They are the coolest (or strangest-looking) sailing dinghies you’re likely to encounter on the water, but there is more to Moths than meets the eye.
The North Sails U.S. Moth Nationals were held this month on Key Largo’s Buttonwood Sound.
American Olympic sailor Brad Funk won the event, but from the looks of this highlight video, everyone who participated was a winner. The clip is about 6 minutes long, but if you jump past the introduction to the 45-second mark, that’s where the action begins.
A foiling Moth will reach 14 knots upwind and 20 knots downwind in just 10 knots of wind. In 20 knots of breeze they can fly along at 17 knots upwind and an eye-watering 25 to 30 knots downwind.
The thoroughbred sailing machines in the clip look futuristic, but the Moth Class actually dates from 1928 in Australia. There, tinkering sailor Len Morris built an 11-foot, cat rigged, hard-chined, flat-bottomed scow to sail on Anderson Inlet, near Melbourne.
How hard is it to sail a Moth?
“Challenging? Yes, but not hard,” according to Australian Moth builder McConaghy Boats, explaining that the high-tech construction and decades of evolution in today’s designs make it possible for even a novice to lift off and fly.
The manufacturer even offers a Tips for Beginners page on its website, which has us pondering a date with a Moth.