Sailing fast, staying sharp

Chris Draper and Nathan Outteridge at the America's Cup in 2013.
Foto: ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET
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Nathan Outteridge wins the 2014 Moth World Championships (image courtesy Tom Gruitt/yachtsandyachting.com)
Foto: Tom Gruitt/yachtsandyachting.com
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With America’s Cup racing scheduled to resume in 2015, teams and sailors are getting their competition wherever they can find it this summer. From big boat and superyacht regattas to the Olympic Classes, the foiling Moth or the match race circuit, you can find AC sailors wherever there is top level competition.

July saw the 2014 Moth World Championships held off Hayling Island on the south coast of England. Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge sailed a phenomenal regatta to take the win (he also won the Worlds in 2011), while Luna Rossa’s Chris Draper finished a very respectable 13th in his Moth debut.

Both helmsman say racing in boats like the Moth keeps them sharp and ready for the America’s Cup.

“Nothing best racing in this fleet,” said Nathan Outteridge, following his win. “The standard is getting higher all the time and the boats are just so cool.”

“With the Cup you do so much testing you become race rusty,” agreed Chris Draper. “You get so many repetitions of all the things that happen in the big boats so quickly in the Moth and if you splash it, it doesn’t really matter, so you can experiment. It’s great racing and you learn you have to really keep pushing super hard, all the time.”

Outteridge has been sailing the Moth at a top level for over six years now. He says he thinks his experience in the little flying machine made the transition to the foiling catamarans in the America’s Cup much easier.

“The things you learn from sailing the Moth are critical to anything that’s foiling. Anything I’ve learned from sailing a Moth over the last five or six years put me a long way ahead when it came to the Cup.

“Now it’s about maintaining that making sure that if anyone else learns something, I learn it as well, he continued. “The best thing about Moth sailing is it all happens so fast that you need to make decisions very quickly… It’s about putting the boat in the right place at the right time and that helps with Cup sailing and 49er sailing as well.”

And both men are looking forward to resuming their America’s Cup duties.

“The new boats look fantastic,” Draper said, of the AC62. “The new rule looks great and the boats will be brilliant. We wait with bated breath for a venue both options on the table look great and it’s exciting times for us having done this event and learning more about the foiling the AC62s will be brilliant boats.”

“Everything that has been learned in the last Cup cycle with foiling and how it works (is in the new class rule)…” said Outteridge. “It’s just trying to make the boats perform better than last time and a lot more safely than last time. The AC62 is going to be a really nice boat…”

From Hayling Island, Outteridge was jumping on a plane to Rio for an Olympic test event in the 49er class.

The learning never stops.