Australian Moth Championship 2013 – Smooth sailing on opening day

2013 Australian Moth Championship
Danny Winter
The Australian Moth Championship 2013 kicked off the competition in a near perfect condition on Lake Macquarie, completing all three races scheduled on Monday.

Monday was the first day of Championship racing with the first three races being completed in near perfect conditions on Lake Macquarie. Race 1 was started in an 8 to 10 knot SE breeze which the fleet found much easier to handle than the windier invitation race the previous day. Early race leader Julian Salter from Tasmania was eventually caught by New Zealander Pete Burling and regular second place getter Scott Babbage.

Fellow Tasmanian and defending national champion Rob Gough finished fourth, just ahead of 2011 world championship runner up Joe Turner and WA sailor Tom Johnson. Missing from the front group was 2012 world Champion Josh McKnight who retired with gear problems and 2011 world champion, Nathan Outteridge who had to fight back from a bad first lap.

Race 2 was started in slightly more breeze and all the big guns were at the front of the fleet josh ling for positions. The race was eventually won by Scott Babbage from Dave Lister who was racing is own designed and built boat, followed by Pete Burling, Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge. Only a few seconds separated the front group of boats who were still capable of lapping the back markers in a two lap race.

Race 3 was stated in a 13-15 knot breeze that had swung to the east. As a result the course was re-laid and lengthened to allow for the extra speed of the boats. Unfortunately sailors at the top end of the course had to deal with a bit more weed and even a fishing boat who managed to hook race leader Pete Burling resulting in him losing a number of places. The race was eventually won by Dave Lister followed by Josh McKnight, Scott Babbage, Nathan Outteridge and the Pete Burling.

It is far too early to predict an overall winner, however both Scotty and Kiwi Pete are looking pretty good at this stage.

Tomorrow will be quite challenging for sailors and race officers with a gusty, shifty northerly wind predicted, along with 40 degree temperatures. This may suit the sailors from WA and north Queensland.