Flying Reaches at Whitefriars

Wow, what a weekend!

The British Moths came back to Whitefriars for their annual away weekend, running 2 Opens, one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday.  This year they shared the Saturday with the Lightning 368 class,  and it made for a very merry day indeed. Whitefriars has no Moths of their own,  but enjoys hosting the class each year.

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There were a fair few nervous looking faces in the dinghy park whilst rigging. The sun was bright,  but British Moths can be very flighty when the breeze kicks in – the huge sail and short hull make for an exciting ride.

However,  the 15 visiting sailors were soon ready for the off,  and showed throughout the 3 races that British Moths really aren’t just for ultra-light wind days on the river.  A Moth planing the whole length of the lake,  bow way in the air,  just the last bit of rocker left in the water,  spray everywhere,  is quite a sight to behold.   Put 15 of them in close proximity,  and you can understand why this class has been capturing the imagination since 1932!

The racing was tight at the top,  but the massively experienced Toby Cooper, despite nursing a damaged arm,  was able to fight off all challengers,  showing amazing skill in reading the shifting,  gusting winds.   Andy Matthews and Roger Witts took the other placings.

After the sailing finished,  a prize giving with plenty of cake was followed by one of Abby Freeley’s special barbeques,  with home-made burgers and salads enjoyed by all.  Re-hydration being the name of the game these days after hard exercise,  several bottles of wine were enjoyed with the food!

Sunday dawned sunny, and to the relief of at least some of the fleet,  the wind had dropped to the perfect “thinking Sailor’s” breeze.

3 races were run alongside the club racing,  and occasionally a little fast thinking,  good humour and understanding was needed as the fleets crossed to ensure both sets of races could happen smoothly.

In the morning race the lighter winds kept the fleet even closer than on Saturday,  with some different faces seen near the front.  Georgia Honey showed early promise before dropping back,  but Abby Freeley was able to take a well-deserved 3rd place behind the more usual front runners,  Toby Cooper and Roger Witts.

The afternoon races saw more spreading of the fleet, as the more wily sailors took advantage of the massive wind shifts to shorten the distance sailed.  Toby Cooper took the 2nd race,  and Roger Witts the 3rd,  after a titanic battle with Tony Latham.

The Gyro Trophy,  one of the oldest cups in sailing, was presented to Toby Cooper by Tim Hopes, Commodore of Whitefriars sailing club.

The club is looking forward to seeing the Moths again next year,  hopefully in the company of the Lightning 368’s once more.

More information about these fun, responsive little boats can be found at www.britishmoth.co.uk, and more about the very welcoming Whitefriars at www.whitefriarssc.org