It Can’t Always be Champagne Sailing

For last year’s Line 7 Port Nicholson Regatta Wellington turned on three days of sunshine and good breeze. But Huey always wants to be paid, the cheque bounced, and the forecasts this year were dire all over the country.
Day 1 of the 2017 edition of the Line 7 had the fleet and the RC boat drifting on glass for a few hours under a clear sky. The RC eventually got us underway in a southerly of 5 occasionally nudging 10. In the fickle breeze Airship (Ross 930, David Roberts) got the better of the fleet to take the line from Revs (Ross 12m, Mark Gordon), Loco (Farr 30, Jamie McDowell), and St Laurence (Newick Trimaran, Kyle Radersma/Murray Bridge). The breeze fizzled in the second race and left half the fleet struggling to finish within the time limit. Some gave up and joined the finishers in an early return to base to rehydrate before the barbecue.
Day 2 dawned wet and miserable and ended wet, cold, and miserable. But there was breeze. Determined to get back on track, the RO gave us three windward leewards then a longer trip up and down the harbour, the only pleasant thing about which was it finished back near the club house for quicker rehydration. The lads on the picklefork hit their stride and claimed the line in each race. This was the day the Y88 trophy got interesting. New kid on the block Danger Zone (Simon Liddell) claimed two wins on Day 1 while regulars Whistler III (Mike West) and 88% Proof (Shelene Paraone / Herve Le Goff) were both carrying 7 points. Whistler peeled off three firsts and a second, Danger Zone three seconds and a first, 88% Proof runner up with three thirds. If just one more race was run, there’d be a drop and Whistler and Danger Zone would be tied. On PHRF Base, Airship was now sitting on 8 points after six races, comfortably ahead of Loco on 20.

Waking to thunder and lightning indicated Day 3, with three races to run, would be no less miserable – the talk around the breakfast tables at Coene’s was for a crew boycott. Always one to gauge the mood, the RO said there’d be just one race so boats would get a drop.

Mutiny averted, the race started in squally rain and you’d be lucky to see a ferry before it hit you. Huey played one last trick and served up a hole between the start and the first mark, which had the back of the fleet overtaking some of the front runners. Things settled down to more or less normal, but there was everything to play for in the Young 88 fleet. Danger Zone trailed both 88% Proof and Whistler III at the bottom mark, but by the top mark Proof was in front of Whistler. Down to the bottom one last time, then a long beat to the finish. Proof continued to extend while Danger Zone chewed into Whistler’s lead. Whistler underlaid the finish mark while Danger was making it. Whistler made a couple of quick tacks but still had Danger inside, to leeward, and overlapped. A bit of luffing, but Whistler had it.

In the tally up, Airship won the top Regatta prize on PHRF and was also awarded the Ross Telford Memorial Trophy.
St Laurence claimed overall Line Honours and the General Handicap win. Whistler III and Danger Zone were double tied, and the decider was the placing in the last race – Whistler III won the Young 88 Trophy by a whisker.


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