Auckland Championships 2014
The 2014 Etchell Auckland Championships were held over Monday and Tuesday nights attracting a fleet of ten boats.
Six races were sailed in total, with gusty winds ranging from 10 - 18 knots. Racing was very tight, with four different race winners.
The Overall Winners were
1st - Andrew Wills, Anatole Masfen and Matt Kelway
2nd - Alastair Gair, Derek Scott, Rhys Johnson and Andrew Clarke.
3rd- Hayden Whitburn, Rob Salthouse (Monday), Paul Murray (Tuesday), Henry Haslett and Guy Wilson
4th -John Melville, Stu Malloy and Cam Horne
Many thanks go to Warwick and Theresa Gair, who did a fantastic Job running the racing.
We race every Tuesday night during the Summer and welcome new sailors - please join the crew / mailing list or contact us to get involved
All images by kind premission of Johnny Montgomery
Tuesday Night Series II - Flight 1
Tuesday Night Series - Flight 6
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.
Tuesday Night Series - Flight 5
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)
Tuesday Night Series - Flight 4
Guest Post from Will Simpson (Impulse, 1077)
Taking my inspiration from the tomes written by the Webstermeister...
The more vigilant of you last night may, perhaps, have been looking behind on the runs to see where the next puff was coming from. You may very well have pondered on why the boat with the blue spinnaker had dropped so far behind. The eagle eyed may have then spotted the tear in the foot of that very same blue spinnaker and said to yourself, ah. Bonus points and beer will be given to those who then realised that not only was there a tear but also that the kite was being flown freely, “sans pole”, as they say in France, under the careful eye of our middleman. (You would have been able to see the middleman only because our bowman had his head hung low ruing decisions made earlier in the heat of battle).
And that, intrepid readers, brings me on to the reason for turning to prose. Now I would dearly love to go into detail on how a tube might bend itself like a straw in a glass of coke, but my psychotherapist has advised me that it should be left to rest, and even going so far as to recommend motor-sport. So on that basis, and have taken up sailing as you don’t need the added cost of gas, it eventually leads to a request to borrow a spinnaker pole for a week or so whilst ours is in the tube hospital.
More than happy to provide recompense with beer, rum or mixed platter.
I also might take the opportunity to thank all for the welcome to the fleet and particularly for the encouragement, (or maybe it was continued harassment?), from Messrs Webster and Wills in getting us out there.
If anyone is reading this humming and hawing over whether to give it a go, Do It. We may be trailing at times but the smiles when we hit the dock say it all.
Results will be posted here (flight) and here (series).
Your usual correspondent was unable to sail last night. By all accounts the trial format with the RNZYS was a success and I look forward to hearing more feedback as we decide how to proceed. Please feel free to send me your thoughts / comments / suggestions: email@example.com
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
Long ago, while touring through Ireland with my parents, we stopped at a petrol station which still sported a single hand pump. Spreading the AA road map on the bonnet of the old Volvo, we asked the attendant how he thought it best to get to Dingle.
"Well", he began after a thoughtful pause. "I wouldn't start from here."
This type of retrospective insight is something of a speciality aboard Tortuga (779) where rapier-sharp, legally-trained minds prevail amongst what Martin Tasker might refer to as 'the brains trust', but which might more accurately be described as a bucket in which we keep out brains while we are not using them.
I haven't yet received a copy of the results from Anatole, so I am really just reminiscing at this point and will post the results in the usual place as soon as I get them, but read on if you like.
Having opted to start at the back (and, in the rabbit start, you do really get to pick your own starting position), Tortuga (779), with your correspondent at the helm - struck out to the unfavoured left hand side, propelled by a combination of petulance, despondency and irrepressible optimism. Pushed out further to the left than they might have preferred (thanks to Impulse (1077)), the crew of Tortuga (779) flopped back onto port to find itself leading the fleet into the putative 'orange mark' of which the pre-start Chinese whispers had told. But, as it transpired, not leading the fleet into another, clearly not orange, but actually really, really yellow mark way, way off to the right.
Tortuga's crew took this on chin like the champs I know they can (with considerable training, some therapy and, possibly, another skipper) be.
When, on lap 2, the collective achromatosia that had afflicted the the fleet on lap 1 (vis a vis orange/yellow) was overcome, Tortuga opted for an early bath and self-medication.
I apologise for adopting a more-than-usually subjective perspective in this report, but I was moved to report that, notwithstanding the results, the evening was, for your correspondent, every bit as fun / competitive / therapeutic as ever and is, as always, to be highly commended. If you are not already racing Etchells - you need to start now...
So, following last week's immensely successful Invitational, we invite one-and-all to get (and stay) involved for the remainder of this series (TWO TO GO!), not to mention the New Year's series - commencing 28th January, 2014).
Tuesday Night Series - Flight 2
The astonishing (and polarising) Phillipe Starck-designed super-yacht 'A' loomed over the start line on another fine Spring evening, which saw two long-format races, thanks to a fast-ebbing tide.
Aboard the committee boat, the rabbit came out of the hole and may or may not have rounded the tree before disappearing back down the hole, thereby consigning the kedge to Davy Jones's watery grasp. And so it was that the committee set a pin-biased line (the pin being the static end) and the fleet crowded the start line at that end to stem the tide and foreclose the distance to the Wynard triangle of tidal relief (Messrs Lester and Tasker have a lot to answer for).
Dodging the fishing lines off the tank farm and hugging the break water, the fleet squinted its way into a setting sun, tacking just under the bridge to clear the top mark, laid off the Squadron.
Feng Shui (1348) rounded first and was largely untroubled for the remainder of the race. The pursuing peleton was led by Valsheda II (950), with Split Decision(914) bringing up the rear, having lingered too long in the tide after the start.
Race 2, surprisingly, saw a split at the start with Unfinished Business (1184) braving the middle on a lifted port tack. Valsheda II (950) had a slow start, hedged her bets between the tidal relief and the middle and ultimately paid the price for procrastination. Affinity (1059) sailed an intelligent race and was unlucky not to catch Feng Shui (1348) on the downwind chase as the apparent wind died in the tide.
In the end, it was a clean sweep for Feng Shu (1348), but the rest of the fleet was very close and enjoyed a very civilised evening's competition.
Many thanks to Ben Grew for his kind assistance on the Committee Boat.
Flight 2 results here and overall results here
Tuesday Night Series - Flight 1
The Tuesday Night Series (finally) got under way with a bang. After two frustrating weeks ashore, the pre-start anticipation, in a fresh Westerly breeze, was palpable. The stater's gun unleashed a surge of kinetic energy and the fleet of eight bore down on mark one, with the tide under it, it what must be the closest leg yet.
All too quickly, it was cheek by jowl on the starboard layline. Undaunted, Split Decision (914) must have sensed an opening, or hatched a brilliant conceit, as she closed the fleet on port. But Pryde as we know, comes before a fall...
Note to self: must remember to remove cloak of invisibility before race.
The Waitemata Triangle (between the Squadron the breakwater and the bridge) and has claimed your correspondent twice, leaving its unmistakable mark - a big triangular hole in the (port side) gel-coat - in two different boats. And so, as Race 1 for Tortuga came to an abrupt end, the crew remained largely unfazed and retired to a plate of fish and chips and some grog.
Sadly this means that the remainder of the first three races must remain unreported (at least by me) and the results will have to speak for themselves.
It was great to see Captain Pete (716) out on the race course and back at Swashbucklers, where everyone enjoyed the post-match fare and a cheery debrief.
Megan Kensington and newcomer Ben Grew (a handy Laser sailor) got three fair races away, quickly and efficiently as always. RO assistance will be required again next week and we are looking for volunteers (firstname.lastname@example.org if you help)
Next week we will introduce a rosta for assisting with the launch of the start boat and race prep. If you are an owner or regular crew, your name will be on it. Please make yourself available at the designated time and date and help to ensure that everyone gets a fair crack.
Tuesday Night Series - Final Flight
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 email@example.com. 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!
Tuesday Night Series - Flight 10
After the ‘Groundhog Day’ results of Flight Nine last week (where Valsheda, Feng Shui and Foundation to 1,2 and 3 respectively in each race), Flight Ten of the Tuesday Night Series saw some hotter competition and greater variety.
JK made a welcome return on Unfinished Business – albeit at the bow, with Chris at the helm and ‘The Butcher’ in the middle.
The breeze was in for Race 1 and prompted a few hurried sail-changes – although not aboard Feng Shui (a decision that was to be lamented on the first beat). As usual, Valsheda was quick out of the blocks, while a naively optimistic starting strategy on Feng Shui saw her squeezed out of the back on the long first beat.
A persistently shifty top mark added to the drama, but on each downwind leg the right held more breeze and saw Feng Shui stage an unlikely comeback, just pipping Scott Kennedy’s Upfront to second place from Valsheda.
A far better start propelled Feng Shui to an early lead in Race 2. Valsheda clawed back in to the lead by holding the starboard tack to the layline, but the wind had diminished for the first downhill leg and Feng Shui passed her to leeward. Unfinished Business managed a credible third – not bad for a bunch of novices.
Race 3 witnessed the most drama – and not necessarily in a good way. Feng Shui fouled foundation in the pre-start and, having completed her turns, struck left and made up several places from those who had taken the lighter left side. Near the top mark, Windward saw off her pursuers by holding on port tack. Some aggressive luffing on the first downhill allowed Feng Shui to clear her air, but ultimately manage only fifth place.
A quick word about the rules. As someone who has spent the best part of this season with a Etrchells on his tow bar and who has been at the wrong end of a port/starboard collision, I can tell you that the Etchells is no dinghy: she is a heavy boat that can cause serious (and expensive) damage.
The port/starboard rules and the windward-boat rules are not just rules of racing, they are navigational rules of the road, to which we are all subject at all times. Mea culpa, of course: Feng Shui fouled another boat before the start of race 3, but she paid her penalty.
Series results here
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.