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IMCA Japan - 2002 Annual Report

We had enjoyed watching Australian web site on your national regatta & bloody good for Yumiko get 1st place (3rd race). I think she had enjoyed sailing & party with you.

We are 6C today. Bloody cold for Moth sailing & swimming. Lots of play tennis. New years Holiday & every weekend with Shigeko & friends. I want to go to Hot summer land soon mate.

Looking forward to see you soon.

Japan IMCA

2002 Statistics...

  • Registered members in 2002 - 20
  • Number of boats built in 2002 - 2
  • Number of boats built in last 5 years - 21
  • Number of Moth that exist in your country - 50
  • Number of boats expected to attend 2003 France Worlds - 2 to 5

2002 Japanese National Titles Report

We had enjoyed Karatsu Okunchi Festival, all Japan Moth Regatta. Mark Thorpe (AUS) & Patrick Ruf (SUI) joint sailing with Japanese Moth sailors. We had Party Party Party everynight with local great traditional festival on 31 Oct to 4 Nov. Regatta was quite heavy wind & cold weather, but everybody keep smile.

Ogura Masaaki
IMCA Japan

Race Report

18 Moth sailor from Japan and two from overseas (Mark Thorpe from Australia and Patrick Ruf from Switzerland) met at the Genkai Sailing Club in Karatsu for the Moth all Japan Championships 2002.

Karatsu is located in the north of Kyushu (south island of Japan) just 40km west of Fukuoka the biggest city on Kyushu. Saga Prefecture Yacht Harbor is situated on a island which is connect to the mainland with a bridge. The infrastructure is a sailors dream with everything one needs to feel comfortable: The main building (three storey) includes accommodation, dining room, office, bathrooms and of course showers with hot baths. A hangar like building high enough to bring in fully rigged moths and other dinghies holds a workshop as well as lots of material like masts and sails. A big garage with two buses and a big mobile home. Last but not least there is a building with a gym. The view over the bay of Karatsu is beautiful with a small island just in front of the harbour and a bigger one behind. On the right hand there is a nice view to the Karatsu Castle and the beach of Karatsu.

Although it is not the biggest sailing center in Japan, it is probably the most active and successful one with lots of high-school students sailing every evening trained by professional instructors like Yumiko Shige and Alicia Kinoshita the bronze medallists at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. The whole business is managed by Kazuoki Matsuyama (known as the “The coach”) president of the Japanese Moth Association.

Sailing started on the 31st of October after a short briefing with a practice race which was abandoned later after the wind has died. The weather except the wind already gave an idea of what one has to expect for the next four days. Temperature was about 12°C, unusual for this season which normally brings temperatures over 20°C. In the evening the whole fleet enjoyed a nice dinner in a traditional Japanese restaurant with perfect sashimi (raw fish) and lots of shochu (Japanese schnapps).

Racing started on the next day with wind from north-west 7m/s. The race area got divided into two half’s because of the bigger island. This made the sailing difficult but interesting. Mark Thorpe won in front of Kei Funahashi and Masa Kato. The second race of the day was held in the same conditions just after race one. Again Mark Thorpe took the lead. Second came Yasu Watanabe (“Banjo”), third was Kei Funahashi. The day was finished with a big grill party at the Genkai Sailing Club. The food would have fed twice the fleet.

On the following day the wind slightly changed direction to west with the same strength. After a general recall the course was laid out new. At 20 minutes after eleven the first race of this day was started. Kei Funahashi took the lead over Patrick Ruf and Yasu Watanabe. Because of the low temperatures the whole fleet was happy to have lunch at the Genkai Sailing Club. Everybody met in front of a Jet Heater in the hangar building to get “heated up” for the next race of the day. In up to 12m/s lots of capsizes (mostly due to heavy gusts and shifts) happened. Mark Thorpe finished in front of Patrick Ruf and Yasu Watanabe. The race committee wanted to have a third race but changed their mind when the last sailor crossed the line in the freezing conditions. Back at Genkai Sailing Club everybody enjoyed a hot bath.

In the evening the famous Karatsu Okunchi Festival was on schedule. But the bad weather conditions forced the festival organisation committee to stop earlier so only two of the traditional floats could have been seen by the sailors.

The weather was slightly better on the next day. The first race of the day was held in a slow breeze from south (4m/s). Close racing with interesting fights were on until the wind almost died. But all in a sudden the wind changed direction to north-west with some unpredictable gusts from almost all directions. Mark Thorpe was lucky to keep the lead over Yumiko Shige and Youko Eiraku who showed excellent boat handling after only one week sailing on a moth. After this race the festival was again on schedule. At this time the sailors enjoyed one of the festivals highlights: The floats (very heavy with wooden wheels) were brought in a defined position on a sandy place only pulled by man power.

Hard work waited for the sailors too in the second race of day three. In light wind conditions the race was started at half past three. As it came from nowhere a thunder storm swept over the fleet with violent gusts of up to 16m/s. Only Mark Thorpe and Yumiko Shige could finish before the first gusts hit the fleet. Masa Kato could recover first at the leeward mark and was able to finish the race on the third position.

On the last day of the series the race course was laid out just in front of Genkai Sailing Club made it very difficult to sail in the westerly breeze of up to 9m/s. But it must have been a nice spectacle to the visitors and the sailors with a DNS. All the races were won by Mark Thorpe. In the first race of the day followed by Kei Funahashi and Patrick Ruf. In the second race by Yasu Watanabe and Kei Funahashi and in the third race again by Kei Funahashi and Patrick Ruf.

Overall Mark Torpe won the series in superior style with eight wins in nine races. Second but first Japanese Kei Funahashi got the title as Japan Moth Champion 2002. Third came Yasu Watanabe who showed good boat speed in heavy wind conditions.

The event was very well organised on the water as well as on shore thanks to Kazuoki Matsuyama the race officer, Yumiko Shige who organised the on shore program, Masa Ogura who did a lot of organisation in the background and of course the whole team from Genkai Sailing Club who did an excellent job.

Personally enjoyed a fantastic week of sailing in Japan and would like to thank all of the Japanese Moth sailors for their hospitality. A special thank to Take Ooki San who lend me his “Dark horse” (JPN 1236).

Patrick Ruf
SUI 607

Final Results

1. Mark Thorpe (AUS)
2. Kei Funahashi (Japan Champion 2002)
3. Yasu Watanabe
4. Patrick Ruf (SUI)
5. Yumiko Shige
6. Masa Kato
7. Youko Eiraku

Overall Results


The local Choshi Moth fleet.

The whole crew.

Keiya Funa, Japanese National Champion
sailing a Moth that he designed and built himself.