Well, it was a fitting end to an excellent season with Valsheda taking a clean sweep in perfect conditions and thereby hermetically sealing her victory in the series overall.
A southerly breeze, lacking its usual icy bite, was livelier at the start than some had imagined and saw three exciting starts on a short line, precipitating some very close uphill work and plenty of passing opportunities on the downhill stretches.
The closeness of the racing promises much for the National Championships, now to be held on 11th/12th May.
The seemingly endless summer produced a total of 44 races in 15 flights. Valsheda won both halves of the series (before and after Christmas). Full results are here.
PLEASE CONFIRM YOUR ENTRY IN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS VIA EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org. PLEASE INCLUDE NAME OF BOAT AND ALL CREW. ENTRIES CAN BE WITHDRAWN/AMENDED LATER.
Congratulations to Alastair Gair and his crew for a convincing series win.
Many thanks, as always to Warwick and Theresa Gair for their tireless efforts throughout the season - and also to all those who have taken part, helped out and made this a great season.
On a final note - please let me know if you have one of my esky bags - I am missing three!
Following extensive consultations and vote, it has been decided to reschedule the National Championships, which will now take place on the weekend of 11th and 12th May.
Please confirm as soon as possible via email to email@example.com that you intend to take part (YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND LATER). Please include the name of your boat in any correspondence.
As previously advised, it is intended to run the regatta from Westhaven (per the Auckland Championships in February). The race area will be between Bean Rock and Rangitoto (weather dependent) and all boats will return to Westhaven each day after racing (under tow if possible).
The will be a prize giving after racing on Saturday at Swashbucklers, including spot prizes from various sponsors including North Sails, Coast New Zealand and Mount Gay Rum.
Please also confirm by email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a power boat available to assist with RO duties and/or to tow boats home after racing. Any help is much appreciated.
Racing instructions will be posted here in doe course, together with a list of entries.
The AGM usually takes place after raciing on the last day of the nationa Champs - because nothing puts sailors in a party mood more than a properly constituted and quorate meeting. However, I am proposing that we dispense of any business of the National Association via written resolutions, to be circulated before the National Champs.
If there are any matters that you wish to be raised and discussed, please use this forum.
In the event that it is not possible to reach a resolution on any matter, an AGM may of course be held in the usual way following the National Champs...
The Tuesday Night series draws to a close this week - so make this final outing count.
It looks to be another cracker day and I look forward to seeing a decent-sized fleet for the last hurrah.
Flight 13 - Lucky for some. A perfect evening, with just the right weight of breeze to keep things interesting, clear blue skies and a slowly setting sun. I don't know that it gets any better than this, but there are two more flights to go...
With Valsheda and Feng Shui taking the silverware again, some newer additions to the fleet (and some older hands) merit comment. Affinity has proved a real threat over the season and will be a contender at the forthcoming National Champs (of which more later).
Windward's results are heading in the right direction towards the tail end of the season and the longer races of the National Champs should allow her to settle into her (evident) pace.
On newcomer Tortuga we are running out of excuses, but looking forward to the last two flights of the series to prove that we are not entirely out of our class.
Quantum and Foundation seem to be the perenial bridesmaids - and while they remain beyond reach of the two leaders, they are also now clear of the also-rans and are well-poised (and well-practised) to reach the podium at the Nationals.
Split-Decision's results look more like split-personality - with positions scattered all over the board. Consistency is key in a long series, but who knows which boat will show for the Nationals? One to watch.
Upfront has been, but has also not been. A mixed season, but not without drama. Keep a close eye on this one at the Nationals - particularly if you see her through your main window...
Irish Crystal has displayed moments of brilliance throughout the season and in the crucible of the Nationals this may shine through again.
Bobby's Girl has had a patchy attendance record this year, but has shown well on the days that she is there. Let's hope she doesn't stand us up again at the Nationals.
Echelon has been another persistent absentee and her strength is hard to guage at this point.
Captain Pete is, as ever, the dark horse in this fleet. After last week's epic performance your correspondent predicts an heroic return to erstwhile form at the Nationals. Here's hoping.
THE DATE OF THE NATIONALS MUST BE DECIDED THIS WEEK. PLEASE VOTE HERE.
Series results have been updated here.
Check out this video, courtesy of Colin Preston from Sail-Word.com (sailing on Windward (1114))
Flight 12 saw some of the freshest conditions of the entire series and a fleet of 10 boats enjoyed two long races into the lively nor' easter.
This flight also saw the relaunch of Tortuga (779) and a welcome return to form of former world-beater Captain Pete. Aboard Tortuga, frantic last-minute preparations made for rushed entry to the first start and a certain amount of trepidation as the vintage running rigging strained to the first beat. There seemed little doubt that something would fail, it was simply a question of what and how soon.
In the event, the first beat saw a very tight fleet converge at the top mark and storm home on a one-gybe run. The inevitable occurred aboard Tortuga as the topping lift and jib cleat failed, forcing an early retirement for running repairs. Valsheda and Feng Shui took their habitual 1;2 and Affinity placed third.
Race 2 got off to a lively start at the biased boat end, forcing the first general recall of the season (I think). The second start was good and once again the first beat towards Devonport was close, with the left giving a late advantage and allowing Tortuga to sneak around in third or fourth.
On the run, Captain Pete gamely negotiated the fleet with a spinnaker that threatened to part at any moment and picked up some 3 or 4 places by the bottom mark, ultimately finishing a brilliant second and taking second equal overall with Foundation.
For their sterling effort, Captain Pete's crew were awarded a bottle of Mount Gay Rum at a very cordial post-match debrief at Swashies.
With only three flights to go, we hope to see the whole fleet out next time.
Please also note that the National Championships are scheduled for 6th and 7th April, and I will be sending out more information this week. Some of you will recall that last year's championship was ruled ineligible - having had fewer than 10 entries. Let's make sure that does not happen this year.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.