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Moth dinghies crucial for preparations, says Kirby

By Colin Thompson

Sailing Correspondent

The International Moth dinghy has become an integral part of training for America's Cup syndicates.

Like the AC45 and AC62 catamarans, the single-handed dinghy has hydrofoiling capabilities which make them a natural fit for America's Cup sailors.

“Sailing Moths is a big part of our preparations,” Rome Kirby, of Oracle Team USA, said. “We are sailing Moths at this point on our own to kind of stay current.

“Each guy on the boats nowadays has to be tactically sound and in tune to what's going on. Each guy has to think on his own and make decisions on his own as well as being aware and up to speed with what's going on.”

The International Moth is a high-speed, development sailing class and 75 years of continuous innovation has produced carbon fibre super lightweight boats capable of sailing over 30 knots on hydrofoils. Weighing around 30 kilograms, the International Moth is the most technically advanced racing dinghy in the world and is designed and built to fly.

With the introduction of foils to the moth class, gybing and tacking on the foils is the most exhilarating experience on the water.

“Foiling is actually hard to explain because it's one of the coolest sensations in the world,” Kirby added.

“You are doing 50-plus miles per hour over the water and I think the coolest thing is the acceleration.

“When you bear away and jump up on the foil the boat just takes off and it's pretty cool. It's kind of like taking off in a jet, it's pretty spectacular.”

Kirby will be among a record field of more than 150 sailors gunning for glory at next month's World Moth Championships in Port Phillip, Australia.

Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman of America's Cup Challenger Artemis Racing, is the defending World Moth Champion.

With Bermuda to host the America's Cup World Series featuring the AC45 catamarans next October, International Moths belonging to participating teams are expected to start arriving on Island early in the new year.

“We will be shipping our Moths over probably right after the world championships in January,” Kirby said. “I will have my Moth here for the next couple of years and I'm actually excited about it. The Great Sound looks great, flat water and breeze. You couldn't ask for better.”

There are presently three International Moths in Bermuda amid ongoing discussion of potentially establishing an International Moth class on the Island and staging races when the America's Cup syndicates arrive.

“That would be fantastic,” Kirby said. “It would be great, but either way I will be bringing my Moth here to try and continue to hone my sailing skills.”

Photograph by Talbot Wilson Speed demon: Ben Paton hydrofoiling in Hamilton Harbour in an International Moth

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Published December 12, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 11, 2014 at 9:33 pm)

Moth dinghies crucial for preparations, says Kirby

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