Sunday, July 18, 2010


Bridge of the Gods, from the western tip of Thunder Island.

Moths -- you can see the foils on the one on its side in the
foreground, and if you zoom in, a couple of the boats planing in the b.g.

Spent a couple days in the Gorge, wherein we got to see the Moth boats race. These are small sailcraft, not much bigger than sailboards, if that, rigged with hydrofoils. Running before the wind, they climb out of the water onto the narrow foils maybe a foot and a half high, and they whiz along like gangbusters.

Where I grew up, sailboats were rare. No room on a bayou to tack about, and not much good for fishing on a pond or small lake. I'm familiar with bateau and pirogues and bass boats, ski boats and other such powered craft. I'd never seen one of these moths before, and it was a hoot to watch. More so, maybe, because of the drama.

Come race time, the wind on the river was too strong, so they delayed it. For like eight hours. It was six p.m. before they started, and even then the wind hadn't died down enough.

The Moths don't do big wind -- only one guy onboard, and not enough weight with him hanging way off the platform to keep the boat from tipping over on the turns when it's gusting to fifty. You could have sailed holding up a hanky between your hands.

Within ten minutes, the power boats working the course had hauled three of the Moths back to shore. Two of them had broken masts and one had lost a hydrofoil. As nearly as I could tell, the sailors, dressed in wetsuits, all fell at least once. Nobody hurt.

But it was fun to sit and watch until the dogs got hungry and started getting frisky.

1 comment:

Dojo Rat said...

I was driving through Anacortes on a mainland trip the other day and saw a sailing sea kayak. It was big, with two outriggers like a trimaran, and a good sized sail. Big enough to pack a lot of gear and looked pretty safe for open water.
Anything smaller -a moth- No Thanks!