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Ocean Safety 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Lowrider International Moths Nationals at Burton this weekend

by John Edwards 29 Oct 2021 14:16 BST 30-31 October 2021

"Round about the mancave go
In the poison'd entrails throw
Moth, that under cold stone
Days and nights have thou just one
To stir and tie and knot and splice
Rig thou first the charmed device"

This weekend, Burton Sailing Club sees yet another significant event in 2021 for the club with the famous mushrooms. The Hallowe'en gathering for the Lowrider International Moth National Championships is, without doubt, the most diverse group of Moths ever assembled to race, with designs spanning over 50 years of development.

Following the lead of Lowrider stalwarts supporting the Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association series, the resurgence started about four years ago, with National Championships held in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the RYA kindly supported a display at the Dinghy Show, with five boats covering development from the gorgeous 1960's Shelley to the advent of the foilers.

The International Moth Lowriders Facebook page has grown to nearly 900 members, with efforts continuing to locate boats in reasonable condition and enthusiasts taking advantage of the Lockdowns to renovate them. Indeed, earlier this month a Roger Angell's 1990 Worlds winning Magnum 9 appeared out of the blue on Ebay, proving that there are amazing and scintillating boats to be found and bought for a few hundred pounds.

The last British Lowrider to win the Worlds, Nick Spence's Skippy special, is undergoing restoration. The famed Hibbert archive, crates of photos, newsletters, minutes, and results sheets, is safely stored but remains a significant project. The International Moth Class-UK Class Association record of measurement certificates is now in a spreadsheet.

Such is the innovation and history of the class that there are 150 different designs recorded, with sail numbers and owners, dating from the early 1960's to the first foilers. Recorded also is the fate of many boats which have not survived, be that sinking at Saltash (several), crushed by a tree in Scotland, offered a Valhalla burial, or discarded in a skip in Japan.

Despite the relatively unfounded perception of fragility (mainly confined to the plywood era), about 100 boats have been identified in existence so far: hence for a quarter of these to brave the autumn gales is to be commended.

Frightening trick or treaters who brave the long drive to Burton Sailing Club, and potentially causing a Midnight Knee Trembler for those camping, will be various Axemans, a Dragon, a Warlock, and a Hungry Tiger emerging from a coffin, but unfortunately there will be no Ghouls, Phobias or Vampires. However, there will be an Imperium Scow, a Duflos, a tankard of Skols, a Warlock, a Dragon, a crate of Magnums (5, 6, 7 and 9.9), a fright of Axemans (5,6, and 7), a mob of Skippys (1 and 2), an ambush of Hungry Tigers - and an Ultra Fat Bastard.

Although the fleet will likely "only" number 24, the sailors are also as diverse in experience, gender and age, from enlightened teenagers to still alight pensioners, with several mid-life crises in between. That it will be a great spectacle both ashore and afloat has been noted by certain Moth royalty, who will be in attendance. At this point, it is typical to note that there are those travelling from as far apart as Scotland and the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Sheppey to somewhere nearly as far as west as Swindon - but the Duflos is en route from Nantes, France to come sailing with us this weekend. He had better arrive, as he is bringing the famed Moth Bums quiz for our Saturday evening entertainment...

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