Wednesday, 11 April 2007

First Moth Sail in Austria

Last Saturday I launched my Moth (GBR 4019) on Neusiedler See. It is a great lake but a bit shallow (max 1.8m deep). The day was really a test to see if it is possible to sail a moth there, without the risk of destroying the boat if you hit the bottom at speed.

Martin (a Austrian Sailmaker) and I launched the boat from Breitenbrunn on the North West side of the lake. This is a great spot with a nice grass lawn, camping, playground and resterant. It was a beautiful spring day but there was absolutely no wind. This meant that there was no danger of hitting the bottom at speed.

I had modified my boat so it was possible to sail with the foils pushed up into the boat. Meaning that the normal 1.15m static draft was now about 80cm. This meant it is possible to sail out to the deeper water and then capsize and lock down the foils.

There was so little wind that by the time I had gone out 200m I wanted to turn round and go home. I capsized and did a dept test. It would have been OK to lock down the foils as the bottom (or rather silt) started at about chest height. Assuming that it does not get shallower out towards the middle and that the bottom is slit I think it would be fine to sail there. The silt is so soft that the foils would cut into it rather than the boat.

I have to test this theory a bit more and the lake water level can drop especially at the end of the summer but I think is is worth trying. I need to get to know the lake too to make sure I stay away from a sandy bottom and shallows etc...

Once I got back to the shore I let Martin have his first go in a Moth. As all Moth sailors know sailing a moth in no wind is one of the worst and most uncomfortable sailing experiences but he seamed determined to sail the boat at least 3m. It was not until after a big schnitzel lunch that he succeeded. He then started to get the balance right surprisingly quickly and drift about a bit.

Martin Drifting.

So the boat was not destroyed and Martin and I are keen to go again. Therefore it was a successful day, but next time we need more wind...

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