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International Moth Lowrider National Championship at Carsington Sailing Club

by John Edwards 28 May 07:15 BST 18-19 May 2019

Even the youngest bike rider will know, subconsciously (until their dawning knowledge of Newton's Laws), that forward momentum brings lateral stability. Similarly, that stabilisers make a significant difference to the ease of going slowly without falling over.

For Moth sailors, the difficulty of light airs sailing, particularly downwind, can be as extreme as handling manoeuvres in heavy air. Take away the wide underwater stabilisers that the foilers have and there is probably a no more challenging discipline in light airs than sailing a Lowrider Moth. Despite the lack of velocity all weekend, the mass gathering provided further evidence of the momentum of the Lowrider class revival.

Hence those who should know better gathered on a calm Saturday morning and acknowledged that the sailing's equivalent of "unicycle track stands" would be the order of the day. It seemed unlikely that the growl heard coming from the reservoir on Friday afternoon would be repeated. The Hungry Tigers were likely to remain silent and the older designs would have their day. But first there were old acquaintances to refresh: seven participants from the 1991 Moth Nationals at Saundersfoot were present, including CSC member and PRO John Nixon, who enjoyed greatly presiding over the largest gathering of "lowrider" Moths in 15 years. Thankfully, his empathy for the fleet in coping with less than 5 knots meant that he set courses with reaches rather than runs, which made coping with the light conditions much easier. Even more generous, he lent his own boat to an observer. Defending champion Lyndon Beasley also brought a second boat, the Magnum 3 bought at the EISCA auction in 2017 and recently restored.

The fleet was diverse, including a modified Europa, a Skol 3, a Stockholm Sprite, a pair of Magnums, an assortment of Axemans, two Skippys and three Hungry Tigers. Some helms were stepping back into Moths for the first time in many years, others had never left the class. Several more, active sailors were unable to make the journey and with a number of boats under restoration, it's clear that there remains enthusiasm towards these challenging, rewarding and historic craft. Racing was held using CVRDA derived handicaps, with adjustments agreed at the briefing.

Despite the light conditions, racing was able to start on time, with 13 boats in the line. The order of the weekend was soon established, with Paul Hignett moving towards the front of the fleet chased closely around the course by Martin Harrison. Racing was close and competitive, although good mannered, throughout the fleet: right of way was given more with a raising of an eyebrow than a vocal demand. Third on the water was Ian Marshall, an ominous demonstration of the relative speed of the Magnum 6 in light airs. Katie Hughes led to the first mark in the second race, although her challenge faded with the dying breeze.

The fleet returned ashore after two races, to join club members for an evening of Pie/Peas/Mash and Horse Racing, before the later entertainment of seeing how many Moth sailors can squeeze into a campervan. (The answer was...)

On Sunday, there was the promise of a knot or two extra wind, which was enough for those who had avoided middle-aged spread to ease back into the toe straps from time to time, and provide some relief for the rest of us. It was not enough to bring the narrow boats to the front on handicap, however. Three races were completed, with Martin holding off the challenge of Paul for line honours.

Considering his over the water positions, it was no surprise that Ian Marshall gained a picket fence of scores in his slippery Magnum 6 to become the 2019 National Lowrider Moth Champion on handicap. His prize was the stunning Hibbert Bowl, a 1931 vintage silver rose bowl sourced by John Butler and which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Moth World Champion's Carling Trophy. The prizes were distributed by CSC Sailing Secretary Stephen Barnett and John Nixon, who were thanked for providing excellent facilities and racing. Two other historic Moth trophies have been offered by the Iszatt family as perpetual prizes for the Lowrider National Championships. The Blue Circle Trophy was won by Katie, as Ladies Lowrider National Champion. The Broxbourne trophy was awarded to George Coles, as leading Under 21 sailor. Paul was runner up and winner of the fastest boat trophy. The Slowrider Wooden Spoon was given to John Butler, whose historic Europe K4 was refurbished and adapted for forecast conditions that, unfortunately, did not arrive.

Third was Tom Foxall, who claimed his previous best in the International Moth National Championships was 13th. Interestingly, the archives confirm that this occurred in 1991, and show in 12th that year Paul Hignett, with Nigel Williams getting the better of both in 11th... Old rivalries have been resumed...

Overall Results:

PosHelmClubDesignBoat No.Sail No.PNR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Ian MarshallBowmoor SCMagnum 6K388738871100111114
2Paul HignettLoch Lomond SCHungry TigerISAF 30293029980232259
3Tom Foxall Magnum 3K3663406611154255213
4Martin HarrisonRoyal Victoria YCAxeman 7GBR 4043404398031034414
5Lyndon BeasleyGreensforge SCStockholm SpriteK3222322211205643315
6Nigel WilliamsBartley SCAxeman 6GBR 402640149806566723
7Russell WheelerIsle of Sheppey SCHungry TigerGBR 404640469807787829
8John ButlerSutton‑in‑Ashfield SCEuropaK43641148104109932
9John EdwardsAbersoch SCHungry TigerISAF 30173017980119710632
10George ColesCarsington SCAxeman 2K3993399310501211981038
11Katie HughesLoch Lomond SCSkippyGBR 4014332710009811141442
12Dave CostainBudworth SCSkol 3K33303330113081414141450
13Nic StreatfieldRutland SCSkippy 2ISAF 300242811000131414141455

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