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.
- 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.
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
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).
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
The local Choshi Moth fleet.
The whole crew.
Keiya Funa, Japanese National Champion
sailing a Moth that he designed and built himself.