Auckland Champs: Craig Campbell, Lincoln Fraser, Willie Roberts, Jono Francis
Proving that practice makes perfect, Lincoln Fraser returned from a weekend of first-class Etchells racing in Brisbane to reclaim the Auckland Championship aboard Alliance (950) over two nights on the Waitemata.
On day 1, Alliance made a clean sweep with three bullets, with Feng Shui (1348) the bridesmaid on each occasion. Feng Shui may have been holding out for a sixth race after Alliance faltered to a 5th place in race 4, but had to settle for 2nd overall as the fleet took an early bath after 5 races, with all counted.
The fleet welcomed back Johnny Melville aboard Bobby's Girl (1058) who claimed three thirds and a bullet after some sighting-in on race 1. Bobby's Girl was a deserved 3rd overall, with the rest of the fleet some nine points behind the podium places.
Many thanks as always to the team at the RNZYS (including Georgia Witt, Laurie Jurie and Lana Mihelcic) for providing race management and hosting the Etchells fleet for the prize-giving and curry night!
Results and TRACKING here
The first love of every Etchells sailor should be the sea (certain members of your correspondent's crew would do well to note this) and so it was unsurprising to see 10 ardent crews take to water on Valentine's Day in conditions that might have seemed unpromising to the unsmitten.
It was a great pleasure to welcome newcomers, Conrad Robertson and crew aboard a wonderfully-restored Revenge (240) and the overcast afternoon offered a deceptively placid welcome to the debutantes, with barely more than 6 knots of breeze. But soon enough, the fickle southerly punished the unwary (and unaware) with some tricky shifts and holes.
The fleet also played host to Olympic silver-medallist Alexandra Maloney, aboard Magrette (1240) and welcomed Simon Cook to the helm of Feng Shui (1348) in Willzy's absence..
The race committee sent off three long races on the short course and it was a late finish in the diminishing breeze, but having opted to sail on Valentine's Day, one may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. In each race, the beat proved a real tester, the offset leg (straight into the flooding tide) stretched the fleet and the downwind legs posed many questions. It was by turns, immensely enjoyable and maddeningly frustrating.
Simon Cook on Feng Shui (1348) posted a convincing 2nd and 1st and, but for an OCS in race 2, might have stolen the flight. But it was Affinity (1059) who ground out the win after a couple of false steps and false starts, from which she recovered well. Echelon took second place - again recovering well from a a disappointing race 1 to take a bullet and 2nd in the races 2 and 3. Alliance (950) placed third, showing real speed and finesse in the last two races.
Next week the Auckland Champs will be held on Monday and Tuesday nights, with a prizegiving at the Squadron on Tuesday, where drinks and nibbles will be ready and waiting for us.
Results and TRACKING here (flight) and here (series)
In an increasingly tumultuous summer, the last few weeks may have felt like years - certainly long enough for many, your correspondent included, to have forgotten how to yot. Despite this general air of amnesia, an eager fleet took to the Waitemata in dazzling summer conditions like fledgling swans - or ugly ducklings in some cases - making a meal of two starts and multiple mark-roundings, but remaining buoyant and, mercifully, afloat.
Staying aloof of the melee and out of trouble, Feng Shui (1348) posted two bullets, while Magrette (1240) and Affinity (1059) displayed consistency and persistence to finish 2nd and 3rd overall, respectively.
Next week, the fleet welcomes Conrad Robertson in the newly-restored Revenge (240). The following week, the Auckland Champs will again be held over two evenings - Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st.
Results and Tracking here (flight) and here (series).
NB As at 9:00 AM on 08/02/2017 the results are PROVISIONAL
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.