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International Moth Lowriders Display at the RYA Dinghy Show

by John Edwards 28 Feb 13:07 GMT
A very special Magnum 3 awakens from hibernation © Ian Marshall

The highlight of the "winter" season for the rank and file dinghy sailor is arguably the RYA Dinghy Show. In turn, there is great anticipation for the lectures on the Main Stage being given by dinghy sailing historian David Henshall, about the long history of the International Moth.

It would be wrong to steal his thunder, but right to acknowledge the enormity of his task. Not just will he have to cover 90+ years, but the registry found on the International Moth Lowriders Facebook page identifies 149 different designs and that is only between the early 1960s onwards and sail numbers 2800 to 4000 or so. It also excludes a myriad of Australian designs (which accounted for well over 9000 boats before sail number homologation 15 years ago) as well as those in the US and Europe. The history of the International Moth Class really is the history of singlehanded sailing dinghies, covering so many designs, construction techniques and materials, rig forms, designers and personalities.

Hence the invitation from the RYA to create an accompanying display, adjacent to the Main Stage was very warmly received. A core of Lowrider gurus has been busy over the last couple of months bringing together a cross section of boats and accompanying media material to help illustrate David Henshall's lectures. There will be no spoilers, but there are national and world championship winning boats, one restored from a terrible wreck, one which spent decades in a chicken shed, a more recent elusive all carbon beast and an early foiler.

Alongside the boats themselves, there will be a series of informative displays, dipping into the extensive class archives, together with edited highlights of film and video footage. With a Lowrider regatta circuit being established following a successful National Championships last year, there are efforts to locate inactive, lost and forgotten old Moths in any condition. Visitors can help at the Show with that task.

The stand will also provide a focal point for anyone who has ever sailed an International Moth. There is an illustrious list of former Moth sailors, with the experience provided by both lowriding and latterly foiling developing a skillset that has allowed many to go on to significant successes in other classes. There will be informal get-togethers and interviews of legends from all through the ages, with several previous National, European and World champions dropping by.

With the Lowrider display providing the historical background, you will also find at least four new foiling International Moths at the display, with Olympian Stu Bithell's Aardvark Rocket SSD on the IMCA UK stand and Jason Belben's Maguire Exocet hosted by Ronstan. And hidden elsewhere will be two factory fresh AtomikUK Lithium boats in public for the first time. In a development class entering its 10th decade, what's not to like about the reveal of a brand-new design?

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