© 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.