It seems like months ago the US Moth fleet was quietly making night repairs after long, daily river sessions in North Carolina. After last weeks sunny practice on the Great Sound in Bermuda, a depression smacked the 50 international sailors for Sunday’s Dash for Cash, breaking boats and people. The Amlin International Moth Regatta, with some of the top professional and amateur sailors in the world, was on!


Dan Ward’s split Mach2 transom

A squally 25-35 knots of breeze today filtered out the weak and all knew this was the real deal, what we had been preparing for. “I think the sail in was the most exciting sailing I have ever done,” laughed US Mothie Anthony Kotoun after the second day of racing. “Greenhalgh and I were wing bar to wing bar beam reaching between little islands with a ragged reef as our lee shore.”

The US team has had some great moments on and off the water, and with the 11th Hour sustainability practices in our heads, we’ve been keeping repairs tidy and enjoying some clean living. Thanks to our materials sponsor, Jamestown Distributors and their TotalBoat line of products, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

When 30 knots rakes a fleet of Moths, there’s no escaping breakages. Fixes from Sunday and Monday were tested. Olympians broke booms, and America’s Cup champions cartwheeled, skipping over the water in crashes. With everyone in, repairs began anew.

Kotoun ripped the tiny barrel nut out of his main foil flap earlier in the week. It’s not Moth sailing until the Dremel comes out, he always says, and he ground delicately into the flap, lubed up the little cylinder and set it in Thixo Fast Cure. “This is a TotalBoat moment,” (VIDEO here) he said as he moved the articulating nut while the Thixo cured. It worked today, in the most challenging of conditions.


Kotoun’s barrel nut set in Thixo on main foil flap.

Victor Diaz de Leon got some help from Australian legend boatbuilder Simon Owen-Smith (appropriately nicknamed SOS)  with his front vertical foil. A split trailing edge was cleaned, injected with TotalBoat 5:1 and clamped for the night.

British sailor Tom Offer was bucked into his spreaders, landing ass first, making some cracks and scraping his bum. A few carbon unis and TotalBoat epoxy will be curing in the shed.

US sailor Matt Knowles will be repairing a cracked wing bar but the biggest TotalBoat project of the event so far was for UK Mothie Dan Ward.

A crash with 50-knot closing speeds split Ward’s Mach2 transom apart and left him swimming with a lacerated eyebrow. Enter the elder statesman of Moth building, Mr. SOS.

SOS began by bravely gutting a huge square inspection hole in the bottom of the boat to access the inside of the transom. Late at night he read the sign in the shed with an arrow pointing to a box that read, “Thixo thickened epoxy. TRY IT! From TotalBoat.” He said it was a miracle, and that’s what he needed to fix this boat.

Realigning the after cross beam, carbon layering ensued with TotalBoat 5:1 and its Fast Cure hardener.


Simon Owen-Smith drills into the transom repaired overnight.

Once the transom cured, SOS drilled through the back to place the rudder gantry posts. This area takes some of the highest loads on the boat. SOS carefully filled the hole with Thixo and slid the carbon/stainless posts in and out until fully coated then only had minutes to attach the removable gantry so they would cure with the fitting in place.

The most intriguing part of the repair wasn’t that SOS worked until 2 a.m., slept in the next room of the shed on a chiropractic table and used a homeless man as his helper.  But the sweet re-application of the hull’s inspection hole was brilliant.


Cleaning up the edge of the bonding plate for inspection hole

SOS created a bonding plate inside the hull to allow the cutout to be glued. “The Thixo viscosity was perfect for this job,” said the Australian. “It’s just thick enough but it doesn’t need high clamping pressure. It came out very smoothly.”His explanation (VIDEO here) stated that Thixo can hold a bead as it is dispensed with a standard caulking gun. When something is pressed onto that bead, it squeezes out with little pressure but keeps put, filling gaps. “The fact that it fills gaps with little pressure is the key,” he added. “I was thinking about it last night how perfect Thixo was for these jobs.”


Finished transom


Gantry post set in Thixo

A break in the torrent is expected and I will report back on whether or not the fixes worked. The top US guys struggled in the bumpy conditions and dropped some places. Only the leader, Kotoun, managed two solid top 10 finishes. But they are hungry to tackle the next races.


l-r Dan Ward and SOS re-christen the moth after a marathon repair session. Ward was 13th in the day’s race in 25-33 knots of breeze.