Changeable winds ensure it is far from a breeze for international sailors

Action from the early skirmishes. Picture: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
Action from the early skirmishes. Picture: Tom Gruitt / YachtsandYachting.com
Sir Francis Chichester on Gipsy Moth IV.

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Racing is well under way in the charge for International Moth World Championship glory.

But changeable winds have made the early skirmishes a headache for event organisers.

Hosted by Hayling Island Sailing Club, the week-long competition was launched on Saturday.

A record-breaking 138 helms from 18 countries are taking part, with the fleet split into two groups of 69 boats.

Course setting was tricky on the opening day – with the wind swinging through around 90 degrees and ranging from three to 14 knots.

And conditions frustrated competitors on Sunday, too, leaving organisers to extend qualifying action into yesterday.

The sweltering heat and little wind made it great for sunbathers and ice cream vans.

But less so for the Moth fleet.

The race committee made the most of the breeze that did come in and managed to get two races in for yellow fleet and one for blue fleet, bringing the qualifying series to a close after five races.

Sunday’s yellow fleet were sent out first to play catch-up and completed qualifying race four in around 10 knots, with Chris Rashley blasting down the final run to overtake early leaders Mike Lennon and Paul Goodison.

Rashley said of his day: ‘Solid day – went out and raced the re-sailed race we didn’t finish on Sunday and ended up coming through to win.

‘It was shifty offshore, but a reasonable eight to 10 knots of pressure.

‘I got past Mike by gybing at the final windward mark.

‘We had a right shift and the pressure was running down the right-hand side and sailed around Mike who went down through the middle.

‘He wasn’t to know the shift was coming when he rounded and it was very difficult conditions for him to defend in.

‘If I hadn’t gybed straight away I would have ended up fifth or sixth.’

Then it was on to Monday’s yellow and blue fleet racing. Australia’s 49er Olympic gold medallist Nathan Outteridge took the win ahead of Britain’s Robert Greenhalgh.

Outteridge said: ‘It was a good day – a lot of waiting around but we got a good race in and I finally got a bullet so happy with that.’

Today the fleet is split into gold and silver fleets.

The leading competitors will be racing against each other head-to-head.

n The International Moth class is hugely grateful to the companies helping make this championship possible: Magic Marine, LV, Lennon Sails, CST Composites, Ronstan and Blueteq.

YachtsandYachting.com is the official media partner.

Reports are complemented with Beau Outteridge Productions videos.