Zhik Nautica Moth Worlds : Scott Babbage thrashes opponents with three bullets on opening day
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
The Australian sailor confirms his great form and leads the 125-strong fleet of Moths on Lake Garda with three bullets in three races with light conditions and a tricky course.
These results show that his victory in last week’s Zhik Nautica Italian Moth Open was a clear indication of what was to come.
When asked earlier in the morning about what he considered to be his advantage over the rest of the fleet, Scott Babbage stated that he was consistent across the range from light to windy and that even if he didn’t win “very often” he would come on top… Yet, three hours later, the Australian sailor would thrash his opponents and score three bullets in the day’s three races. It was impossible to be more consistent than that.
With a record-setting 125 entries, organizers split the fleet into two groups that alternated on an inner and outer racing area. Getting the right start, ahead of pack, flying to the rocks and tacking under the layline first would practically guarantee a win in the inner course. The steep hills surrounding Lake Garda not only provide a stunning backdrop they also give more pressure to the breeze and the closer you sail, the more pressure you get. There was little tactical brainpower needed further into the race and the leader of the fleet at the first top mark that would avoid stupid mistakes would bag the win.
On the outer loop, further in the middle of the lake, things were much more complicated, or even “spooky” as Bora Gulari stated. The breeze was much harder to read and a favored side in one race would then fail to pay out.
Still, Scott Babbage managed to tick all the boxes. He nailed his starts, got to the rocks and seemed to always pick the favored side in the outer course, something that his closest opponent, and favorite according to the form guide, Joe Turner, failed to do.
Indeed, with the exception of Babbage, the form guide didn’t seem to hold true on the opening day of the 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth Worlds. Bora Gulari and Turner are fifth and tenth, respectively, while Australian Joshua McKnight and Anthony Kotoun from the Virgin Island had an excellent day and sit on second and third place overall.
Racing resumes on Tuesday and the weather forecast calls for the same type of conditions. The African heat wave passing through Italy results in record-high temperatures that don’t allow the “Ora”, the afternoon breeze Lake Garda is famous for, to develop properly. However, even with 8-9 knots of breeze the Moths are fun and spectacular to watch and the tight leaderboard promises another exciting day.
Quotes of the day
Joe Turner: “This was probably one of the worst days of Moth sailing I have ever had in my life. The boat was going very good but the driver was a bit of an idiot. It was a tough day and I think the start line wasn’t set up very fairly. It was extremely biased in the pin end and every one was port-tack starting. People were too scared to start on starboard.
In the first race I tried to port tack the fleet along with everyone else and some guy who was on starboard protested and I had to do a 360. In the second race I tried to call someone up and crashed into another boat. In the last race I sailed OK, I made a lot of mistakes but still managed to finish second.
It was still a relatively fun day on the water. It is always fun to sail on the moth.”
Bora Gulari: “On the outer loop it was kind of spooky. When I chose the left, the right would pay and when I chose the left, the right would pay. I was a little bit lost on the outside course. I would say that my boat speed was OK, not great but I’m still working on it. It’s still the qualification stage so we have a couple of days before the final showdown.
The starts are probably the most exciting 30 seconds of sailboat racing that can exist as most of the fleet is lining up on port and a few people are lining up on starboard and with closing speeds of 30 knots it gets your heart going. That’s for sure.”
Zhik Nautica Moth World Championships – Day 1 – Results after 3 races (Top 10)
1. Scott Babbage (AUS), 1+1+1=3
2. Joshua McKnight (AUS), 6+1+1=8
3. Anthony Kotoun (ISV), 3+3+2=8
4. Eric Aakhus (USA), 1+4+5=10
5. Bora Gulari (USA), 2+2+7=11
6. Francesco Bianchi (ITA), 3+6+4=13
7. Julian Salter (AUS), 7+4+3=14
8. Andrew McDougall (AUS), 2+8+5=15
9. Chris Rashley (GBR), 4+7+4=15
10. Joe Turner (AUS), 9+9+2=20
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2012 )