The inaugural Singapore Moth Nationals was hosted by Mana Mana East Coast over the weekend of Dec 4/5. 6 intrepid mothies entered to see who would win the Carbon Gantry Perpetual Trophy for the first time. With a range of mothing experience from 10 years to a couple of times on the water, courses were set short and close to the shore with grand prix style finishing. This ensured that most boats had a chance of a finish, plus helped with the spectators watch these amazing flying boats in action.
Saturday saw mixed conditions with race 1 in marginal foiling, race 2 in 10 knots, and race 3 a drift off. Mark Robinson had to sail up from the National Sailing Centre, and due to the tide being against him and the wind taking its time to filter down to NSC, he unfortunately missed the first 2 races which cost him his chances of Carbon Gantry glory. He made up for this be showing us all how to balance a moth in the drifting conditions like the "good ol' days" before foils were on the boats by cleaning up the last race of first day. James Cole won the first 2 races followed by Will Berney. Roz Spink who has only sailed a moth a handful of times managed two thirds and showed that she has a lot of potential when she gets some more experience under her belt.
Sunday greeted everyone with bright blue skys and a hesitant wind. Mark Robinson had ensured that he would make the start on time this day by leaving his boat at Mana Mana overnight fully-rigged "A-mac style". With a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing on the shore as to whether the breeze was stable for racing the start was slightly delayed, but when we all finally got motivated the breeze cooperated and a great 12+ knots seemed to come in out of nowhere.
The 3 races run were hotly contested for the lead by James Cole and Mark Robinson with many changes in position in the short courses as boat-handling was pushed to the limit. First race was taken by James as Mark saw his rudder suck out of the water during a gybe whilst pushing hard on the back of James' transom. The second race saw Mark able to utilize his extra upwind pointing advantage to get to the layline and tack before hitting the bricks. James had to keep tacking early and these cost him in time, but still was able to keep Mark honest at the front. Third race was a real battle with many lead changes. Mark was able to lock James out from gybing downwind and pushed him past the layline, and with a bad gybe that followed, he lost precious ground he was unable to make up.
In the fight for the minor positions, Will and Paul pushed each other hard in the conditions and this resulted in some spectacular crashes. Both Will and Paul managed to have major nosedives approaching the finish line and were recorded finishes with themselves being dragged by the boat and tide over the line. It was great to see them battle it out whilst trying to keep some sense of control of the boat. Nick battled gamely around the course to manage 2 finishes in the conditions. Still learning how to handle these flighty boats, it was a great effort to see him persevere to get a finish.
Overall the Carbon Gantry went to James Cole, with the podium filled out by Mark Robinson and then Will Berney.
With 6 boats on the line, and another 2 sitting on the shore unable to participate due to injury and brand new ownership, there is the beginning of growth and potential in the Singapore moth fleet. They are certainly exciting boats to sail and watch with a surprising number of spectators watching the action. There looks to be a number of potential mothies in the wings so we are aiming for double digits on the startline for the second edition in 2011.
For further updates and information, check out "Singapore Moth Association" on facebook. We would also like to thank Mana Mana East Coast for hosting the event.