(Photo Credit Beau Outteridge/Amlin International Moth Regatta)
Five residents of Aquidneck Island are part of a fleet of 60 sailors racing this week in Bermuda at the first Amlin International Moth Regatta.
Rome Kirby (Newport), Anthony Kotoun (Newport), Tom Loughborough (Middletown), Chris Museler (Portsmouth) and Nat Shaver (Newport) are all entered in the regatta hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
The Moth is an 11-foot dinghy that hydrofoils. The main hull is about one foot wide and with wingbars, similar to hiking racks, it is about six feet wide. The boat’s blistering speed is due to the hydrofoils that it rides on, a front foil where a daggerboard would be placed and a rudder foil. When the Moth is up on the foils, which is all the time, it can sail at blistering speeds of 28 to 30 knots (32 to 34 mph).
“Whenever I’m launching or de-rigging my boat someone always seems to come up asking, ‘What is that?’” said Kotoun, the U.S. National Champion. “It’s a boat that’s made for speed.”
“The Moth is one of the greatest physical challenges in sailing because everything is happening so fast,” said Museler, who began sailing the Moth in May. “All of your decision making and tuning comes at a fast clip, and you’re doing it against the best people. The speed of everything is ramped up, and you’re doing it against world and Olympic champions. It’s a never-ending challenge.”
The class has always attracted speed fanatics and has become more popular in recent years after the America’s Cup switched to a hydrofoiling catamaran as the boat of choice. Many Cup sailors also sail a moth to learn the nuances of hydrofoiling, which is essentially a balancing act when you’re riding above the water on the foils.
“Sailing the Moth helps you learn about tactics and boatspeed when you’re up on the foils,” said Kirby, a member of ORACLE Team USA. “You learn about the sensation of foiling and how to power up before tacks and jibes to stay on the foils.”
The first two days of the regatta have seen everything from light winds to stormy conditions. Monday was sailed in idyllic 8 to 14 knots but Tuesday was in white-knuckle conditions, 18 to 25 knots with gusts over 30 knots in a blinding rainstorm.
Kotoun is placed 9th with 33 points, Kirby is 17th with 71 points, Shaver is 32nd with 117 points, Loughborough is 36th with 131 points and Museler is 51st with 197 points.
Racing continues through Friday. For more information visit the Amlin International Moth Regatta website or Facebook page.