A somewhat abbreviated report this week as your correspondent is still creaking a groaning after a stint on the bow of Tortuga (779), an experience which was by turns exhausting and terrifying. This used to be my regular berth, but I must have been more agile and less (financially) interested in the boat back then. Anyway, I salute the fleet's bowmen.
The evening produced three very close races with plenty of drama. Most of that drama was, as ever, at the mark rounding and it has become increasingly evident that it is there that places - and races - are won and lost. The short course format does not produce too many passing opportunities on the legs and so it pays to find clear air after the start and consolidate a position that can be built upon. This was starkly illustrated by Andrew Wills and crew on Feng Shui (1348) in Race 3 who, starting only marginally ahead of Tortuga (779), tacked, cleared their air, and only tacked about 3 more times throughout the entire race, to show the fleet a clean set of heels.
Victory in Flight 5, then, to Feng Shui (1348), from Valsheda (950) and Bobby's Girl (1058). Hayden Whitburn's Upfront (814) remains well in contention for the series, which Valsheda (950) hanging on to pole position from Feng Shui (1348).
Many thanks again to RNZYS and the Race Committee.
PROVISIONAL results from RNZYS are here (flight) and here (series).
After what seemed to have been a week of typhoon conditions (minus the tropical warmth), the weather relented and Auckland put on one of those stunning evenings that make you careless of the foregoing misery.
A dozen Etchells enjoyed some close (at times, perilously close) racing on a longish course, set to take full advantage of the fresh Westerly.
False starts in Race 2 by series leaders Valsheda (950) and Feng Shui (1348) helped to mix things up, as did a strong debut performance from Hugh Rebbeck aboard Tortuga (779), posting a 3rd in Race 1 and nearly repeating the trick in Race 2 before hitting a mark. As Hugh remarked later,
"there is no room for mistakes in that fleet".
Another solid result from Hayden Whitburn on Upfront (814) and an improving series of results from newcomer Lincoln Fraser's Maverick (1077).
Johnny Melville's Bobby's Girl (1058) helped to make up for his late entry to the series with two bullets, but in the end Feng Shui (1348) - welcoming back Andrew Wills from injury and general indolence - took out the flight with Bobby's Girl (1058) second and a resurgent Split Decisions (914) third.
Many thanks and a warm welcome are due to Patch Graham: No sooner had he acquired Foundation (1236) and joined the fleet (hopefully Foundation will be back on the Harbour before Christmas) than he was pressed into service as RO, photographer and cub reporter.
Thanks also to Craig Greenwood for the use of his RIB, to Johnny Montgomery and to all who bore a hand to make this happen. Next week the RNZYS will provide race management, but everyone's help is appreciated for the two remaining fleet-managed flights before Christmas (see the calendar for details).
The remainder of the season is shaping up nicely with 12 boats alreay in play and at least 2 more warming up in the changing sheds...
Results are here (flight) and here (series).
© Lissa Reyden | www.LiveSailDie.com
Unbowed by an ominous forecast, a hardy fleet of nine Etchells enjoyed eclectic conditions and close competition in flight 3 of the Tuesday Night Series.
While the heavy winds held off until all were safely installed at the Members Bar at RNZYS, a few squalls and not a few shifts kept everybody on their toes for the three (or, more accurately, 2.5 races), managed with aplomb by the Megan Kensington and the Squadron team.
Race 1 saw the larger part of the fleet head off out of the blocks toward the North Shore, to some advantage, before two shifts leveled the field and brought the fleet close together at the top mark. A distinct bend in the breeze downhill favoured early-gybers and on lap 2 the whole fleet seemed to pick its way far more gingerly around the course - Valsheda (950) ultimately taking first place over Affinity (1059) and Split Decisions (914).
Race 2 was a similar affair, but errors at both the top and bottom marks reshuffled the order and Hayden Whitburn's Upfront (814) romped home first over Valsheda (950) and Bobby's Girl (1058), on her season debut.
But of course the highlight of everyone's evening was Race 3 in which your correspondent, ably assisted by Hugh Rebbeck and new recruit Jono Howson (last seen on the bow of an Etchells circa 1987), secured an historic victory through a combination of tactical brilliance, faultless seamanship and sheer, dumb luck (not necessarily in that order). Normal service will doubtless resume next week when your fleet captain shall, once again, lead from the rear...
Many thanks to the RNZYS for their assistance and hospitality.
Please do contact me if you wish to be added to the 'Available Crew' list here.
Crew T Shirts are also available here - all proceeds to the Auckland Fleet.
© Lissa Reyden | www.LiveSailDie.com
A respectable crowd of around 50 Etchells sailors enjoyed a cracking evening of racing and dock-side banter for the 2nd Annual Etchells Invitational in Auckland last evening.
Enthusiasm remained undampened by an early drizzle, which gave way to brighter skies and a light easterly for three eventful one-lap races.
Scrambling to set a course in the clocking breeze, the race course committee - ably headed by Warwick Gair and sporting a massively over-powered AC chase boat (by kindness of Craig Greenwood) - set a boat-biased line through which a single Etchells might safely pass, sideways on. The first start sequence, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, culminated in messy general recall. Just a warm-up, then.
Thereafter the races proceeded apace, with crews tagging on and off boats between races from the two support boats, which were both generously stocked with refreshments, courtesy of sponsors North Sails and Coast New Zealand.
Even with guest crews aboard, the usual suspects dominated the racing, with Craig Satterwaite aboard Valsheda II (950) taking a decisive victory over Fran Lardies on Feng Shui (1348) and Tom Dodson on Split Decisions (914). Notable also-rans included new helm Hugh Rebbeck aboard Tortuga (779), who swapped one set of novice crew for another after race 1 and still managed to maintain a mid-fleet position and Josh Junior aboard Affinity (1059) who was thrown a similar hospital pass for race 3, but posted his best result of the night.
As the light failed, all returned to the dock and a refreshing de-brief, before returning to Swashbucklers for a welcome seafood platter.
Our particular thanks to Lissa and Darren from Live Sail Die, for piloting the support boat while securing some awesome images (to be posted here and on www.LiveSailDie.com).
Many thanks also to all who took part and to everyone who contributed to the effort, including Hayden Whitburn and Andrew Wills, John and Megan Kensington, Craig Greenwood, Warwick Gair, Johnny Montgomery and Swashbucklers.
Don't forget that you too can support the fleet - and more events like this one - by purchasing an awseome Etchells T shirt for you and your crew, available here, or by email to me, Alex Webster (email@example.com).
Results are here - please contact me if your name is incorrect or missing.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.