© Lissa Reyden | www.LiveSailDie.com
Inclement weather has brought the pre-Christmas series to a close, with 7 of 8 scheduled flights raced. However, the results show that victory for Valsheda II (950) was a virtual certainty, notwithstanding the early bath. Al Gair and crew sailed an impressive series, taking 1st or 2nd place in every flight, bar one (when Al was absent).
Impressive, too, was the fact that they sailed every flight. On the race course, only Feng Shui (1348) seriously threatened their domination, but in this fleet, any mistake - or any absence - is invariably punished. Accordingly, Willzy and crew will have to settle for 3rd place, behind Hayden Whitburn and his crew on Upfront, who also demonstrated consistency in both performance and attendance.
Many thanks as always to everyone who contributed to an excellent series, including (but not limited to) Warwick and Theresa Gair, John and Megan Kensington, Melanie Best and the RNZYS, John Waters, Peter Steele and the crane crew, Craig Greenwood, Hayden Whitburn, Anatole Masfen and Andrew Wills.
We look forward to seeing more crews out on the race course in the New Year, including newcomers Patch Graham, Nick Hazard and Simon Judd.
The post-Christmas series commences on 27th January. Please check the calendar here for other important dates - including the Auckland and National Champs.
All that remains is to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Results for the series are here.
The RNZYS RO did well to get racing away, after competing breezes duked it out for supremacy over a fast-flooding tide. Once a pleasant Westerly had prevailed, the fleet sailed two short sprints - hurtling towards the top mark on the flood, before inching and eking a route back down-tide in a thrilling slow-motion mash-up of chess and all-in wresting. It was gripping stuff, with boats barely crossing the finish line, inches apart.
As ever, the crew of Vashelda (950) impressed with unlikely boat-speed and dazzling boat-handling to triumph in both races and take the flight.
Various gear failure had sadly depleted the fleet with two boats retiring before and two during the flight, but race 2 was nonetheless a humdinger that remained too close to call until the line. Pelle Petersson on Verity (241) looked certain to take 2nd, but inexplicably gybed onto port at the finish to let Tortuga (779) cross ahead (v e r y s l o w l y) - just behind Valsheda (950).
Next week is the last flight before the Christmas break and we hope to get a decent turn-out: The series looks secure for Valsheda (950) and second is likely for Upfront (814), but there is everything still to play for the last podium spot.
Results here (flight) and here (series).
Despite a late start - due to technical issues with the crane - the fine weather allowed for three very close races across a fast ebbing tide.
With the offset mark drifting rapidly down-tide, The Etchells sailed a démodé triangular course (on some legs although not others - just like the old days) and the combination of tide and the shortness and unpredictability of the course made up for some thrilling races.
There was some nostalgia aboard Tortuga (779) for the old Olympic courses (triangle, sausage, triangle) and bowman, Jono Howson, embraced the retrospective with a ten minute countdown and a confounding 'mast abeam' call on the downwind leg.
Meanwhile, aboard Upfront (814) Hayden Whitburn failed to enter into the vintage spirit, with the introduction of some fresh, new sailing talent, who would have taken the flight, but for some bad luck in Race 2.
In the end, however, a befittingly superannuated Johnny Melville took out the flight aboard Bobby's Girl (1058) to preserve the honour of the old guard.
With two flights remaining in the series, there is still everything to play for - and much to enjoy. We hope to see an even larger fleet out next week when the RNZYS will once again host the Etchells.
Results here (flight) and here (series).
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.