Two weeks out from the Moth Nationals, and it was a depleted traveller fleet that was greeted by sun, warm temperatures and a mirror-like Summerleaze Lake for Maidenhead Sailing Club’s Moth Open. For Race Officer Brian Jones, the conditions presented a challenge, as he searched the lake for sufficient wind to set a course. By briefing’s end, some vague flutterings of the wind indicator gave him the confidence to go ahead with racing, and by the time the fleet reached the north end of the lake, the breeze was at perfect Moth speed.
The first race got away cleanly, favouring the pin end of the line. Toby Cooper (887) rounded the first mark in an easy glide, but by the end of the lap, had conceded places to Tim Davison (892) and Tony Latham (880). Latham was ahead by the next leg, and held the lead for a complete lap, only to be overtaken by Cooper and half the fleet. Places changed again, with Cooper starting the final lap in first, ahead of Mike Lyons (786). Both held their positions despite a spirited challenge from Davison, who finished third.
After a satisfying lunch, the fleet once again headed to the far end of the lake. A change in wind direction from the morning meant a new course, but once the sailors were out near the start, a wind about-face meant that the course was sailed in reverse, with a dropped mark (most of the fleet sailed around it anyway). As the leaders drifted through the gap between the islands, Jenny Bentley (700) seemed to have found her own wind supply, sailing past the majority of the fleet, up into fourth behind Davison, Lyons and Cooper. An unexpected gust, the burial of her mast in mud, and consequent retirement put paid to her challenge. Cooper, however, found conditions to his liking, with his second first of the day, ahead of Davison and Lyons.
Cooper, his win of the Open meeting assured, retired from the third race, leaving Davison and Lyons to fight it out at the front of the fleet. A luffing battle ensued, which enabled Latham to sneak past them both, a position he held until nearly the end of the race. Davison managed to slip past him at the last, but Lyons was unable to do the same.
With results in, Davison’s first place in the final race assured his second place overall, behind Cooper (1st), and ahead of Lyons (3rd). Despite her capsize, Jenny Bentley took First Lady, as well as First Vintage Boat.
Photos: Maidenhead Sailing Club