Australian International Moth Association
#getamoth You know you want to
We manged to find in our archives a great piece on sailing low rider skiffs. It turns out that some of the same content applies to the modern moths as well. We put some of it in the guides there, but thought we would add it here as well. Its too much good information to hide away.
It is alot of words, so sorry about that, and unfortunately the videos have gotten lost along the way, but the information is spot on.
Moth Sailing Tips
Put the boat in the water at about mid thigh depth. Any deeper and you will have trouble reaching into the boat to grab the foils without having to tip it right on top of you. Put the centreboard into the case and push it down about three-quarters of the way so that it is not going to hit the boom (or the bottom). Now push the rudderblade down, making sure that you are keeping the bow into the wind. If you have a fixed rudder, the best plan is to capsize and fit the rudder, making sure that you are in deep enough water to have the rudder clear the bottom when you right your boat. Don't try to launch like you are recovering from a capsize, that is jumping over the wing bar as it comes up because you will find that the boat will want to sit head to wind. The worst case scenario then is that you find yourself heading back towards the shore!
Now locate the mainsheet and grab hold of it making sure that the sail battens are filling on the correct side. This is not so much of a problem in strong winds when you will have more power than you can handle, but in light winds you need to position the boat 90 degrees to the wind with full power in the sails. Hold the boat with mainsheet and tiller in each hand. Once the sail fills, the boat will want to heal over to leeward and take off from you. This is the point when you swiftly leap onto the boat and move your weight to the middle of the boat or even to leeward if it is really light.
Capsizing & Righting Methods
Light Wind Sailing
Medium Wind Sailing
You should be able to hike upwind in moderate conditions whatever your bodyweight. If the conditions are marginal and you find that you are just perched on the wingbar. Try to sail a little freer and look for maximum
Stear slightly past close hauled to ensure that your sail sets
Heavy Wind Sailing
Boat preparation is vital in order to make sailing possible, let alone racing. It is essential to keep everything in the boat as simple and uncluttered as possible. First the rig, I prefer the stiff cruciform battens as this allows the sail to be flattened and being stiffer the sail the sail will not flog. It also holds the leach tighter which is important for control. I prefer a lot of rig tension especially when the sea is very rough, as this will reduce rig movement. It is important that everything is stiff and positive.
The sail should be set up with minimum shape especially in the head (or top 1/4 of the sail), cunningham and kicker pulled on hard and outhaul pulled out so there is minimum shape in the foot. It may also be advisable to put the rig back one notch on the shrouds before tightening the rig, as increased rake is preferable in heavy air. However increased rake can be make tacking difficult for inexperienced sailors, but this can be compensated by using less vang when tacking. The boat should feel completely balanced without any weather helm or lee helm. Some helms prefer a small amount of weather helm but in my opinion this can only possible act as drag and must be wrong. The dagger board should be raised approximately 6-10" and left there all race. Check everything in sight to make sure you will not have problems. If it's really breezy don't try to adjust any controls, you will be overpowered anyway, you won't
Sit right at the back of the wing bar, if the nose is still digging in when the wind gusts try, to hike at an angle off the back. Play the main in and out in the gusts so the boat is dead flat. You may have to weave around to prevent the bow digging into the wave in front, bear away going down the back of the wave and luff up just before the front of the boat reaches the troughs.
John Edward from the UK gave us permission to shamelessly plaigerise this nugget of information
International Moth Lowriders Guide to Survival
Boat Set Up
Of course it was frowned upon back in the day, but it can both really help but also hinder.
You might be able to stuff Foam swim noodles down the pockets of the side wing bars but you may need two or three to provide meaningful buoyancy, and they can also retain water and become really heavy. Inflatable swim noodles are inexpensive and my preference. These ones are quite big - smaller (and cheaper) ones are available from Decathlon. Phil “Bugs” Smith, who made my tramps, swears by these - just the “floats”, not the paddles, but I cannot source them in the UK. (JE)
- Too little wing buoyancy - you will swim too frequently.
- Too much buoyancy - It’s a trimaran! As soon as you put any weight on the daggerboard the boat will right before you get a chance to leap over the wingbar; When you fall out of the back of the bus on a windy downwind, the boat will sail, sail away from you without capsizing… (JE)
Choosing where to sail
Choosing the right conditions
Ten Seconds Later - Capsize Recovery
Moving in from and out onto the wing and swapping sides
Remember the Five Essentials!
Being rescued by a safety boat
John Edwards JE