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International Moth Lowriders Scottish Championships at Loch Tummel Sailing Club

by John Edwards 7 Oct 2022 07:55 BST 17-18 September 2022

In a period when fresh water in many reservoirs south of the border is in short supply and threatening events, a road trip north to Scotland appealed. So much so that 380 miles each way from Derbyshire was nothing compared with the efforts of David Balkwill to travel three times that from Nantes, France, to test out Cestra, a newly converted lowrider version of his fabled Little Wing foiler design.

The journey was not without incident: an accident on the A9 diverted us onto single track roads on the opposite side of the River Tay and back over the narrow, historic wooden decked Logierait Bridge. Thereafter, it seemed appropriate to take in the iconic Queen's View of Loch Tummel before heading to the sailing club.

Camp was set up right at the water's edge, then a late afternoon sail by David and George, prior to an opportunity to savour the wild delights of Aberfeldy nightlife. It could be said that the spirit of scows was present in the form of the multiple shots of Fireball whisky consumed that evening.

Saturday dawned with the prospect of racing with a separate start as part of the Loch Tummel SC Autumn Regatta. Despite the late withdrawal of a few competitors, seven narrow skiffs (three Hungry Tigers, Skippy, modified Little Wing, modified Magnum 9.9 and Axeman 5) lined up for the weekend. After a gentle morning of breakfast, boat work and much coffee, we launched for four back to back races in an ideal north westerly.

Whereas the Solo report mentioned a Force 2-3, sustained periods well in excess of 15 knots were experienced by the Moths, evidenced by GPS confirmed maximum boat speeds of 14.9 knots reported by the end of the day. Paul showed that his enforced rest at the beginning of the season had not affected his authority, once again showing his ability to build healthy leads in all four races.

Behind Paul, however, racing was close, with Katie taking two seconds and John and George one apiece. Once George had worked out how to sail deep in the gusty downwind legs without swimming, he and Katie had close battles, with them both easing ahead after John's better starts. David and Iain exercised discretion in the growing breeze, leaving Ian sailing very nicely, keeping the rest on their toes, and close enough to pounce on any mistakes.

Unfortunately Ian's beautiful Axeman 5 suffered foredeck damage, necessitating his precautionary retirement from the rest of the event.

The long courses set certainly tested the fleet's stamina, the sailors returning ashore exhausted after over 18 miles raced, during nearly four hours afloat. Resuscitation commenced promptly with the serving of delicious local pies.

Saturday evening started respectfully, fuelled by an excellent meal prepared by the club volunteers. There was then the opportunity to review a large crate of Moth class archives, picked up on the way north.

Copies of Yearbooks, Class Association Minutes, championship flyers and results, photo albums from the 1960's onwards provoked many memories. These will be reunited with the extensive Hibbert and Claridge era records, held safely in several other large crates by arguably the longest serving lowrider stalwart, John Butler. The project to digitise and publish these on the Lowrider website is a significant amount of work, but will be a tremendous and important achievement.

A selection of saucissons Français gourmande, perfectly complemented by fine rums and yet more Fireball, warmed the parts the earlier chilli had not, ensuring a sound sleep loch-side under canvas and in vans.

Save for the creaking knees, Sunday morning was still and silent, but a gentle sub 5 knots appeared from the north-north-west, sufficient to set the fleets afloat. John and George were late afloat and starting, but the former's port tack start paid, taking him to second place for a while, and close racing followed.

The wind dropped for Race 6, Katie leading all the way round, with Paul and John very close behind. Getting completely becalmed at the last leeward mark before the short beat to finish line, Katie stayed right, Paul went left but the wind filled in up the middle allowing John undeservedly to squeeze through for the win.

After drifting around for a while, the fleets returned to shore. Having exercised sufficient yoga for the day, the Lowriders agreed that an early pack up was the preferred afternoon option.

The Lowrider scene continues to grow, with old dogs returning, newcomers learning and long boats still appearing. Indeed, within a week of the event, a forgotten 1974 Stockholm Sprite appeared out of the blue on eBay in great condition, being snapped up by a very happy Paul. There are now over 1000 members of the Facebook page and others on Instagram.

Events are being booked for 2023, with the expectation of growing numbers of participants in gatherings organised for these special boats. With more than a handful of teenagers in the class, the future relevance of the Lowrider International Moths remains secure.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoDesignHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
13029Hungry TigerPaul HignettLoch Lomond SC11111(2)5
24014SkippyKatie HughesLoch Lomond SC(3)2232312
34040Hungry TigerJohn EdwardsAbersoch SC / Burton SC2444(5)115
43017Hungry TigerGeorge EdwardsAbersoch SC / Burton SC5332(6)619
54005Magnum 9.9 (modified)Iain MacintyreLoch Tummel SC7(RET)(DNC)53427
64049Axeman 5Ian BaillieDalgety Bay SC455(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)30
74072Little Wing (Modified)David BaklwillClub Nautique Mazerolles6(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)4531

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