Please select your home edition
Edition
Noble Marine 2012

International Moth Grand Prix at Bala Sailing Club

by Brad Gibson 10 Oct 2017 12:17 BST 7-8 October 2017
Moth and WASZP Open at Bala © John Hunter

Bala Sailing Club was the setting for the final UK International Moth class Grand Prix for 2017 over the weekend of October 7-8.

A small but keen group of 10 skippers had entered with some arriving early on the Friday to soak up the sights of Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) with the hope of some quality time on the water. For the five skippers who made it onto the water they were rewarded with fantastic 12-15 knot flat water conditions from the SW blowing straight down the length of the lake. The only downside of a great sail being the demise of Chris White with a broken boom seeing him withdraw from the weekends event after travelling north from Cornwall. A number of skippers proceeded to gather in town for an Italian meal, a few beers and for some, a few more...

Saturday dawned with the forecast 12-20 knots alive and kicking straight down the lake again with the more experienced licking their lips and some less experienced wincing at what may lie ahead. After a precise but appropriately low key briefing given the smallish fleet size, including the Waszp fleet joining us, it was gear on and a launch to make the 12pm start time.

With the Moths being first away, the tricky placement of the start line to offer a genuine beat up the course on the simple windward/leeward course proved a difficult test in the gusting conditions. Do you lay through on starboard to run out of runway at the bank and have to make a quick tack? Or do you lay up on port with only the smallest distance between the pin and the bank and hope you can take off quick to clear the starboard brigade? It was James Ross here that took the latter option and jumped out on port to lead early showing the rest of us how it's done. As the fleet settled into the race it was evident that the newer designs of David Smithwhite and James Ross (both Excocet) and Paul Hignett (Atomik Voodoo) were going to set the pace for the weekend as expected. By the end of race 1 with large shifts on the course offering plenty of pot holes and elevators it was Paul taking the first bullet from James with David settling for 3rd.

To think though that the front group was the only interesting race going on would be to overlook the close fought battles a little further back in the field. It was here where the older designs of recent years fought out the lower places. Chris Tilbrook (Ninja) chased the lead group hard in race 1 for his well earned 4th place and only result for the day, sadly succumbing to an old war wound.

A little further back Eddie Gatehouse and Mark Greaves (both Mach 2), Brad Gibson (Bladerider), Katie Hughes and Neil Cooney (both Ninja) all fought out some long close races with positions changing regularly in what was collectively for them slightly more testing conditions. Once again the Grand Prix finishing system was used to good effect allowing these older designs to experience the racing that foiling Moths offer at level that suits their standards or budgets.

Back to the front end and after slight tweaks to the weather mark position and length of the course, three more races followed under similar conditions but for a few light air patches preceding a rain front in race 3. The higher level of boat handling, speed and racecraft of the front 3 was clear, in particular by David Smithwhite who after having had a quiet word with himself following race 1, went on to record 3 straight bullets in commanding fashion. Both James and Paul were never out of the hunt, both rounding out the podium places at days end but just out of reach of the top spot.

In the pack behind, Eddie managed to pip Brad for 4th after a close tussle across the day. Katie found form in the lighter third race to record her best finish to be not far off the back of these two on the score sheet. Neil had his good moments only to find a lack of recent time in the boat costly at crucial moments and sadly Mark, after sitting well in race one saw a small tear turn into a big one in his starboard trampoline ending his day prematurely.

Tired bodies returned to the clubhouse and an evening meal and desert that could only be described as overly generous, served enthusiastically by our fantastic hosts at Bala SC. Beer was taken with the odd glass of Shiraz in the memory of what was a fantastic day's sailing.

Sunday dawned and sadly with a lack of wind forecast an early decision to abandon racing for the day was made. With a score of 3 points from 4 races after discard David Smithwhite was declared the winner and on behalf of all skippers, roundly thanked our race team and generous hosts for a great weekend with confirmation that all wish to return for more.

With a an exciting UK GP series and a number of International events planned for 2018, anyone interested in joining the International Moth class is encouraged to get in touch via the UK Class website at www.internationalmoth.co.uk or follow the class on facebook here.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st4350David SMITHWHITEHayling Island SC‑31113
2nd3979James ROSSNetley SC‑22226
3rd4490Paul HIGNETTLoch Lomond SC1‑3337
4th3870Eddie GATEHOUSEHayling Island SC‑654413
5th3169Brad GIBSONBirkenhead RSC54‑6514
6th3890Katie HUGHESLoch Lomond SC‑765617
7th3914Neil COONEYCarsington SC‑877721
8th3945Chris TILBROOK 4(DNC)DNCDNC26
9th3834Mark GREAVESSCYC9(DNC)DNCDNC31
10th4100Chris WHITERestronguet(DNC)DNCDNCDNC33

Related Articles

Home Build International Moth Blog 7
First flight for Valkyrie! The day for launch of Valkyrie had come. We woke up early for a short trip to Rutland Sailing Club (sadly not the open at Eastbourne) to meet up with the other local (ish) boys for support. Posted on 13 Aug
International Moths at Abersoch Dinghy week
An awesome display of Lowriding The absolute accolade sailing these fast but fiendishly unstable craft is "You made it look easy". Paul Hignett with a perfect score of five bullets did just that in an awesome display of Lowriding. Posted on 31 Jul
International Moth European Championship
Swedish club serves best food ever tasted at a sailing event Last week saw over 65 moth sailors descend on the small sleepy fishing village of Borstahusen in southern Sweden. Perhaps uncharted waters for the Moth class however near perfect conditions prevailed all week and the club provided fantastic hospitality. Posted on 25 Jul
Flying the flag
Over 50 years later, the Kangaroo Route lives on… Over 50 years later, the Kangaroo Route lives on… You don't have to go too far abroad now to run into another Aussie. Equally, when you're off the beaten track, and assuming you can find one anymore... Posted on 15 Jul
International Moth UK Nationals overall
Four go into the final race with a chance to win We thought it would go down to the wire, and that's exactly what happened. The final race decided the title with four sailors still in with a shout of winning the event. Posted on 14 Jul
Noble Marine and the Moths
Interview with Phil Kilburn We spoke to Phil Kilburn of Noble Marine Insurance during the International Moth UK Championship to find out more about his view of the foiling Moths, Noble's relationship with class associations and his own sailing in 2018. Posted on 14 Jul
An affordable route into foiling Moth sailing
Model yachting supremo's Bladerider conversion On the surface you'd think Brad Gibson's as the least likely route into foiling Moth sailing, but he's has embraced it fully, and shown that entry into the class with a decent boat and modern control systems is far more accessible than you may think. Posted on 14 Jul
International Moth UK Nationals day 3
Foiling Moth heaven Friday provided a perfect combination of sunshine, 12 knots of breeze, and flat water for the Moth fleet leading to three great races in front of Thorpe Bay Yacht Club. Posted on 13 Jul
International Moth UK Nationals day 2
A race against tide, won by slick race management Unexpected drizzle and overcast sky greeted the camping Moth sailors in the Thorpe Bay Yacht Club dinghy park on Thursday morning. Posted on 12 Jul
Dremel: The Moth sailor's best friend
One of the familiar sounds in the dinghy park One of the familiar sounds in the dinghy park at any International Moth event is the whirr of the battery-powered Dremel and then the grind of carbon. Posted on 12 Jul