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Doughty ready to take on sailing royalty

Competing among a star-studded fleet boasting America's Cup winners, Olympic gold medallists and world champions can be an intimidating experience for a rookie.

But not for James Doughty, who will carry Bermuda's flag alone at next week's Amlin International Moth Regatta in the Great Sound.

The former 29er sailor is making his racing debut in the high performance foiling dinghy, and can hardly wait to mix it up with sailing royalty.

“The quality of sailors is unbelievable and I am so excited right now,” Doughty said.

“I haven't raced this boat yet, and so I am not aiming for the top ten. But I am definitely aiming to beat some of the guys.”

Training among the some of the best in the final lead-up to the regatta has proven to be highly beneficial for Doughty.

“Sailing and training with these guys has definitely enhanced my ability to sail the boat,” he said.

“Everybody has been so helpful helping the Bermudian learn more about the boat and how to actually race this thing.”

Doughty hopes the conditions play to his strengths.

“The other day I was beating a few guys comfortably in the lighter winds,” he said. “But I'm probably going to struggle in the heavy air because I am one of the lightest sailors in the fleet.”

Doughty's campaign received a welcomed shot in the arm after securing the firm backing of sponsors Aspen Insurance and Apex Physio.

“I am so thankful to the them for getting me ready for this regatta,” he said.

“Aspen has helped secure my entrance fee and insurance of the boat and a couple of other things while Apex has helped me out with a bit of sailing gear as well as providing some physio and fitness treatment.”

Doughty is one of 60 sailors from 14 countries competing in the event, which carries a $10,000 prize purse.

Also among the racing fleet is Ben Paton, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailing coach, who is representing Great Britain.

“I got GBR on my sails, but I love to help the Bermudian sailors get faster, and so I am up for supporting them at the same time,” Paton said.

Among the America's Cup sailors competing are Jimmy Spithill, Dean Barker and Nathan Outteridge, who is a two-times Moth world champion.

“We‘ve got a massive line up of good sailors and this is probably the second biggest event of the year for the Moth class, other than the world championships,” Paton said.

“There are 15 world champions in the fleet, half a dozen Olympic gold medallists, a couple of America's Cup winners, Volvo Ocean Race sailors as well as European and World champions from the Moth Class, so it should be an exciting event.”

The Moth has become popular with America's Cup sailors as they learn the nuances of hydrofoiling in advance of the 35th America's Cup, in Bermuda in 2017.

“Each guy on the boats nowadays has to be tactically sound, and has to think and make decisions on his own as well, as being aware and up to speed with what's going on, so sailing Moths is a big part of our preparations,” Rome Kirby, of Oracle Team USA, said.

The Amlin International Moth Regatta proper begins on Monday, with today and Sunday slated for practice races.

Andy Cox, the regatta chairman, said the second practice race may take place on Hamilton Harbour to give spectators a close-up view of the action.

Plenty of support: sponsors and sailors alike have been helping Doughty

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Published December 05, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 04, 2015 at 10:08 pm)

Doughty ready to take on sailing royalty

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