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Welcome to Foil Town! All set for the 2019 Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals

by IMCA UK 11 Sep 21:26 BST 12-15 September 2019
2016 International Moth UK Nationals in Weymouth © Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

Portland Harbour is the perfect playground for the foiling Moths, and 75 of the high-flying, super high-tech, lightweight machines have arrived together, with their pilots, at Castle Cove Sailing Club ready for the Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals.

75 is a strong fleet by any measure, but there could have been even more as entry was capped at this figure. The sight of 75 foilers on a single start line on Thursday will be awesome.

These are the same waters which will be used for the 2020 Moth Worlds, so a fair number of overseas sailors are here to get some practice ahead of the event. Twelve races are planned over the four days with the first start scheduled for 1pm on Thursday.

It's been a great month for foiling; NYYC American Magic took their AC75 America's Cup out on Narragansett Bay near Newport, Rhode Island and took off during their first sail, video has been leaked of Alex Thomson's new Hugo Boss IMOCA at pace and fully out of the water in testing and the SailGP F50s went over 50 knots at the Cowes SailGP. While the scale is bigger, these designs owe a lot to the Moths, and many of the sailors involved learnt their trade in the class and continue to regularly sail them.

The fleet in Weymouth this year is packed with talent, including the afterguard of the GBR SailGP team of Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell. Word is that Dylan has been absolutely flying in practice, but defending champion Jim McMillan thought it wasn't pace but 'a few lucky shifts' and is confident about his chances of defending the title:

"It's going to be interesting with almost double the number of boats on the race track, but I've been doing a lot of practice, lining up with a lot of the top guys and my boat speed is good. Dylan's the hot favourite here and being local he's certainly stood out in the last couple of weeks, but saying that it's been very shifty conditions, which has mixed the fleet up and down, so there could be a few surprise results."

David Hivey, the 2018 European Champion, is sailing in his last Moth event for a while as work commitments and a penchant for pies has forced him into switching to the Musto Skiffs:

"I've started a new job at a new school and I'm having to work six days a week, so my amount of free time is dropping a lot and you do need to spend a lot of time on the water in these boats to compete at the top level. I've been trying to lose weight, saying I need to get down to 80kg, but I love my pies too much and my girlfriend is too good a cook! I'll probably be back again though as I do love sailing a Moth."

David was clear about his favourite to win this week:

"Dylan is so fast - it's utterly ridiculous. Even with his other commitments he's put so much time into it. His boat handling is brilliant and his confidence due to the SailGP sailing and 49er Olympic campaign is sky high. He's topping 20 knots upwind and is, in my opinion, the favourite by a long way."

Comprehensive daily reports, professional videos and tons of photos will be posted from the event so you won't miss a thing, apart from the thrill of sailing a Moth.

Paul Williams, Managing Director of Wetsuit Outlet had these words to say about their title sponsorship of the event:

"Wetsuit Outlet is delighted to return this year, growing our sponsorship to be the lead sponsor of the Moth Nationals. As the largest online retailer of premium performance sailing brands, such as Zhik and Gill, it's a perfect association to be involved in the all-action Moth class.

"Over the last 14 years Wetsuit Outlet has grown to be Europe's biggest dinghy and yacht sailing retailer, supporting everyone from the leisure sailer to the serious racer, by offering the best customer service and next day delivery from our extensive stock.

"Good luck to everyone racing at the Moth Nationals and have a great event."

IMCA UK (the UK Moth Class Association for those not into acronyms) is fortunate to have the support of some key sponsors who we'd like to thank individually below:

  • Noble Marine Insurance have been involved with the class for many years and probably provide the best service to Moth sailors when things don't go as smoothly as planned. A quick chat with the sailors in the dinghy park will reinforce this.

  • Allen Brothers have been designing and manufacturing high quality deck hardware in the UK for many years. Their XHL blocks are in use in many of the kicker systems across the fleet thanks to their extraordinary load-bearing capabilities - it does no harm that they look the business as well.

  • Maguire Boats are the builders of the market-leading Exocet Moth but have supported designs of every flavour during class events. Simon and his team work tirelessly to ensure that every sailor spends as much time as possible during a championship on the water.

  • Shock Sailing are based just around the corner from Castle Cove SC at Portland, servicing high-performance boats at the WPNSA and around the world. This is a company which is always innovating, and they are loaning a RIB for the Nationals.

  • The Rutland Moth Squad are a growing band of competitive sailors who are notching up some top international results. They take the phrase 'loyal to the foil' to new levels and the class are actively looking to add Rutland to the Grand Prix circuit.

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