By: scott. Posted: February 1st, 2017
With 6 months remaining, the 2017 Moth Worlds has already attracted a record number of entrants. Earlybird entries closed on Tuesday with 190 competitors from 25 countries registered for the event to be held at the Fraglia vela Malcesine on Lake Garda in late July.
The record lineup features a daunting who’s who of top sailors.
At the top of the list is the Olympic Laser shoot out, with reigning Moth World Champion, 2008 Gold Medallist and Artemis Racing helmsman Paul Goodison (GBR) going up against 2012 Gold Medallist and Oracle Team USA tactician Tom Slingsby (AUS) and 2016 Gold Medallist Tom Burton (AUS).
2016 Laser Radial Olympic Silver Medallist and 2014 Women’s Moth World Champion Annalise Murphy (IRL) leads the charge in the growing women’s fleet against reigning champion Wakako Tabata (JPN) and 2013 Women’s Champion Emma Gravare (SWE).
Among the past champions, 2009 & 2013 Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (USA) makes a comeback to the class after taking time out to compete in the Nacra 17 at the Rio Olympics. Also making a return after Olympic and Americas Cup commitments, dual medallist Iain Jensen (AUS) will be looking to improve on his top 10 result in 2015.
Despite, or perhaps due to the venue, over 30 Australian entrants will make the journey, lining up against a large British contingent. New Moth countries Argentina, Ireland and Finland are well represented, alongside competitors from growing fleets in Poland, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, Canada and Bermuda.
Taking it to the Olympians will be the Moth regulars including 2012 World Champion and current Australian Champion Josh McKnight (AUS). McKnight will debut a new Australian built Moth for the event against the dominant Mach2 and Exocet designs. Also pushing the development envelope is 2015 and 2016 Amlin International and Volvo Ocean Racer Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), who will surely be among the favourites based on recent form. 2016 European Champion Mike Lennon (GBR) will also debut a new design, the Lennon PP Moth designed by David Hollom and built by White Formula in the UK. Not short of innovative ideas, winner of the 2013 Mini Transat Benoit Marie (FRA) returns with a new boat for the event.
Alongside Marie is a large European contingent, with 3 time Moth European Champion Arnaud Psarofagis (SUI) taking a break from his responsibilities as helmsman on the Alinghi Extreme Series GC32 to return to the Moth. Not to be taken lightly, the local Italian fleet will be out in force, lead by 3 time Olympian and Artemis Racing helmsman Francesco Bruni (ITA).
6 months is still a long time in a Moth, but with entry numbers rapidly approaching 200, anticipation will be building for what will be the largest Moth World Championship ever. Follow the event progress at www.mothworlds.org/malcesine or find MothWorlds on FaceBook & Twitter.