Moon holds thin lead at A-Class North Americans

Published on June 13th, 2014

Manteo, NC (June 13, 2014) – Houston’s Bruce Mahoney may have installed a brand new set of foiling daggerboards on his carbon-fiber A-Class Catamaran last night, but the new toys weren’t enough to hold off Ben Moon in moderate to powerful breezes on Day 3 of the 2014 SailNC A-Class Catamaran North American Championship.

“I’m definitely not the superstitious type, which made today kind of ideal for me,” said Moon. He’s referring of course to the confluence of superstitious days hitting the Grand Banks today; the equinoctial full moon – known as a strawberry moon – which rises tonight on Friday the 13th. “Honestly I was a bit lucky today with my positioning, but I also had a couple of good enough starts to get me to the windward mark ahead of Bruce, who’s quite a bit faster downwind.”

Moon’s two first-place finishes give him the same points as Mahoney, with the Floridian taking the lead on tie-break. Mahoney said Moon earned every inch of his wins today. “Ben sailed really smart, while I just couldn’t get the boat flying the way I’d like in the big chop just yet,” he said.

Conditions for the first race of the day were relatively benign, with 12-15 knots of warm South wind, with big lulls on the course. Moon sailed a wire-to-wire victory over Mahoney, with 18 year-old Jeremy Herrin hot on his heels. The second race of the day – the fourth of the series – would see an identical podium despite completely different conditions.

“It got really sporty there in the final race,” said Moon, who came in off his trapeze for the final run of the day. “When both my bows went completely under for the second time, I figured I should do something to make sure the boat stayed upright to the finish,” he said.

Moon’s experience wasn’t a unique one – Race 4 of the championship saw some 15 boats on their sides, with two dismastings on the day in breeze that peaked at 30.8 knots. “After rounding the offset, I just pushed the boat dead downwind and got back as far as I could to keep the bows out,” said 60 year-old Martin Hamilton, who scored his best finish of the regatta in the final race – a 9th place – to sit in 14th overall. “It wasn’t easy, but what a ride!”

The sole woman in the fleet is 16th place Carla Schiefer, who wonders why more woman don’t sail the A-Class Cat. “Even in wind like this, the loads are light and the boat rewards patience and good timing more than size or strength,” she said. “Launching the boat may be a bit of a hassle, but that’s the same for everyone.”

Tomorrow’s forecast promises more spirited sailing conditions for the final day of the Championship, with a discard coming in after five races to shake things up. Moon and Mahoney have a big lead on the fleet, though after a throwout, young Jeremy Herrin could be the spoiler. Racing begins at 1000 ET.

Results after Day Three (Top 5 of 47)
1. AUS 11, Ben Moon – 4, 2, 1, 1, ; 8
2. USA 311, Bruce Mahoney – 1, 3, 2, 2, ; 8
3. Bas Clas, Bob Hodges – 3, 9, 4, 4, ; 20
4. el Presidente, Bailey White – 12, 4, 5, 7, ; 28
5. USA 465, Bob Webbon – 6, 12, 9, 6, ; 33
Full results:
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