Why multihull king Glenn Ashby is going Mothing

Glenn Ashby in action
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Glenn Ashby has won 14 multihull world championships across three multihull classes, including seven in the A class.

He has been sailing and coaching in the Extreme 40 class and was head coach with BMW Oracle's 90ft trimaran for the 33rd Americas Cup win. Now with Emirates Team New Zealand, he is a core member of the multihull sailing team.

Today Glenn explained why he is going Mothing.


'The decision to buy a Moth has been on the list for me for a long time now, since I was 13 and chose the 14ft Paper Tiger catamaran over a moth skiff (the Paper Tiger was cheaper.)

'It has been something that I really wanted to have a go at. The lure of sailing a flying machine that looks like so much fun to sail upwind and downwind, that offers so many new challenges along with supreme efficiency and performance, has really interested me for quite a while now.

'The opportunity to purchase a Mach2 foiling moth and have a new personal sailing challenge has been an exciting thought and one that I am sure will make me re-think all that I have learnt in the past.

'I am really looking forward to some tips from Andrew McDougall and the lads so I can get it off the beach at least.

'One of my great life passions is sailing fast and the tiny moth is certainly fast, faster than most multihulls including the highly developed and light 18ft A Class catamaran, around the course these days.

'As a full development class, along with the A Class, the Moth Class is into pushing the boundaries of rigs and sails, physics, hydrodynamics and design well into the future. All these attributes have led me to make this decision to make the purchase of a Mach2 (as well as a bit of a push form the boys!!) and take on something that is a bit ‘outside the square’ for my sailing.

'I really enjoy sail boarding and water sports in general, and although I am a bit of ‘a jack of all trades and master of none’ I am really looking forward to seeing what I can learn and teach myself, both mentally and physically, with this boat.

'I certainly won’t be looking at reinventing the wheel in the moth class, rather simply understanding how the wheel turns. I feel it will be a great asset to my future sailing.

'Following the 2008 Olympics, Nathan (Outteridge) and Tommy (Slingsby) were both keen to look at a new challenge in their sailing careers.

'After the games we had a few beers one evening and I mentioned to them the idea of a new challenge, something different – the possibility of having a go at the A Class catamaran.

'If they did I said that one day I would have a go at the Moth.

'In December 2009 (with a little bit of encouragement) they both purchased A cats. They competed at the A Class World Championships at Belmont, Lake Macquarie on the NSW coast in Dec Jan 2009/10 alongside newcomer to the class James Spithill, and a few other talented 'imports' from other classes and they finished very much at the pointy end of the fleet.

'Nathan and Tom have shown very clearly that they can sail one hull or two very well indeed. I on the other hand may struggle quite a lot without my training wheels on!

'The boys certainly turned some heads in Belmont and after only a few days training on the A cats, showed they could mix it up at the front of the fleet. Their results were outstanding and paved the way for other 'monohull' gurus to have a go and join the 'cat wackers' and experience something that most other monohull sailors never ever feel - easy efficient speed. The Moth is the obvious exception to this.

‘Now it’s my turn for me to keep my end of the bargain.

'For me it’s not about matching those guys results wise, far from it. I would be content in the next two years, to be able to get out of the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland and back in again, without being run over by a ferry whilst I am capsized.'

'It’s simply, for me, being able to take the blinkers off for a few hours every now and again and look at sailing in a different light. That’s something that I think everyone should do from time to time and I feel that it makes you appreciate your past and present sailing experiences in different classes and events much more.

'Of more recent times, as well as the above mentioned, the likes of Dean Barker, Terry Hutchinson, Loick and Bruno Peron, Dirk De Ridder and John Kostecki to name but a few, have challenged themselves outside their comfort zones.

‘These challenges I feel is what is needed for one to be able look outside the square box and step forwards with new ideas and feelings. Learning what to do and what not to do, learning a lot or a little, is still learning.

'Obviously for me it’s funny how the wheels have moved forward since the AC went multihull, some great new technology is flowing across the board in so many different directions. So many people trying to learn new skills and adapt but only a few are succeeding and willing to make the transition.

'It’s great to see your mates doing so well with their sailing and being able to sail a variety of boats both big and small, single and multihull, to the highest levels and be successful.

'In short I am looking forward to the Mach2 moth providing me with a fresh look at the diversities of our sport, as well as reinforcing why I go sailing and why we all enjoy wind and water combined with the latest technology - all be it on a 30kg Mach2.’