World championships take to Swan River

Beldon resident Colin Spence (right) with an assistant measuring a Moth class sail being used in the World Championship Series being held on the Swan River this week.
Beldon resident Colin Spence (right) with an assistant measuring a Moth class sail being used in the World Championship Series being held on the Swan River this week.

THE Swan River has been filled with sails this week as the Mounts Bay Sailing Club hosts the 2019 Moth World Sailing Championships.

Held from December 13 to 18, the championships have seen 120 boats, comprising of gold and silver fleets, from 15 countries sailing the unusual rectangular course on Melville water.

This year’s event has also seem the use of drone technology to film the races and transmit them back using CEN television to several yacht clubs in WA and on the east coast.

Naval architect Colin Spence, of Beldon, who is a measurer for the world championships in Perth, said he had been amazed at the design of modern Moth class sails since West Australian Brett Burvill added a hydrofoil to his Moth hull in the year 2000 and almost tripled its speed.

By lifting the vessel and getting wind underneath, boats in the Moth class have gone from travelling at 10-knots to now reaching 33.4-knots in a good breeze.

Spence said a “a degree in mathematics is now needed to measure modern Moth class sails”.

It took him and chief measurer Shaun Ritson from Melbourne five days to measure the 8.25sq sails to be used by local skippers this week.

“Most overseas competitors have their certificates from the measurers in their home country and they are accepted here so that cuts our workload,” he said.

“Sailmakers stretch the rules as far as possible and the Moth sailors want sails to come right down to the deck.”

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