Bermuda – An international fleet featuring the reigning two-time world champion Paul Goodison of the U.K. is set to contend the Bacardi Moth World Championship next week on Bermuda’s Great Sound.
Hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and co-organized with the International Moth Class Association, the 77th running of the Moth Worlds is scheduled Mar. 26-Apr. 1. Prior to that the Bermuda Moth National Championship will be staged Mar. 23-24.
The Moth is a high-performance dinghy measuring 3.355m (11 feet) in length and 2.250m (7.3 feet) in beam. The hull weight ranges between 10-20kg (22-44 pounds) and it is equipped with hydrofoils that raise the hull out of the water in winds as light as 5 knots. The ideal windspeed is 8 to 12 knots, which enables the Moth to sail at 15 to 20 knots boatspeed. To watch a Moth sail past at 20 knots is to hear nothing but the sound of the wand that controls the ride height skipping off the wave tops.
Development in the class is largely open, meaning that the sailor can tinker with aspects such as the rig, hydrofoils, sail and fairleads. Sailors will spend hours determining the best lead for a control line so that it’s led to their fingertips while they’re hiking off the rack. Sailors have also been known to spend significant amounts of time redesigning the all-important hydrofoils, playing with the aspect ratio to induce more lift and reduce drag.
Goodison, a member of the Artemis Racing Team for the America’s Cup last summer in Bermuda, won the Worlds last year in Italy and two years ago in Japan. He won the 2017 Worlds by a comfortable 20 points and the 2016 Worlds by a scant 3 points. Through the two victories Goodison has racked up seven race wins and 20 top-3 finishes in 24 starts.
He comes into the regatta as the decided favorite and hopes to lay waste to this year’s fleet with a new implement of destruction. Goodison took delivery of a new Kevin Ellway-designed Exocet Moth built by Maguire Boats of the U.K. at the end of January. He describes the boat as the same one with which he won the past two Worlds but with a potentially devastating development.
“It has a steeper wing bar in an effort to gain righting moment,” said Goodison. “It’s harder to sail because the angle of the bar is so steep that I’m not sliding across side-to-side like on the old boat. It’s more of an uphill/downhill action, but the benefit is more straight-line speed.”
Goodison has an added advantage in his bag of tricks: local knowledge. With Artemis Racing Goodison was a member of the weather team and he spent days on Bermuda’s Great Sound taking wind and current readings in the vicinity of where the Moth Worlds racecourse is expected to be set.
“It depends on where the race committee puts the racecourse, but I should know the area. I spent a lot of days out there,” said Goodison.
The international fleet of 45 entries includes Australians Iain Jensen and Tom Slingsby, who placed 3rd and 4th, respectively, at the 2017 Worlds, and Matt Struble of the U.S., who won the U.S. Nationals two weeks ago. The fleet counts 12 entries from Great Britain, eight from the United States and four each from Australia and Bermuda. Entries have also been received from Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland. Eight sailors are racing for the Master’s title and there is one entry each for the Women’s and Youth divisions.
“The quality of the fleet is extremely high. There are some very good sailors here,” said James Doughty, President of the Bermuda Moth Class Association. “The invitationals a couple of years ago helped show the sailors how nice it is racing in Bermuda. Everyone enjoys the island and the conditions on the water.”
This is the first time that the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has hosted the Moth Worlds. Previously it hosted Moth Invitationals in 2015 and 2016. The success of those regattas led to the Moth Class awarding the Worlds to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
“The Moth Class is very excited about hosting the Worlds in Bermuda, a perfect foiling location,” said Luca Rizzotti, President of the Moth Class Association. “For many of the class members involved with the America’s Cup this will be a welcome return to the warm waters of Bermuda. For others it offers the chance to race in one of the world’s renowned sailing destinations.”