Sunday, February 17, 2008

Moths reach critical mass

It was one of those moments that occur where the significance is hard to gauge. You know, “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” The International Moth class – those foiling crafts popular among high performance tech-heads in Australia and Europe – have landed in the US, and had six boats racing last weekend at Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego, CA. The group was a mix of youth, techies, Olympic campaigners and professional sailors. A broad mix… and in their eyes, a perfect mix.

Because it is a development class, the Moth fleet had long been the domain of only those willing to suffer through the trials of learning the right combination of this or that, toiling away in their basements, building their carbon machines. However, now there is a production boat available, so those willing to take on the reality of foiling need only place their order and wait a few months until the Fed-Ex truck delivers the box… literally. The idea is for the boats to be very transportable, so all the components are designed to break down to the size of oversize airline baggage. Away regattas have never been easier.

The timing for the class couldn’t be better. Countries have finalized their Olympic teams, so countless campaigners are on the sidelines looking for a new fix. With the America’s Cup on hiatus, some folks simply have extra time on their hands. As for the US, the national class was formalized a week ago. Total stateside boats are now kissing twenty, and with the majority presently on the west coast, the plan is for the first Nationals to be held in August… at where else… the Gorge. With the big winds that the site is known for, the US Moth class is expecting a big launch for their inaugural year … literally.


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At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bladerider is actually only one of several Moth manufacturers around the World. John Ilett of Fastacraft (inventor of the current flap control system), Aardvark boats in the UK, Mark Thorpe of Thorpe Boats (3-time world champion) and others will all build boats to order. Contact information is available at

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am do you launch a moth from lying on its side to on its waterline? Two people to hoist and carry?

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The boat weighs about 66lb all up, so it is easily lifted by one person. Generally I put the rig up with the boat on the dolly, tip it over, take the dolly off, put the foils in and hook them up, and then lift the whole boat up on my shoulder and wade into the water with it. When I'm somewhere btw waist and chest deep I hop on the DB, right it and sail away. Derig is the reverse. Having someone around to mind the mast tip or grab an end is always welcome, but not necessary.

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Karl Wittnebel said...

Dear Scuttleblog,

Thanks for your nice writeup of our recent International Moth regatta at Mission Bay YC in San Diego.

As you point out in your story, Bladerider have done a fantastic job of bringing new sailors into the class, and are building a fast boat that is well supported. But particularly with a readership as large as Scuttleblog, it is important to present a balanced view of things. As such I do not think it fair to provide direct links to Bladerider's site from your story without even mentioning the other builders on the scene.

Production Moths have been available for years. As an example, John Ilett of Fastacraft (builder of my boat) has been selling foiling moths for at least five years, and in fact invented the foiling moth as we know it. His boats are hand built in Australia by John (a former F1 component builder) and the cost is equal to a Bladerider. Both boats have won world multiple world championships, and Rohan Veal, the current world champion, sailed a Prowler before he began working full time for Bladerider. The two video links from your story are in fact of Prowlers, and the first is Rohan Veal sailing one.

The backlog for Bladerider's boats is about four months in reality. The backlog for Prowlers (Ilett's boat) may be a month longer, but for all intents and purposes the difference in build time is not a limiting factor in acquiring a moth from either builder. These build times may however be an incentive to buy a Moth from one of the other several manufacturers listed on the international Moth website:

Thanks again for your writeup of our event; we look forward to seeing you at our Pacific Coast Championships at Coronado YC March 22-23. Further information on US Moth fleet activities may be found on the US class website:

Karl Wittnebel
Los Angeles


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