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International Moth Grand Prix at Stokes Bay Sailing Club

by Dan Ellis 23 Jul 08:38 BST 20-21 July 2019
International Moth Grand Prix at Stokes Bay © SBSC

After a break in the UK calendar to allow for the European Championships and Foiling week, a slightly smaller fleet of fifteen Moths gathered at Stokes Bay Sailing Club for the latest UK Grand Prix event.

Keen to get racing under way on Saturday the fleet launched promptly into a sunny 15 knot South-westerly breeze which was always due to build. As expected the breeze did begin to pick up with the tide also turning against the wind direction giving some very steep choppy conditions.

With the forecast always building, small foils were the choice for the day along with a number of deck sweeper rigs. Pre race there were a number of wipeouts as boats got to grips and set up the best they could to the conditions.

Race 1 got under way and the fleet was tight as it set off on starboard tack. The fleet then began to spread slightly, as the breeze and chop continued to build, with a few receiving body shots from the sea knocking them about and then trying to complete a couple of tacks to round the top mark.

Alex Adams led at the top mark followed by Dan Ellis and then Jim McMillan, and it was now time to try and get back downhill through the Solent Chop. Jim McMillan took a dive in the bare away, leaving Alex Adams and Dan Ellis to have a close battle for the next lap and a half all the way to the finish. A final sprint to the finish line between Alex Adams and Dan Ellis, which was a little close for comfort in those conditions, just gave Dan Ellis the race win over Alex Adams and Jim McMillan came in 3rd.

Only half the fleet managed to get around, some making the most of the Grand Prix finish and counting their first lap position. Josie Gliddon sailed slightly more conservative with her smaller 7 metre rig but got around without a capsize, showing to be a good option for the smaller sailors in the tougher conditions.

The fleet then gathered on the beach to meet with the Race Officer to discuss the conditions and further racing in the still building conditions. The fleet agreed to go for more racing, but just prior to re launching the breeze increased further and the decision was made to call it a day for the fleet. When checking the wind speed-readings back in the club later in the afternoon, gusts up to 30 knots were recorded, showing the right decision had been made.

Sunday morning was much calmer for the earlier start time. The fleet launched into a light marginal foiling westerly breeze. The first race of the day got under way with the fleet very punchy but clean on the start. The majority of the fleet started on port tack and headed right along the shoreline keeping out of the tide. The breeze was still sub 8 knots and patchy, causing the fleet to quickly spread as some boats dropped off the foils. The pressure then seemed to fill in across the course and bring everyone foiling to the finish. The local boats of Jim McMillan and Jason Belben had a tight battle to the finish way out ahead of the rest of the fleet, with Jim McMillan taking the win from Jason Belben and then Dave Hivey finishing 3rd.

With the breeze now up between 12- 15 knots, the fleet dashed from the finish straight to the beach to switch to the small foils. Jason Belben then remained on the beach for the rest of the day to carry on where he left off with his Saturday night boat work.

Race 2 of the day was under way quickly. Again the fleet was using the right hand side of the course to go up wind and the left to come downwind due to the tide. Jim McMillan led from start to finish to begin to put his stamp on the event, with a few changes of positions behind, Dan Ellis held on to 2nd place ahead of Alex Adams and Dave Hivey.

Race 3 of the day and race 4 of the series saw the same battles happening across the course. A couple of big wind shifts on the far right hand side of the course saw Dave Hivey tack inside Jim McMillan up the second beat to take the lead. Dave Hivey held on down the final run to win the race, ahead of Jim McMillan, Dan Ellis and Alex Adams in 4th.

The final race of the day appeared to be a continuation of where the previous race had finished. With everyone paying more attention to the wind shifting on the right hand side, this saw more tacks up the beats, but still the same boats in front. The leading bunch all finished the same as the previous race with Dave Hivey taking his second race win of the day, Jim Mcmillan 2nd, Dan Ellis 3rd and Alex Adams 4th.

Jim McMillan took the overall event win with two firsts and two seconds. With Dave Hivey winning the final race he took second overall from Dan Ellis on count back in third. Alex Adams was consistent to finish fourth ahead of the first female Josie Gliddon in fifth overall.

A great race series was had over the weekend, thanks to all that made it possible and so welcoming at Stokes Bay Sailing Club. Thanks to Sailtek Ltd for sponsoring the event with a great selection of Ronstan goodies.

The next event is the Nationals at Castle Cove in September where racing will take place in Portland Harbour, which will be the race venue for the 2020 Moth World Championships, so is sure set to be a popular event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
14533James McMillanStokes Bay SC‑311226
24542David HiveyDatchet Water SC(DNC)34119
34501Dan EllisYealm YC1‑52339
43980Alex AdamsCastle Cove SC2‑434413
54096Josie GliddonNetley SC66‑95623
64541Jeremy HartleyStokes Bay SC5‑968827
74577Doug PybusQueen Mary SC(DNC)789529
84554David SmithwhiteHayling Island SC(DNC)8561231
94433Greg GoodrumStokes Bay SC(DNC)10107734
104489Chris WhiteRestronguet SC7‑117111136
114509Jason BelbenStokes Bay SC42(DNC)DNCDNC38
124293Alex ReidQueen Mary SC(DNC)131110943
134601Scott BursorAmerican YC(DNC)1212121046
144096Mark DickerRORC(DNC)DNCDNC131358
154035Henry ReesStokes Bay SC(DNC)14DNCDNCDNC62

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