldn't make top ten. For me that is quite rewarding.

"However, time is the precious commodity – you should ask my missus! If you added up the hours spent home building, I would be better off just buying one but that is not what I want to do. The first time I launched the boat and she just popped up on the foils, it was just WOW! All those evenings were worth it."

The Home Build Cup has been organised by the Moth World Championship entrants who have built their own designs as Phillippe Oligario explains:

"A lot of top class and professional sailors have come into the class in recent years and we enjoy racing against them but to be honest we don't have a chance of beating them but with the Home Build Cup, we really have something to go for and that is an important part of the history and feeling within the class.

"There is a lot of communication between the home builders and competition as well. Right now, Richard (Edwards) is a long way ahead at The Worlds but Alex (Koukourakis) has two bad scores when he was unable to race and he is definitely going to make a big come back in the Silver fleet, maybe even win it."

Keep up to date with all the news from the event via the event website, www.mothworlds.org, Facebook, Twitter, Beau Outteridge videos on YouTube and feature articles on YachtsandYachting.com - the International Moth World Championships official media partner.

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