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Asian Champs March 2014

On Sunday Robbie McCutcheon and Tess Patterson leave NZ for the Asian Champs in Bahrain.  We are hugely proud to have two sailors in the Asians squad again this year and wish them and their coach Sam all the best for what we hope will be an exciting and successful trip.

Keep an eye on the NZ Opti Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NZIODA

Event website -http://www.optimistasian-bahrain2014.com/

 

All Japan Regatta April 2014

Congratulations to Francesco Kayrouz from the Optimist fleet and Celia Willison from the Starling fleet for their NZ selection to attend the All Japan Junior Yacht Club Regatta next month. The event is a national inter-club regatta for junior classes in Japan and will be sailed from Wakasu, Tokyo - the venue for sailing events at the 2020 Olympics. Francesco will sail an Opti and Celia will sail a Laser 4.7.


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2014 Auckland Starling Championship
The 2014 Auckland Starling Championship was sailed off Kohimarama Beach over Auckland Anniversary Weekend. Wakatere was represented by Chris Coleman, Celia Willison, Louis Mayo and Sam Wallis and also new Starling sailors Harry Milne and Henry Haslett. This year’s Auckland Championship was held alongside the Optimist Auckland Championship on a separate course which was ideal as it eased pressure on parents while still allowing for quality racing.

59 Starlings entered the regatta, which was a very strong turnout considering the fact that the 29er National Championships and 420 North Island Champs were also being held over the same weekend. Waka 1 crewed by Dean, Graeme, Neil and Peter came to the party and looked after the pin end of the start line and also assisted with recording the finish.

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The regatta was preceded by a Yachting New Zealand Regional Development Clinic, which saw two days of training led by coaches Gareth Moore, Ian Neely and Andrew Murdoch in fresh conditions with a focus on upwind hiking techniques and gybing. At $30 this annual coaching session is the best value and most important clinic for Starling sailors .

Day 1 Saturday dawned to what initially appeared to be millpond like. The wind steadily built and by the 0830 briefing it was sailable. The fleet of around 200 boats launched at about 0930 and began the trip out to the course. The Starling course  area was set off to the east off Ladies Bay with the top mark towards Motukorea.

The warning signal was  made on time at 1030, however a very large wind shift to the left forced a postponement and AP was flown while the marks and start line were adjusted. We had around 12 knots of wind initially but built to 15 knots for the last race. Three races were sailed in good time with everyone back ashore by 1430, while the Optimists were still afloat completing their four race schedule.

Day 2 presented more challenging conditions with not dissimilar wind, but with cloud and a fair bit of rain. For much of the day it was impossible to see the top mark from the starting line due to poor visibility. Throughout the day the wind was persistently shifting left, with the breeze turning from an easterly direction to a northerly direction by the end of the day, with a slight shift back to the right for the last beat to windward. Again, three races were sailed with everyone back ashore by 1430.

Day 3 saw a complete change in the wind direction. Today we had very fresh southwesterly winds which were very challenging for many sailors. The Race Committee changed the course for today’s racing to an IW3 course. This meant that the course could be smaller and allowing the course to be laid in more sheltered waters. The water was flatter than previous days, although the wind still whips up a reasonable chop. The wind averaged a solid 20 knots with strong gusts. On the Optimist course a gust of 36 knots was recorded at one point! For most of the day working the right hand side of the course paid dividends with a persistent right hand wind shift (the opposite to the Metservice forecast interestingly).
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Final results:
Sam Wallis did very well, always recording scores at the top of the fleet including two bullets. Unfortunately his score line was hindered by a U flag in one race and a retirement from another race due to a problem with his side stay. He finished 7th overall. His performance in the heavy wind was impressive.

A note to owners of older McKay boats that they should check the bolts for the saddle fitting for the side stay on the hull. They can look fine on the surface but can be corroding on the inside.

Henry Haslett and Harry Milne were tenth and sixteenth overall, a very solid result for their first Starling regatta and already close to the front of the fleet. Their P Class experience was really paying off for them.

Chris Coleman, Louis and Celia Willison were 19th, 21st, 35th respectively and would have liked to have been doing better. Starts were an area of weakness with Chris scoring two OCSs and Louis not getting a single front row start. So while there is room for improvement, results were still very promising.

Kohimarama Yacht Club did an excellent job at managing this event, with a large marquee erected on the beach. Thank you to KYC and the volunteers for putting on such a great regatta. Thank you also to the Race Officers, it should be noted that Richard Brown was also Race Officer at the North Island Champs last weekend and at the Match Racing champs earlier in the week, a total of 8 days officiating over a 10 day period.
The next Traveller Series regatta is the Junior Sail Auckland - again at Kohimarama on Saturday and Sunday 8-9 February.
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2014 North Island Starling Championships
While the Sunburst Nationals were happening at Wakatere, a group of Starling sailors travelled to Whangarei for an interesting but challenging Starling North Island Championship. An impressive turnout of 73 Starlings was achieved from many clubs all around the country. It is great to see such solid fleets at Starling regattas. The regatta was based at Whangarei Cruising Club’s centreboard HQ with racing being held close to shore inside Parua Bay – a tricky venue in a very narrow body of water with land surrounding the entire area bar a small bay entrance. Wakatere’s contigent consisted of Sam Wallis, Celia Willison, Chris Coleman,  Emily Dol, Levi de Lisle and Louis Mayo.
Saturday dawned to very promising weather with sunny skies and a 10-12 knot south westerly but with a large wind change forecasted. Starting sequence for Race 1 was underway on time with a strong signal boat end bias. Needless to say a general recall was the result, but curiously although the RC switched to Flag U for the restart, no adjustment was made to the start line. It took two more general recalls for the line to finally be adjusted so that it was square to the wind and a black flag and the fleet were finally heading upwind. Working the right hand side seemed to pay dividends for this race.
Race 2 followed in quick succession with a relatively square line and a U flag. This race seemed to be more even with the left and right working well at different times. Trying to stay in the pressure was important as there was a large difference in strength between the gusts and lulls.
The wind continued clocking left after the finish of Race 2, and the committee boat was shifted to enable a course set up for an easterly direction. Sadly the wind never really kicked in to the strength of Races 1 and 2, with the sailors needing a combination of very fast light wind speed, staying in the pressure and trying to keep an eye on the shifts. The course was sensibly changed to a windward-leeward configuration. Race 3 was a real challenge with many holes in the breeze and a large left hand shift about halfway up the first beat. Many competitors sailed a very crooked line downwind to the gate, and the sailors who identified the (albeit extremely small) gate marks early were able to gain many places by sailing a straighter line. Louis gained a number of places only to find out that he was black flagged.
Race 4 was similar to Race 3 but more extreme. All but one of Wakatere’s sailors choose to hit the right hand side  and trying to take a more conservative course through the centre was not a viable option due to the large hole in the course with no wind and were punished heavily after a huge left hand shift came through. Some parts of the course enjoyed patches of good wind while others were stuck in doldrums for many minutes. A large number of boats were still racing (many Wakatere sailors included) when the 15 minute window after the first boat crosses the line lapsed,and it was unfortunate to see many hit with a DNF (no Still Racing Scores available in Starlings).
The day was very pleasantly rounded off with a yummy barbecue put on by Neil & Kathy Wallis. Many thanks to them.
Day 2:
Sunday morning was a different picture to Saturday, with the entire bay area glassy.
The AP flag was lowered at around 1015, with the breeze coming in from a westerly direction. We were optimistic that the wind would build but it did not and was still very light by the time race 5 had started. Being on the front row on the start line was so crucial, and anyone who was not had were stuck in almost no wind, watching the front row sail further and further into the distance. The wind was again very unstable with the strength varying from 0 to 6 knots and swinging around over a huge range. Many competitors towards the tail end of the fleet were very frustrated. On the approach to Mark 3 for the back end of the fleet on the trapezoid course, the wind swung by 90 degrees came through and the people who had sailed high on the downwind track enjoyed big gains. Frustration was further worsened when the finishing line again closed off – seconds before many boats finished, with some managing to score a second DNF for the regatta. Many where unhappy that the race had not been abandoned after the first shift and were finding it hard to reconcile race 5 with the word ‘fair’. On the other hand, it is a major championship and it’s not designed to be easy, and it still takes a great deal of skill to do well in these conditions
Later, after a wait around under AP, the wind started to fill from  southeasterly direction. However by the time the course had been laid for this direction, this wind had disappeared. For a while the chances of getting another race away looked slim, but our patience paid off and we were rewarded with a solid northeasterly breeze of 8-10 knots  The start line was laid straight off the yacht club which created the interesting effect of a large number of moored boats being on the course, with Racing Rules 19 and 20 coming into play for those who went left. The wind gradually increased to around 15 knots during race 6. A short windward-leeward course was sailed, finishing at 1430. After the finish there was a great deal of confusion with a conflict between different versions of the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, with one mentioning stating a 2pm cut off time (i.e no more racing allowed) and others mentioning a 3pm cut off. The RC decided to run another race, again a short W-L in very similar conditions. Finding the marks was again a challenge with the small teardrops being used.
So in total we had 4 races in good conditions and 3 races in difficult conditions that at times felt more like a lottery. The sailors were able to gain a good feel of the likely scenarios that they will be facing when they return to Parua Bay in April for the 2014 National Championships. Libby Porter became the 2014 North Island Champion with Tam Lindsay and Jeremy Mitchell runners up. Wakatere’s results were a mixed bag with Sam 8th, Chris 30th, Celia 43rd, Louis 47th (with one BFD and two DNFs!), Levi De Lisle 48th and Emily Dol 61st in her first major Starling regatta.  Everyone sailed well at times, but it is clear that light and shifty conditions are an area for improvement.

Louis Mayo
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twitter: @louisoutlook

 
2014 Sunburst Nationals Competitor List

2014 Sunburst Nationals

Competitor List @ 17 January 2013

 

 

Fleet

Sail No

Boat Name

Helm

Crew

Club

Jack Brooke

Vela Veloce

Russell Weston

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

159

Ragamuffin

Matthew Bouzaid

Pierre Bouzaid

RNZYS

Taihoa

193

Sundot

Mike Petricevich

Anna Petricevich /Maria Howley

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

214

Sundrift

Alex Nowlan

Craig Nowlan

Pigeon Bay BC

Taihoa

228

Merry Old Soul

Finn Buckeridge

Ben Harris

Wakatere BC

400

Equinaut

Derek Moffat

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

413

Meindad

Craig Tomlinson

James Palleson

Pleasant Point YC

Taihoa

495

Woof Growl Bark

John Waugh

Richard Siegert

no club

Jack Brooke

910

Flyer

Michael Flatters

Janine Hunter

Vauxhall YC

Jack Brooke

1055

Moonbeam 11

Richard Hawkins

Korena Paterson

Port Chalmers YC

Jack Brooke

1072

Arethusa

Nigel Price

Jeanie Price

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1079

Craka Jack

Don Oliver

Matthew Callaghan

Pt Chevalier

Jack Brooke

1209

Nimrod

Keith Fraser

Lynley Ball

Heretaunga B C

Jack Brooke

1254

Catch-22

Julia Faire

Sophie Handley

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1322

Embers

Jake Hawker

Ben Hawker

MacAndrew Bay

Jack Brooke

1385

Summer Salt

Kotaro Isozaki

Satoko Isozaki

Wakatere BC

1388

Dave Norman

Alex Norman

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1392

Waroo

Alan Montgomery

Malcolm Scott

MacAndrew Bay

Jack Brooke

1434

Vagrant

Andrew Brown

Cameron Brown

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1462

Santa Maria

Brett Daniel

James Daniel

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1513

Iceburg

Iain Rea

Gustav Schotz

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1525

Ripper

Chris Bicknell

Samuel Bicknell

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1530

Rhythm & Swing

Brett Linton

Penny Linton

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1545

Starblaze

Lincoln Fraser

Benjamin Fraser

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1553

Hilda of Horopito

Pam Walker

Jack Brooke

1555

Nite Lite

Greg Verhoef

Jack Verhoef

MacAndrew Bay

Taihoa

1558

-

Rohan Butcher

Keegan McManaway

Calliope Sea Scouts

Jack Brooke

1563

Bad News

Amanda Hargreaves

Amanda Young

SSANZ

Jack Brooke

1591

Phosphorescence

Craig Smith

Merryn Smith

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1606

Galileo

Neil Wooldridge

Robbie Wooldridge

Pupuke BC

Jack Brooke

1629

Steamboat

Wal Louden

Colin Dalziel

Muritai YC

Taihoa

1630

Te Koa

Anna Merchant

Jessica Rigg

Akarana Young Mariners

Jack Brooke

1632

Fun

Murray Walls

Heather Walls

Waimakariri

Jack Brooke

1635

Runnin Outa Excuses

Chris Ward

Mary Clare McCarthy

Muritai YC

Jack Brooke

1641

Plum Crazy

John Kliffen

Milo Willcock

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1646

Flying Meringue

Rudi Mack

Penny Hoy-Mack

Muritai YC

Jack Brooke

1652

Atalanta

Else Besuijen

Ruth Lawson

MacAndrew Bay

Taihoa

1653

-

Sebastian Jones

Oscar Garcia

Calliope Sea Scouts

Taihoa

1654

-

Gabrielle Jones

Daniella Clements-Levi

Calliope Sea Scouts

Jack Brooke

1661

Crazy Bouyz

Nick Olson

Flinn Olson

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1662

Les Girls

Philip Governale

Andrew Paterson

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1679

Good News

Bruce Yarnton

Lachie Stewart

Wakatere BC

Taihoa

1684

Bananrana

Megan Taylor

Amelia Walden

Akarana Young Mariners

Jack Brooke

1692

Shaker

Dee Ankersmit

Robert Ankersmit

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1700

Flossie

Shanna Verhoef

Emma Rogers-Bromley

MacAndrew Bay

Jack Brooke

1723

Willy or Wonty

Kate Upton

Rebecca Garcia-Huston

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1732

Windrush

Simon Probert

Nick Probert

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1738

Just Magic

Alastair Campbell

George Willcock

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1739

Good Times

Maurice Scott

Greg Scott

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1751

Seabird

Mike Long

William Long

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1768

Indecision

Matt Smeaton

Tracy Smeaton

RNZYS

Jack Brooke

1777

Tapui

Jeremy Winter

Judy Francis

Muritai YC

Jack Brooke

1780

-

Norman Hensley

Rachel Hensley

Ohui-A-Rangi Young Mariners

Jack Brooke

1781

Envy

Simon Manning

Jack Manning

RAYC/Glendowie

Jack Brooke

1785

Kick Ass

Matt Buckeridge

Kaaren Rosser

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1788

Tupelo Honey

Sam Bacon

Ben Prentice

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1789

Magenta

Peter Goodwin

Pt Chevalier

Jack Brooke

1791

Tac Tix

Jane Calvert

Ben Stirling

Worser Bay BC

Taihoa

1792

-

Alice Denham

James Denham

Ohui-A-Rangi Young Mariners

Jack Brooke

1800

Cognos

Kevin Whitehead

Jane Hawkins

Wakatere BC

Jack Brooke

1808

Splash

David Kibblewhite

Morgan Kibblewhite

Worser Bay BC

Jack Brooke

1813

Kuta

Rob Daniel

Anne Daniel

Lake Mahinapua Aquatic Club

Jack Brooke

1815

Al Fresco

Peter Nees

Peter Wood

Vauxhall YC

Jack Brooke

1816

Tecary

Roy Roker

Jim Godfrey

MacAndrew Bay

Jack Brooke

1821

-

Scott Beavis

Jack Beavis

Hamilton Island YC

Taihoa

8458

Solar Flair

Ian Dobson

James Beddek

Pt Chevalier

 
2013 North Harbour Starling Match Racing Trials
This weekend saw the 2013/2014 North Harbour Starling Match Trials take place at Murrays Bay. The primary purpose of these trials was to select a representative for the North Harbour district at the 2014 Starling Match Racing National Championships, however it is also a great opportunity to practice boat handling skills in a slightly different environment. Tactics used are quite different to fleet racing, because you only have to worry about one other boat - and it was not uncommon to see races with more than ten tacks on a three minute beat to windward. There is no second place, only a win or a loss. Match racing in dinghies is not a common format but important to learn and valuable experience for the future. After all the America’s Cup is a match racing regatta is it not?

Wakatere (the only club present other than Murrays Bay) had three sailors competing who were Celia Willison, Louis Mayo and Jess Berry - with several prominent members missing. Jess has only just started sailing in the Starling very recently and chose a challenging event to make a debut, but fended well.

The fleet launched at around 10am on Saturday. It was clear from the forecast and observations from land that there was going to be a fresh NW breeze, but not long after launching it became apparent that the wind was even stronger than forecasted. By the time the Race Committee were ready to start, the wind was gusting over 20 knots - far too much wind for match racing to be successful. The fleet were sent back ashore at around 1030 with no races sailed. It was obvious that the breeze was not going to abate, so the sensible decision was made to postpone racing for the day.

Everyone was back on Sunday, the first day of summer, for an early start. Launching just after 0830, the first starts were underway at around 0915. The wind settled in from a southwest direction at around 8-10 knots for most of the day. Temperatures started off fairly cold but the sun came out a little later in the day, which was an extra bonus. The course was laid close to shore, which saw a few interesting wind shifts. The short courses meant the races were kept to around 10 minutes each.

Flight 1, Match 1 was Louis versus Michael Stern from Murrays Bay. This did not get off to a good start, firstly with the RC making an error in the start sequence, necessitating an abandonment, and then Louis getting trapped in ‘coffin corner’ in the restart. Fortunately, things improved from this point. Everyone was showing good form at times and most races were close, with the winners only crossing the finish a few metres ahead. It was pleasing to see Wakatere’s contingent trying hard and not getting controlled by the opponent. Louis suffered from some gear failure after the start of Flight 3, with the traveller popping out of a fairlead, forcing him to return to shore and effectively lose two races by default. After some makeshift repairs, he made it out just in time for his race in Flight 5. The first round robin was completed by 1pm with all three having a share of wins. Jess and Celia finished for the day, while Louis waited for his semi-final match.

After a short delay due to the changeable wind, a second round robin was sailed between Jeremy Mitchell, Ellie Lane and Michael Stern to resolve the three-way tie for first place. This was won by Jeremy who elected to sail against Louis for a semi-final. Jeremy’s combination of sublime boat handling and excellent speed along with a capsize by Louis made it a bit of a non-contest, with Jeremy winning 2-0. Louis opted to withdraw from the petit final for third and fourth to avoid putting extra strain on his jury-rigged traveller which meant he was fourth overall. Michael won a very close battle with Ellie in the other semi-final match and the final sail off was between Michael Stern and Jeremy Mitchell. The writer had gone ashore at this point, but from land it looked like a close competition and was won by Michael Stern - who earns the right to compete at the 2014 Starling National Match Racing Championships to be held at Glendowie in January.

All in all a very pleasant day of sailing. Match racing in the Starling is highly recommended  and it would be fantastic to see a larger contingent of Starling sailors at next year’s trials and hopefully a Wakatere member representing North Harbour in 2015. Many thanks to the hard working race committee and umpires from Murrays Bay.

 
The 2013 Starling National Championships

 

 

 

img_0047.jpgimg_0120-1.jpegFive Wakatere Starling sailors headed down to Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Picton for the 2013 Starling National Championships. Racing took place over 5 days in the school holidays from Monday 22 to Friday 26 April.

The team travelled on Friday and Saturday by road to Wellington and then ferried across to Picton. Promises of heavy rain and 35 knot winds across the Strait were thankfully not met, and the crossing was fairly sedate. After a meal at the Picton RSA, it was off to bed ready for tomorrow.

Sunday was the big preparation day for the team. The weather was somewhat dreich, with rain and no wind. Pre event training plans were cancelled, but the time was well used with various last-minute maintenance projects.

img_0058.jpgDay 1:

Today was the first day of racing at the 2013 Starling National Championships, which are being staged at Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in the Marlborough town of Picton. The day began with extremely calm conditions inside Picton Harbour, and after a briefing, launching was delayed while the Race Committee went to find some wind.

The ‘D’ flag was raised at around 1100 and the fleet began to launch. Due to the very light wind, most boats were towed out of the harbour, stopping to letimg_0119-1.jpegthe Kaitaki ferry cross. As the boats were towed around Mabel Island, a squall came through, bringing a decent breeze but also a fair amount of rain.

The rain came and went, and so did the wind. Yellow was the first group to start at around 1300, with the one sailor OCS being Wakatere’s own Sam Wallis which was unfortunate. Blue started 10 minutes behind. The wind started off well, but dropped away during the race. Yellow were able to finish, however Blue got becalmed around Mark 2. Luckily a light breeze picked up and it was just enough to get the fleet down to Mark 3, where the course was shortened, with the race taking just over an hour to complete.

Race 2 was postponed for a while, in order to wait for some more consistent wind. It looked like the wind was going to shift around to the right, but eventually the breeze settled in the same northwesterly direction. Yellow were in a starting sequence at around 1500, however there was a general recall, forcing a restart under Flag U. Blue again followed shortly afterwards. This time a good race was achieved, with the wind holding in (although shifting around) for the whole course.

After this, everyone sailed in and packed up quickly, as it was starting to get dark. Results of the day were:
Sam Wallis - OCS but then a solid 6th. Chris Coleman a promising 18th and 25th. Levi de Lisle 46th and 53rd, Louis Mayo 49th and 30th and Kate Stewart 34th and 41st.

Day 2

The second day of racing at the Starling National Championships began with very calm conditions inside Picton Harbour. However the Race Committee reported that there was wind outside, and the ‘D’ was raised at 0930. The Starlings were hooked up to RIBs and towed out to the course area.

As the cruiseliner had left, the logging ship that was anchored in the bay was able to return to the port. This meant that we had more space to lay a course and did not need to go all the way out to Allports Island.

The orange flag was raised at 1055 and the warning signal for race 3 ‘yellow’ fleet was made at bang on 11am. Unfortunately this start was a general recall and the race was restarted again under ‘U’. Blue then went into their starting sequence, and again had a general recall.

Some weather forecasts were predicting winds of up to 20 knots. This did not eventuate, and winds were mainly light, probably averaging around 8 to 10 knots. The wind gusted to around 15 knots at times, and there were also lulls of very little wind. The key was being able to connect those gusts together to make sure that you are always sailing in the most pressure. The RC attempted to shift the marks to compensate for the changing wind direction, but the constantly changing breeze meant that it was only possible to lay for the average direction.

Race Officer Gerald Martin was strict with his starts, using the U flag for each race this day. This kept the fleet well back behind the line. All 3 scheduled races were completed.

A brilliant day for Sam Wallis with 1st, 2nd & 10th placings. Chris Coleman  and Kate Stewart also did well with 16th, 20th & 21st and 23rd, 32nd & 23rd respectively. Levi 47th, 52nd and 46th and Louis 44th,50th & 47th.

img_0182.jpegDay 3:

Today was essentially a carbon copy of yesterday, with wind moving between about 315 (NW) and 270 (W) on the compass. Again the absence of much wind in the harbour required a tow out the course area for the Starlings, which was laid in a similar position to yesterday.

Again the first race of the day (Race 6) began on time. This time, the fleet were able to stay behind the line and both starts got away under Flag P. Race 7 was started quite swiftly after the finish of the first race. Race 8 was slightly delayed, as the good run with clear starts was over and both groups had a general recall, again seeing a switch to Flag U.

After racing it was back to the club to appreciate some Marlbrough mussels and salmon. Then the Starling Class AGM saw a lot of passionate discussion debate about various topics.

With 8 races completed, the qualifying series had been completed and the fleet was split into a Gold (upper half) and a Silver (lower half) group. Sam finished 7th, 7th and 15th, which easily put him in the Gold Fleet.  Chris also secured Gold Fleet with 21st, 16th and 33rd. Meanwhile Louis, Levi and Kate have something to aspire to for next year.

Day 4:

(Apologies for the Silver Fleet bias  for the next two days as that is where this writer was.)

Today was ANZAC Day, and for that reason there was to be no racing until 1300, with many attending the Picton Dawn Parade (this writer not included due to late night for AGM attendees). People started arriving at the club from around 10.30am and launching and towing began around an hour later. There were a couple of showers of rain in the morning, but by the time we were on the water, the sun had come out and it was nice and warm out at the course area.

Upon arrival at the course area, there was very little wind to greet us. However around 15 minutes before the scheduled first warning signal, a light breeze built from a northwesterly direction. The start was postponed for a short while as the course was laid, but by around 1310 the start sequence for Gold was underway. This was a massive failure of a start, with many boats well over the line, forcing a general recall. The restart under Flag U was also unsuccessful, with too many boats over. After a third attempt to start under Flag U, the RC pulled out the Black Flag and finally the start was away.

The Silver Fleet also mucked around with the starts, and after two general recalls their start was underway on a Black Flag as well, over an hour late. For this race, the wind stayed light at around 6 knots or so. For the Silver Fleet, there was a large right hand shift on the second beat up the inner loop, and the boats that went left, including the entire Wakatere Silver contingent :(, paid a heavy price, with some losing up to 30 places in one beat!

The second race of the Finals for the Gold was underway just after 3pm, however silver fleet was postponed slightly, due to the delays in starting. The RC used the Black Flag to start both races. This time for the Silver fleet, playing a centre left track worked out reasonably well. What the wind was going to do iwas often totally unpredictable.

All in all, a sub-par start to the Final Series for Team Wakatere, with most losing a few places. However Kate Stewart was able to go from 44th in the first race to 14th in the second race which was a good improvement.

img_0071.jpegDay 5:

The last day of championship racing saw a return to an earlier start, with only two races scheduled today to allow an early pack up. Wind Guru had been forecasting fresh winds today, but no one believed them as they had been forecasting that all week! Predict Wind was forecasting lighter winds, and the sky state the previous night had suggested light winds for the final day of racing. However, people were surprised as we awoke to rather strong winds, with the trees blowing around.

For the first time during the week, a tow was not necessary and we were able to sail out to the course area. The wind was extremely inconsistent with strong gusts and then very light patches coming through. The wind was very light as we went across the channel and around Mabel Island, but once we were out into the Sounds, there was a decent breeze. The wind never really increased to anything particularly strong during the day, and was much lighter on the course than inside in the harbour.

The Race Officer, keen to get racing away as quickly as possible skipped Flag P and went straight to U for the first race. The start got away cleanly in around 12 knots or so. However a minute or two into the race, there was a significant starboard hand wind shift. This left the RC with no choice but to abandon the race.

After this, the wind failed to settle in for some time. The wind was strong enough, but the direction was highly variable. AP was signalled and the orange flag removed while the course was moved. After a lot of waiting around, and moving of the course area, the restart was finally underway at around 1245, with the Silver fleet following just behind. At this stage the wind was averaging at around 15 knots, with the odd gust of about 20.

During this race, for the Silver Fleet at least the right was quite favourable, with the exception of a short left hand phase about halfway of the way up the second beat, which penalised those who himg_0103.jpegit the starboard lay line too early.

Following this race, the Race Committee went straight into a second race. Unfortunately a general recall meant that the Gold fleet started under a Black Flag. The Silver got away with just one boat over. By this stage, the wind had begun to drop and by the finish, was around 10 knots or less. This was the last scheduled race of the championships and with that, everyone headed ashore.

Sam Wallis improved on yesterday and finished the regatta with a 4th and a 10th, which was enough for an overall 15th placing, which is very decent in such a large competitive fleet. Chris Coleman finished 39th and 48th, making 47th overall, but in the context of things, any result in the Gold Fleet is solid.

Kate Stewart was the top Wakatere Silver Fleet sailor in 14th, finishing the regatta with an 8th and a 20th. Given she had very little experience in the Starling this was a credible result. Louis Mayo finished a disappointing 39th, but 34th and 24th made the last day a better one. Levi de Lisle finished 46th with a 40th and a 35th.

The championship concluded with a prize-giving and a tasty carvery dinner. First place and the 2013 Starling National Champion was Trent Rippey of Tauranga. Runner up was George Gautrey from Muritai Yacht Club (in Wellington) and in third was Leonard Takahashi-Fry from Murrays Bay Sailing Club (North Shore, Auckland).

It was a very successful regatta considering that the wind was mostly light for the entire period and often very shifty but the weather was mainly fine, with only a few cloudy periods, and little  rain. Queen img_9996.jpgCharlotte Yacht Club did an excellent job of organising and were very hospitable. Fun was had on and off the water and our group enjoyed the hospitality, of Seamus's Irish Bar (and I’m sure that they were very grateful for our custom) and the Beachcomber Inn provided ideal accommodation.

Thanks should be given to the organisers and everyone who helped, as regattas require an army of volunteers. Gerald Martin was the Race Officer and he did splendid job. Running races in the Sounds is not an easy job and making a decision about whether the conditions are fair to race in or not is tough. It is important to also thank Gerald’s helpers on the signal boat, pin boat, finish boat and the mark layers (who have a particularly hard job when laying marks in over 30 metres of depth). Thank you to the Protest Committee – where chairman John Bullot was ably assisted by judges Alistair Daines, Mike Alison, and Hana Maguire. These people do a thankless job and really do help keep our sport clean.

Thank you to the coaches who have helped the Wakatere fleet this season - Finn Drummond, Rob Hielkema, Ben Goodwin, Sam Bullock and Francisco Lardies.

Also thanks to the Wakatere Boating Club for providing support boats for coaches and parents. The great photos are by Neil Wallis. And of course a super big thanks to the parents!img_9945_1.jpg

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