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Moths: Flying Over The Water
Practice at Minnesott Before Bermuda Regatta
November 23, 2015
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S
ome sailors will tell you that if you want to go fast, you should get a power boat. That presumes that boats with sails are, by nature, pokey.

But not all.

Consider the Moth.

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A small boat capable of 30 knots, Moths fly above the water thanks to hydrofoils.

Moths are the kind of boat that makes you look twice, their hulls held aloft by hydrofoil legs, high above the water that other boats ply.

In mid-November there was a chance to see Moths in action in Pamlico County waters. For a few days, just off of Steve Benjamin’s newly-opened Minnesott Beach Sailing Center, the Moths zipped along several feet above the Neuse River.

Steve knows about sailing a boat fast – in early November he’d placed 2nd in the World Etchells Championships in Hong Kong – but these Moths were faster still and he’d invited the Moth sailors to come here for a weekend Moth camp with an important mission. It would be their one last training and practice in advance of a December regatta in Bermuda where they’ll face sailors with Americas Cup experience.

The Neuse was perfect for practice this time of year says Anthony Kotoun, the US champion Moth boat sailor. That’s because the river has the same kinds of sailing conditions he and other Moth sailors expect to encounter in Bermuda.

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Anthony Kotoun was busy with a sanding job on his Mach 2 Moth boat. It wasn’t the hull he was tending to but the Moth’s hydrofoils —those ‘legs’‘ that, as a Moth zips by, seem to stand on water like a heron’s.

With Moths, Koutoun explains, the hull is less important, speed-wise, than the surface of the hydrofoils. Those foils are the biggest difference between Moths and other boats with sails.

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Anthony Kotoun takes sanding to a fine art. After a few moments of sanding, he applies a special dye that reveals areas that need more work before waxing, all to give a little more speed, not so much on the water, but above the water.

“A Moth is a single handed mono hull with hydrofoils.” he says. In that they blur the line between sailing and flying,

Occasionally looking up from sanding his foils, Kotoun remarked, “To race Moth boats, you have to train your brain to think differently. You want your hull smooth and your foils smoother. It is not your hull that is in the water when you are racing along. Your foils are in the water.”

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Posted Monday November 23, 2015 by Melinda Penkava


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