Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Classic Moth Boat Mid-Winter Regatta

The weekend of the 20th/21st of February was our annual slog down I-95 to Florida for the Mid-Winter regatta at Gulfport, Florida.  I think we've been racing  out of Gulfport YC now for at least ten years.  Before that we raced a couple of times from the Davis Island YC, and during the first few years the event then billed as "the meet in St. Pete" was sailed from  the St. Pete YC's small boat sailing center.   This year's weather was warm and inviting (temps in low 70s and sunny) all three days.  Winds were a bit on the soft side at times but for an old geezer easing back into a boat after a long layoff that was probably a blessing.

My regatta started off on the wrong foot when a few yards off the beach the halyard some how jumped out of the lock at the tip of the mast.  Being lazy, and with loads of time to spare, I allowed the wind to blow me back to the shore for a proper hoist rather than flipping the boat, swimming to the mast head and faffing about with the sail and halyard while trying to keep my nose above water.

Things did get better after that.

We had a decent NE breeze of about 10 knots for the first two races in which I did OK.

Then the wind started to drop and my brain went on holiday.  Around noon the sea breeze from the Gulf started to compete with the morning breeze and at that point the wind dropped to zero.  We bobbed up and down for the better part of an hour waiting for the sea breeze to fill in.

Eventually the sea breeze dominated, the Race Committee switched the race course 180 degrees (wind was now from the SW), and racing resumed.

Woody Kapp sailing his McCutcheon-built Shelley Mk I.  I have a fondness for racing pix which feature sparkling waters and palm trees in the background.

Tom Kapp, sailing a Europe gives his twin sibling a bit of shade.  Very thoughtful.

Lewis Hay came down from Charleston with eight others from that Classic Moth fleet.  Several of the Charleston sailors where sporting new sails designed by Ethan Bixby.  Some of the new sails were loose footed while others retained the bolt rope foot.  The jury is still out as to the merits of the loose foot design for a Classic Moth.  One obvious point is that without the support of the bolt rope in the foot, one needs to use a beefy boom if one's traveler is set up for center sheeting.  The stock Europe dinghy boom seems strong enough.

Another look at Lewis' sail.  In this shot the loose foot hasn't slipped over to the leeward side of the boom.

Jack Clark came over from Melbourne Beach, Florida with a round bilge Paul Lindenberg-designed Moth which was very similar to the Europe design in both looks and performance.  The boat was built using mahogany veneers and is almost too pretty to use.  One can see that his sail uses lacing to attach it to the boom and that the boom in this case has an aft traveler bridle to spread the load along the length of the light carbon boom.  Jack is hoping that a few Moths will come to Melbourne YC's annual spring regatta in mid-April.  If so it will be the first time in perhaps forty years that we've had a Moth regatta on both Florida coasts during the same year.  Four boats will get a separate start and save Jack from having to race Portsmouth style.

One can better see the loose footed Bixby sail in this photo of Rutledge Young's boat.  Rutledge sailed a better series than I did and at the end of the regatta bumped me off the podium by one point.  This broke my heart in that the prizes this year were big bottles of rum!

Jeff Linton was back sailing Mousetrap for the first time in several years.  He took top honors in the Gen II division.  Ethan Bixby was second in Gen II using a borrowed Mousetrap design Moth.

Mark Saunders' Mistral was third in Generation II.  Mark had a Bixby sail but opted to retain the bolt rope foot.

I was just off camera at this mark rounding gaggle of Gen I boats.

Frickie Martschink from Charleston borrowed this Europe and was top dog in Gen I.

The two Moustrap-design Moths.  Jeff L. is in Nr 102; Ethan Bixby is in Nr 103.

The winnings, sigh.
Mark receives his prize from Amy Linton.
As does Ethan.
Mr. Linton gets preferential treatment from the podium girl.
Rutledge, beer in one hand is about to receive "my" bottle of rum.  Rutledge--you dirty dog!  Congratulations!
Lewis taking the 2nd place award in the Gen I fleet.
Frickie took 1st in Gen I.  I do hope the Charleston gang made it safely home with all that hooch!  They had a clean sweep in my division.
A tip of the hat to my Photographer, IoW Len.  So, that's a wrap on this year's Mid-Winters.  If you have a Moth and didn't come race then shame on you--you missed a great event.