|Starling Nationals 2011|
|Sunday, 16 January 2011 09:01|
The 2011 Starling Nationals were sailed at Napier Jan 5-8th and contested by 91 sailors.
Conditions were excellent with a good range of wind strength and without the large wind swings experienced at the North Islands. Qualifying races on days 1 and 2 were held in light 4-12 kn N-NE winds, while days 3 and 4 were generally around the 18-22kn range from the NW and then SE. Courses were set further north which reduced the impact of Bluff Hill and evened out the tide flow.
Jack and James during the finals
Ellie, Kelsey, Jack, Matthew and James represented the Wakatere Starling fleet and produced some great results. On day one Jack had a great start with a 1,2,2 and would have been leading if he hadn't been Z flagged in one race. Matthew was similarly penalized in the same race. Jack followed up his success of day 1 to post more great results on day 2 to be positioned about 7th after the end of the qualifying races. Jack, Matthew, Ellie and James all managed to qualify for the Gold Fleet.
Ellie between races
Conditions changed dramatically for the finals races and so did the results. With the stronger winds favouring the bigger sailors, Matthew and James progressed rapidly up the leader board while Jack and Ellie slipped back a few places. Matthew showed some impressive speed upwind in these conditions to round the top mark in the top five in just about every race, but lost a lot of ground downwind. James had a couple of great third placings, but lost the chance for another couple of other top 10 places with capsizes, as did Matthew. A lack of practice in the stronger condtions showed with most of the fleet having the odd swim. Although Jack's placings in the finals weren't as good as in the qualfiers he showed how determined he is and wasn't that far behind. It was a great effort given his lighter weight. Ellie also suffered from being a little light, but probably hadn't been sailing the Starling long enough to be able to get the extra performance.
Kelsey found the step up from Club racing to be quite a large one and struggled through the regatta. It was great to see her persevere especially with no other Wakatere club mates joining her in the Silver fleet.
In the end it was a great regatta and our guys all sailed well and learned heaps. Matthew and James both improved on last years results and are looking at moving on to Laser Radials. I'm sure Jack and Ellie will be keen to put what they learned into practice and try again at next years Nationals at Murrays Bay.
Gareth Moore, Matthew Kempkers and Mahia Pepper at the top mark in race 7
Final results saw Gareth Moore from Christchurch first with consistent results throughout to add to the Match Racing title he had just won, winning races in the light and strong winds. He showed great downwind speed to win one race by a mile. Mahia Pepper from Murrays Bay, came a close second and also won in both conditions, but just couldn't finish it off in the final race.
Matthew finished 8th, Jack 13th, James 14th, Ellie 25th and Kelsey 80th.
Most of the team enjoyed a middle eastern meal together before the contest. They were well supported on the water with the two centre consoles and Charlie in another RIB for those who wanted coaching. Thanks to the club for the use of these boats. Sadly the small RIB was stolen while on the marina one night, but a replacement was generously provided by NSC.
A great prizing giving meal was enjoyed at the end of the regatta along with a few spot prizes. It was good to see the contestants getting along and sharing stories of their race experiences. The post regatta party at the Mackays was supposedly worth attending as well - thanks Donn for being the caperone until 0230 !
Matthew and Jack sailed the New Years regatta which was excellent practice, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 16 January 2011 09:05|