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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

It's been a few years since WA had an active Moth fleet. With the arrival of 2 new boats in the past week, there are now 13 "active" boats within the class and we're pretty amazed at how quickly it has all taken off. As the home of the foiling moth, the lack of a fleet has been a real shame. However, we've been moving from strength to strength over the past 12 months and it has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in that growth. Since we've been doing so well, it is probably about time we let the world know we exist, as the only news coming out of Perth would be the trickle of posts on Gobbles' blog. Anyone who wants to get in contact with us can find our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/WA-Moth-Fleet/203379703034394.

Our fleet is almost entirely Bladeriders and Prowlers, with one home-built boat carrying the traditional Moth spirit. Two new Mach 2's have arrived recently, but haven't been assembled yet. The combination of older boats that need upgrading, Phil 'Bugs' Smith (our resident sailmaker and general tinkerer) and John Ilett, with his years of experience building Moths (including the very first foilers), have created some interesting developments.

One of the best developments are the tramps that Bugs has built at Avalon sails, which I will post pictures of soon. Much tougher than Dacron, they are also UV stable, better grip and allow water to drain off. I've had mine for 18 months, they've taken an absolute pounding and are still perfectly fine. Not to mention looking dead sexy. Speaking of dead sexy, we're also really excited about the new Avalon "Organic Wing", shown below.


Bugs has spent a lot of time tinkering with different masts to find the bend characteristics he wanted to build the sail to. Having found that, the sail has now been built to work magnificently with that rig, with plenty of depth in lighter air that disappears beautifully as the breeze builds, without sacrificing stability. Most of the WA boats attending the Australian nationals in January will be sporting these sails and we can't wait to see how they stack up. More photos and info can be found at:


This is just a taster of what we've been playing with, more will come over time. Aside from playing with our setups (as all good Moths should do), our biggest task is to bridge the gap between the front of the fleet and the back of the fleet. Obviously it is never going to be completely closed, because some people will spend more money and time and (hopefully) improve faster than others. However, there is so much that can go wrong with Moths that it is absolutely the responsibility of the leading boats to pass on what they've learnt to the back of the fleet, so we can all keep improving. I hope that by the end of this season we'll have been reduced the gap a lot.

Finally, the WA Moth fleet are still keen to host the 2015 Worlds in Busselton. It's a beautiful place to visit and to sail and we think a top notch regatta can be run there. We'll be fighting hard for the rights, with good reason. Just look at it. White, sandy beaches, flat water and a steady breeze

Just a quick post to show the Avalon Bladerider tramps, shown below. They look great on Lloyd's boat and sure beat falling through dacron!
Surprisingly windy conditions kept much of the fleet on the beach this weekend. Hopefully we can get more people on the water to blow out the cobwebs before the International Classes Regatta at RFBYC in two weeks. With some nice weather we should be able to show the other classes that Moths can actually race! Sadly it does clash with the Cock of the Swan, so we won't be able to go and show the International 14s, Tornadoes and 49ers what proper boat speed looks like. Oh well, maybe next year.

For anyone who's keen to follow our movements, here's the major events of the WA Moth 2012/13 season:
1st/2nd Dec International Classes Regatta
6th-12th Jan Nationals
8th/9th Feb RPYC Mini Series
2nd/3rd March State Championships

There's also been talk of reviving the Walpole regatta, which the Moths were the key fleet in for over 40 years. As the Moths faded, the other fleets in the regatta also faded and the regatta was last run 10 years ago. Situated in a beautiful bay, there is a caravan park where everyone can stay and be social, not to mention the dead flat water to enjoy when the sea breeze fills in. If we can get a few other classes involved it may well be worth the 4.5 hour drive from Perth. We'll have to see how it pans out.

Lastly, we seem to be having a few troubles with our comments section at the bottom. If anyone has anything to ask, please do, we're more than happy to reply and it would be great to know that the comments are working!

Just a quick post showing the WCF team preparing to head over to Wangi for the Australian championships. Finishing touches have been done, boats are packed away and ready to begin the 4000 km, 43 hour (according to Google) journey on Monday. Two Bladeriders on the bottom, two Prowlers on the top, with a big metal box full of all the tools we could find!
Max finishing the tie down
This is the first nationals for all four of us (Max, Lloyd, Phil and Scott), so we don't really know what to expect. The organisers are anticipating a 60 boat fleet, which sounds incredible and we're very excited. Should be doing some posts here and there throughout the regatta for anyone who's interested. For more general news and results, the event has an official Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/2013AusMothNats?fref=ts

Otherwise, fingers crossed for a speedy trip with no break-downs or other shenanigans and we'll see the rest of the Australian fleet bright and early on Wednesday!

John dodges some lasers
Scott approaching the finish line
 This past weekend saw the 2012 RFBYC International Classes Regatta hosted in some wonderful conditions. Perhaps on the lighter side than what the fleet would normally prefer, but with gusts allowing us to foil a lot of the way around the course, it did make for some interesting racing. Any errors that caused a drop from the foils could be very expensive as there could be a long wait between gusts strong enough to foil in. The course was also rather hectic, with many other classes to duck and weave, thankfully without incident. More about the weekend can be found here, at Sail-World: http://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Marginal-Moth-Racing-at-International-Classes-Regatta/104387. Big thank you to Jeff Spence for the photos and RFBYC for putting on such a fun regatta.
Busy busy busy!

Now that we're so close to what looks to be one of the biggest Moth nationals ever, it was great to give those attending the nationals from WA a chance to do some racing before heading east. We don't have too many regattas like this to do, so it was great to take advantage of the opportunity.

Also, things are getting busy at Fastacraft at the moment. The photo shows 2 Bladeriders and a Prowler having a few fixes and upgrades. When these are done, these boats should be dangerously competitive! Can't wait to see them back out on the water. Also featured in the photo is the plug of the new boat. Very exciting.



The plan was to post throughout the Australia Nationals, but it just didn't work out that way. The first few days after arriving were needed to recover from the drive and sort out our boats. After that, the regatta itself started and there was just too much happening to gather thoughts enough for an update. With better organisation, I would probably take my laptop to the yacht club and just write whenever a free moment popped up. Trying to do it once returning to the accommodation at night is just too hard. We live and we learn. Now, you get to enjoy an incredibly long post about the whole trip!The drive over itself was reasonably uneventful, except for our wildlife reduction tally, which stands at 3 kangaroos, 1 wedge-tail eagle and a rabbit. The rabbit didn’t concern us too much, but the eagle came very close to hitting the foils or the boats as it went over the top of the car, but luckily it missed. The roos did quite a number to the front of the Navara and we’re very impressed with how the standard plastic bumper has stood up to such a beating. Here’s a photo of one of the dents:
The roo even left us some fur
The headlights are also on the piss a bit and the whole front section has shifted around and needs to be reset. Still, pretty impressive. Total time was around 58 hours, with a 4 hour stop at Madura to sleep and at least an hour wasted in Broken Hill trying to find fuel at 2 in the morning as apparently rural NSW doesn’t believe in 24-hour fuel stations.
We scored some pretty nice accommodation at the Wangi Caravan Park, at the very end of Wangi point. The beds are comfortable, the air-conditioning works and from the balcony in the morning, we can see the conditions on the lake as we have breakfast. We were also thrashing around in this bubble car that Lloyd rented:
We know the other Mothies are jealous
Lloyd is too cool  to rent a man's car

The boats themselves have arrived relatively unscathed, with only minor marks and scratches from the journey across. With them all back together we set about spending time on the water to get used to the conditions and the area. Lots of weed hanging around in the water just waiting to trip you over and big wind shifts and holes all over the place make for some interesting sailing. Still, the club is in a lovely spot on the lake and the volunteers are very friendly and welcoming.

Slowly over a few days, boats trickled in until all 70 boats had arrived. A boat park filled with this many moths reminds me of this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
There never seems to be too much activity, but there is lots of banging, sawing and grinding and then, all of a sudden, a fleet of Moths are suddenly rigged and going sailing.

Eventually the Invitation Race arrived in a 15-20 knot sea breeze with some rather nasty waves.  Tom and Luke did well to place in the teens, but the story wasn’t great for the rest of the WCF team. Lloyd’s flap ripped off his centreboard before the start and Scott’s centreboard cracked on the first downwind. Phil and Max finished in the twenties, not a bad effort.
After a frantic evening of boat work to get Lloyd and Scott back on the water, the first day of racing was held, with 3 races in 10-14 knots of breeze. Reasonably flat water, but with large shifts and big lulls that caught many people out. The weed was also a killer, costing places left, right and centre. Tom and Luke performed the best out of the WA team, with the rest learning a hell of a lot about setting up and racing Moths in a very short time.
Start of the Dash for Cash
Day two was abandoned on account of the 30 knot NW breeze that exploded onto the lake. Instead the Dash for Cash was held, which was a pretty impressive sight to behold. Here are some photos of the first start.
12 of the top guys hammering into a reaching start and around the first mark was one hell of a sight. Lots of spills and thrills, big shifts and chances of redemption. Eventually the final race was between Peter Burling and Scott Babbage. Scott just missed a gust off the start line and Peter crept away and that was basically the end of the race.
About to get hectic
Day three provided interesting conditions, with the remnants of the southerly front that had come through early in the morning still providing 18-20 knots of breeze. With modifications made to the gearing on most of the WCF boats, performance did improve for Max and Lloyd. Sadly Scott's regatta ended during Race 4, when his centreboard again cracked. Old age rapidly caught up with Phil, who was spotted bearing away and pointing the boat at the beach just before the first mark rounding of the first race of the day. Tom and Luke had a rougher day in the unstable conditions, but still managed some good results. Lloyd was so exhausted he put in a solid 14 hour sleep that night!What was supposed to be the lay-day on day four was now full of racing, with 4 races held. Another 10-14 knot day with some large holes, so some interesting racing. Lloyd and Max continued to improve and struggle their way around, with Phil actually managing to stick it out for the day and enjoying a battle royale with Lloyd. Tom and Luke continued to do well.The breeze kicked up again for day five, again appearing at 15-20 with some even bigger gusts. The weed caused serious havoc, with some very heavy clumps causing damage. Lloyd bent his rudder pin well out of shape and Max damaged his centreboard. Phil again retired early from old age. There was still another race to be held the next day, but Max couldn't sail, Lloyd had messed up his flights and had to head home and Phil was just feeling old. So the boats were pulled apart and prepared for loading onto the trailer the next day.For the last day of the regatta, Wangi produced 38 degree heat by 8am, which built and built until some cloud cover reduced the direct heat, if not the humidity. This made loading the trailer bad enough, but was particularly painful for Scott and Max, who had been led astray by Lloyd the previous night with rum and cokes and then had decided to finish off the rest of the beer back at the cabin. Progress was slow and work intermittent as shade was regularly sought. A complete lack of wind saw racing postponed until 3pm, when finally a cool southerly arrived and the temperature dropped 14 degrees in an hour. As Lloyd had booked the accommodation along with his flights, Scott and Max had nowhere to stay that night so had to hit the road, missing presentations. Apparently the after party was pretty loose.
Ready to go home
The drive back was reasonably uneventful, except for the a-frame of the trailer buckling. Thankfully it happened 20km away from a welder who did a great job of fixing it up. If it had happened a day later, we would have wasted a lot of time waiting and it would have been a very expensive fix.Reflecting on the regatta, it was definitely a worthwhile experience and we learnt a hell of a lot. We come back to WA with some new ideas of things to try, not to mention revisiting some old ideas that were previously discarded. We've got a lot of work to do before Hawaii and before the new Prowlers hit the water, but after seeing where the benchmark is and, more importantly, bringing it back with us now that we have three Mach 2's in WA, we're very excited to get started and see what we can do.