Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moth Boats

Hydroplaning dingy that can sail 30 knots? Yes Please! Saw these things the first time during the Volvo Ocean race when it was in Boston. The boats were cranking around Boston Harbor.

Moth boats are a racing class of dingy that focuses on a small narrow hull that can hydroplane. The original development of moth boats has its lineage in two countries. Similar style boats were being developed in Australia and in America in the late 1920's. Although there was some knowledge in each country of the other countries developments, due to communications limitations both designs developed relatively independently for almost 30 years. Eventually one design leagues for moth bots appeared in America, Britain and Australia. These leagues eventually combined into an international moth league. Even though they are a one design class the regulations are relatively lax which has allowed some amazing technical developments. Recently hydrofoil design has been advanced along with added rudder and trim controls. Carbon fiber and other high tech materials have been introduced making the boats stronger, faster, and lighter.

The only downside to the boats is the ridiculous learning curve and the fact that they are almost totally useless in light winds. When not on a hydroplane the boats simply don't move and zero stability. Racing one is definitely a full body workout. They appear to be almost impossible to tack, and require a gymnast to jibe under anything but perfect conditions.

I apologize in advance for moth boaters awful taste in music.

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