A strong ebbing tide and a variable, shifting breeze put the cat amongst the pigeons in Race 1 of the final flight of the season and turned the fleet on its head, with Captain Pete (716) claiming a decisive bullet.
It was always odds-on that the breeze would die or shift and leave those heading left on the ebb in no man's land and Anne Marie Waugh wisely opted for a right hand corner, ultimately laying the top mark with no other Etchells in close enough to gloat upon.
Split Decision (914) and Valsheda (950) both cut their loses early and followed the blue boat around a clocking course to take 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Race 2 and a curtailed Race 3 did not see further upsets and the final results of the series top three remained unaffected, to the probable relief of Feng Shui (1348), who had carded an uncharacteristic DFL in Race 1.
Overall a great evening - with thatnks again to the Gairs for race management and Craig Greenwood for the use of his boat - and a fitting end to an excellent series.
There is plenty of racing to come next year: The Tuesday Night Series (Part II), kicks off on 28th January. The proposed dates of the Auckland and National Champs are posted on the website, but remain subject to change.
New Series - New Sails?
It is worth mentioning that the Tuesday Night Series restarts in January with a clean slate. Accordingly, there is still every incentive to join the fleet, spruce up the boat and ask Father Christmas for some new sails. To that end, North Sails is offering a 10% discount on new sails - order before 20th December to ensure delivery before 28th January. Please contact Andrew Wills for details
Final Results here (series) and here (flight 6 )
Join the Fleet!
There are still some Etchells for sale - although I have received a number of serious enquiries since the Invitational. 2014 is a new year and a new series, so take this opportunity to get into this fun, competiive and affordable fleet. Please contact Alex Webster if you have any questions.
Guest Post by Anatole Masfen
After some unwarranted weather concerns during the day, Flight 5 saw the 10 boats heading out from Westhaven in 15 to 20 knot North Easter with an incoming tide.
Warwick Gair was back in charge of the racing and thanks go to Craig Greenwood who put his tender in the water at the last minute to ensure that the RO’s job was made slightly more comfortable. A perfect 0.8 mile beat was set which ensured that 3 races could be sailed and the tide relief from the left hand corner didn't come into play too much.
The night was characterised by a convincing display by Alistair Gair and his team on Valsheda (950) with 3 wins. The minor places were fought out by Feng Shui (1348) (2nd overall), Affinity (1059) (3rd overall) and Bobby's Girl (1058) (4th overall). Being the first night of the year with solid breeze, it soon became evident that some of the maintenance programmes on the boats were lacking. Breakages included broken jib tack fittings, jib halyards, travelers, mast chocks and vangs, to name a few.
A good rule of thumb for jib tacks and halyards is that you always need at least one spare and for any wire fitting with a crimp - and these should be replaced as soon as and wire strands become frayed. It is also wise to set up a safety on jib tacks, outhauls and possible vangs as soon as the breeze fills in.
With the breeze up there was less separation between the bulk of the fleet and there were a few incidents that need to be kept in check. One such incident at the top mark on race 3 saw 2 port-tackers barging round the mark in front of a starboard tacker. Apart from blatant cheating, this can be extremely dangerous. The incident which resulted in Split Decision (914) being scored DSQ for race 3 would have ended in that boat being sunk if a T-bone crash had not been avoided by sharp seamanship by guest helmsman aboard Feng Shui Scott Kennedy.
All in all a great night's racing and the crews look forward to next weeks pre-Christmas finale
Results here (series) and here (flight 5)
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.