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e-MOTHBALLS 7/1/2000 Issue


Sit down.
Hold on to your hard drives!
it's time for...

The official on-line zine of the U.S. Modern Moth Class

In this issue:

A Look at the Nationals
Bousquet's Banquet: Brigantine
Vote on Rule Changes
Tuning Tips from Mark Thorpe
Dues
The North AmericanS

From The Editor:

The skin on my knees has now heeled enough to wear shorts. I knew it would be dicey to show up with a new boat at Brigantine and expect to do well (see Joe Bousquet's article below), however I also knew it was time to push the envelope (and the 47 year old body). Those of you who think you can just jump into a Moth and win races may want to rethink it a bit before you place that call to Bloodaxe Boats. Our class is perhaps one of the most difficult boats to sail on the planet. Any keel boat skipper would have problems in one of our junior's Mistrals, and even the most accomplished dinghy sailors are "challenged" by the narrow boats. The size of our class is probably compromised by the difficulty sailing the boat , but those of you who make up the ranks show no motion towards the exits.

We do however suffer from being many sailor's "second boat". In an effort to gain some attention from those skippers, and further organize our membership, the U.S.M.M.C.A. will begin collecting dues. Those of you who do not join at this time will be cut off our mailing list (Ouch!). To quote George Albaugh "If they aren't interested enough to build or buy a boat, they should consider golf... or maybe a Laser". We simply can't continue to put out a newsletter (and mail it to you), print "T" shirts, and hold regattas without some cash flow.

For twenty bucks (a deal) you will receive a U.S.M.M.C.A. nationals 2000 "T" shirt, a racing number (your choice of available numbers, and remember it stays with YOU not your boat), and the next issues of MOTHBALLS will be mailed to you just like the old days (although the full color issues may be limited). Additional "T" shirts will be available to members for $15 ( printing cost for a three color shirt ordered in small quantity), allow a couple weeks for our order to be processed. For an extra $10 you will receive our MOTHBALLS home measuring kit, which includes eleven die cut paper impressions of measurer Kevin Farrar's size 12 E Topsiders (your boat may not exceed the overall length of these strung end to end), and a gold embossed certificate signed by Kevin. Our limited funds prohibited celebrity photographs on the shirts, sorry it's just the squished bug and some cool graphics. Checks should be made out to the U.S. Modern Moth Class, Box 2081, Sag Harbor, N.Y. 11963. Anyone who would like to see the balance sheet for the class account is more than welcome to, but remember if you ask you may become a candidate for treasurer!

Some of the funds from the dues will go toward organizing the North American Championship October 7 in Sag Harbor. If you can make this event please contact the class office. If we can't get a fair number of boats to commit to the event soon it will be shelved until 2001. While racing on the East End of Long Island in October, you can expect big air from the northwest. There is usually a steep chop unless the wind turns southerly, which is offshore (break a rudder and you're in Rhode Island!). We sail in Northwest Harbor which opens to Gardiner's Bay (which is Long Island Sound, or as we call it "The Big Lake"). Current plans are for a Brigantine style event, one day due to the short life of duct tape. It is a three day weekend (Columbus Day) which should help with the drive time for you out of towners. A strong lobby from travelers could change the race day to Sunday, to allow driving on Saturday and Monday. Details on lodging will follow.

Rule Changes: Maybe because of the repeated strong showing of the wide skiffs at the nationals, the Sag Harbor fleet is suggesting we simply embrace the wide boats, and follow the International Canoes with the asymmetric spinnaker. International class president Chris Dey has offered a theory that the narrow boats cannot perform well in this hemisphere due to excessive gravity and the influence of the Backstreet Boyz. Maybe he's right, and if he is why not add a retractable bowsprit (easy), and a simple launching tube. The offwind speed of a Mistral will probably double! Those of you who sail in the Classics and the Moderns with the same boat will not be compromised. Additional weight from the required gear should only add five to seven pounds, and it may be removed for the CMBA nationals. Dues paying members should cast ballots by e-mail on the issue by August 15, 2000. Kevin Farrar and John Lucey have their scissors in hand just waiting to slice up the day glow pink ripstop cloth they bought this spring! The first use of the asymmetrics could be the 2001 nationals.

Nationals: If you somehow missed the results from the nationals, Joe Bousquet repeated with his second victory in as many years. Joe will keep the urn which holds the ashes of the original Moth designer Captain Joel van Sant. Rod Mincher was second in perfect scow conditions, and Chris Hart followed him. The narrow boats followed Chris...enough said. Per Sandell won the juniors, with Ben Miller in second.

Narrow Boats - Mark Thorpe: So the narrow boats got beat again. This fact resulted in the comments from former Moth world champion Mark Thorpe:

"Narrow boats should ALWAYS be faster than the wide boats! Maybe you have a boat speed problem, boat handling problem, or both! The important factors are;

Total weight: My boats are 30kg complete, but they have to be stiff to hold rig tension.

Mast/Sail: The luff round on the sail MUST match the mast.

Mast rake: You need enough mast rake to achieve a small amount of weather helm, this is usually when the tip of the mast is over the middle of the centerboard. This is much more than conventional sailboats, and more in line with sailboards.

Boat handling: The above points have a huge effect on boat handling. Floatation in the wings and a "T" foil rudder are now standard on all modern Moths. Use the vang to control the leach of the sail, ease the vang (not completely) when rounding the windward mark onto the reach or run. Ease the vang a lot when running in light air. Set the mainsheet system on a bridal high enough so that the sheet is only being used to move the boom sideways, not down (use the vang for this). I could keep going, but this should be enough to get you started."

If you ask any top level racer in any class what their secret is, the answer is always "time in the boat". With that in mind Joe Bousquet reflects on Brigantine:

Joe Bousquet: Moth Sailors - So what's the moral from this year's championships? Once again, while moth boats of all types are challenging to build and fun to tinker with, it's not a good idea to take an untested or untried boat to the regatta. You almost would always be better off with an old boat that you are familiar with and that has been tried and tested not to fall apart than a new beast that still has uncured paint and varnish. In the recently completed world championships in Australia, Brett Burville finished tenth out of 43 entries -- an admirable result until you find out that he easily won two of the last three races. So why the poor overall finish? The first race he finished 36th, the second he finished 23rd. Brett was sailing a truly remarkable boat -- a moth that was fitted with hydrofoils! He was literally learning how to sail it the first few races; once he had the boat figured out, he seemed unbeatable, to the point of finishing ahead of the current world champ by a leg and a half. Imagine how he would have finished overall if he had spent a month of weekends before the regatta just sorting out the idiosyncrasies of his boat.

Closer To Home, Our US nationals found more than a few skippers in boats that were either recently completed or sailing boats in which they had very little tiller time. Inevitably, the folks that were learning to sail their beast finished poorly. The boats that were tried and true finished ahead. I'm sure that many of the boats are faster than my mistral Try-Umph. However, I have logged probably 100 hours in her in conditions from drifters to 25+mph. The one race I didn't win but finished 3rd was one where an auxiliary mainsheet block came untied and I had to try to sail up wind with a 1-1 purchase. Lesson learned: double check all knots, especially any knot that is being used in a new configuration.

I am intrigued with narrow skiffs. I am really intrigued with a foil borne moth. But what ever I race in will be a boat that I have already learned to handle alone. I will make sure that I am proficient in boat handling before I try maneuvering around a course in the close proximity of other boats. In short course racing, the start is critical to finishing well. If due to boat-handling difficulties I couldn't consistently hit the line within a second or two of the gun I would realize that I would be giving away the start and probably the race. That being said, I must admit that I have sailed in my share of races in new boats. Maybe I'm trying to pass along wisdom learned the hard way! Schedule your time so that you can practice in a new boat before the regatta. The deadline for construction completion cannot be the night before the race! Give yourself at least a couple of weeks so that you can go sailing. You'll approach the regatta more confident in you abilities and have a better time. Nothing's more frustrating that trying to rig your boast for the first time in the hopes of making the warning signal (again, a lesson I learned the hard way in my youth...)

Until next year,

Joe Bousquet

Mighty Moth Market:

State -of -the -art kevlar pocket luffs! One new, one lightly used. Three inducers, tubular carbon battens. Tri radial cut.

Also: 2000 model Sag Harbor Axeman. Complete, or hull only. Best Offer!

Contact Scott Sandell

deepwater@hamptons.com