A quartet of British sailors set the pace today in the first day of the Amlin International Moth Regatta in Bermuda. While the event entry list reads rather like a Who's Who of sailing, Britain is currently leading the way as Rob Greenhalgh, Paul Goodison, Chris Rashley and Chris Draper hold the top four places respectively, after the first three races of the regatta.
Rob Greenhalgh, the current European champion, leads with six points, followed by Goodison with seven points, Rashley with nine points and Draper with 13 points. Greenhalgh (also known for his Volvo Ocean Race sailing) and Rashley are class veterans while Goodison and Draper are from America’s Cup teams Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan.
The three races were held on Great Sound in mixed conditions. The first and third races were ideal, sailed in 10 to 12 knots of breeze, and the fleet was able to get foiling. The second race was started in winds around 10 knots but the breeze died out as the fleet approached the first windward mark during a light rain squall. In the light winds it was harder to get on the foils, especially for the heavier sailors, and some dropped from the leading pack.
Greenhalgh acknowledged that there is still a lot of racing to go (as many as 15 races are planned), but he was very satisfied with his 1-4-1 scoreline. “The second race was tricky when it got light, but I was able to let it rip a bit more in the other two races,” said Greenhalgh. “It’s all about how you get better during the event.”
Third-placed Rashley is sailing the Moth for the first time since the Europeans last summer. He felt he was rusty with his positioning on the start line and was a bit out of phase with the windshifts in the first and second races. But still came away happy with his 4-2-3 scoreline.
“I lost my lane off the start line in the first and second races and had my tactics dictated because of that,” Rashley said. “I felt too powered up. I was expecting it to be a bit lighter and used a fuller sail than I probably should have. But it was perfect sailing conditions and the race committee did an excellent job with the start line and racecourse.”
While the four Britons are well respected amongst the fleet, there are many others who are fixing for a long fight after enduring breakdowns today. Tom Offer of the UK is sailing a new boat and plans to replace a vang cleat and a vang line. Another Briton, Simon Hiscocks, had to withdraw from the third race when a splice in his mainsheet came undone. “There was more load on it than I anticipated,” he said. Australian Tom Slingsby also has a breakdown story; his main foil broke while he was leading Race 1. “It’s a long regatta,” said the ORACLE Team USA sailor.
The Amlin International Moth Regatta is sponsored by Amlin plc, a FTSE 250-listed independent global insurer and reinsurer with operations in the Lloyd’s, UK, continental European and Bermudian markets. Additional sponsors include the Bermuda Tourism Authority, EFG International, Gosling’s, the Official Rum of the Regatta, and Kaenon Polarized.