And the best man won

Andy Rice watches Nathan Outteridge notch up yet another world championship title

T here is little dispute that the most deserving sailor won this year’s International Moth World Championship. Someone at some point described Nathan Outteridge as ‘the best dinghy sailor on the planet’, and it was a phrase that frequently cropped up during a challenging week at Hayling Island during a Mediterraneanesque hot summer in the south of England.

Outteridge seems to have been a long time in Moths, so it’s surprising that he’s only won the Moth worlds once before, on Lake Macquarie three years ago. He missed defending his title in 2012 due to commitments after winning Olympic gold in the 49er at London 2012. He then finished runner-up to Bora Gulari at a light-airs regatta in Kaneohe, Hawaii, last October. And he was certainly feeling underprepared for Hayling with only five days’ training before the pre-worlds regatta, the UK National Championships.

Light airs meant only three races in the nationals, but British sailmaker and Hayling local Mike Lennon dominated with some devastating upwind performance in the marginal foiling conditions. Like most of the top Brits these days, Lennon has moved on from a Mach 2 package to an Exocet, designed by Kevin Ellway and exquisitely put together by Simon Maguire.

A former Flying Dutchman sailor, Lennon is famous for putting more control lines than anyone on a boat, and in the case of the Moth he has opted for a set-up that allows him to cant his rig a full 18° to leeward. With the modern foiling Moth sailed upwind with a dramatic amount of windward heel, this canting system enables the rig to be returned closer to vertical, creating a greater projected area and thereby injecting more power into the platform. This probably accounts for a good deal of Lennon’s higher-and-faster performance in marginal foiling conditions.

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