The RPNYC Moore Wilson’s Winter Series burst into life with a stunning weekends sailing experienced by all those who took to the waters of Wellington harbour for the first of five action-packed race weekends. Regatta Director Paul Davies takes up the story:
“I am totally blown away by the number of entries we have received for the series this year. 50 boats is just sensational and a testament to the state of keelboat racing in Wellington.”
What makes the series so special this year is the addition of a dedicated Classic Yacht Series. “We have over 11 classic yachts ranging in age from 120 years old (the yacht Thelma – launched in 1984) to the ‘young upstart’ of the fleet, Reremai a veritable whipper-snapper at only 57 years old!” says Paul.
Here is a round up of all the action and the results for the weekend:
Classic Yacht Series
10 Classic Yachts took the water. All you needed was sepia-toned glasses and you really could have been back sailing in Wellington any time from the 1890’s to the early 1960’s. Traffic heading in to the city along the Hutt motorway really could be forgiven for thinking the had travelled back in time!
It was Marangi (Carl Jackson) – the sprightly 104 year old Le Huquet who soon showed the fleet a clean transom as she powered along to the top mark as the breeze started to freshen.
She was followed home by the elder states-woman of the fleet Thelma (Matt Price) showing that age really does equal experience.
It was Thelma who took ratings victory on the day, followed by Loloma (Phillipa Durkin) and Mabel (Gavin Pascoe).
The combined age of the top three boats is 344 years – an impressive feat in an age where most sailors swoon at the sight of carbon fibre. One glance at any of the classics sailing on Saturday would make the big techno-sailing-freak just a little envious!
Two Handed PHRF Series
Sharing the racing waters on Saturday were the 2 handed PHRF fleet. Badonkadonk (Quinn Wright), Black Diamond (Jamie McDowell) and Testarossa (Grant Reid) quickly established themselves at the front end of the fleet, closely followed by lights-flyer After Midnight (John Floyd) and the fleet close behind.
As they fleet made their way towards the harbour entrance the breeze died, and the following fleet charged up with the Northerly breeze.
Whistler III (Mike West/Josh Haytor) looked dangerous for a while, but as the breeze settle in – it was business as usual as the fleet made their way around the track.
Eventually it was Black Diamond who took the gun, but it was the smaller boats who benefited from bringing the breeze with them who took the day. White Cavalier (Chris Rutledge) and Jigsaw (Judy Lymbery/Paul Davies) were first equal on corrected time.
Sunday Fully Crewed Series
Sunday dawned with a fresh 25-30 knots across the harbour – Winter was in the air!
36 Boats made their way to the starting area, where RO Ken Burt had set himself up at the bottom of a 1.5nm windward/leeward course. Division A would do 3 laps – with Division B doing 2 before finishing above the top mark.
Division A saw Wedgetail (Meric Davies) lead the 8boat fleet from start to finish to take the win on Line, PHRF and General handicap from REVS (Mark Gordon) and The Guarantee (Geoff Herd).
Division B was a much more tightly contested affair – with a mixed fleet of keelboats, trailer yachts and Elliott 6’s crewed by the RPNYC Youth Scheme battling it out around the course.
At the top mark the breeze died – turning a 20knot battle into light airs tactical warfare. Black Diamond repeated their line honours win from the ever dangerous Testarossa, with third place going to a Wellington Ocean Sports Centre team on MRX Red filling the podium.
General Handicap winners however were Adam Middleton from the Youth Scheme who worked their way through the fleet, with Black Diamond second, and another of the Youth Scheme Elliott 6’s, helmed by local starling sailor George Gautrey taking third.
Black Diamond won the PHRF battle from Testarossa, with Mark Waters and the team on Illusions taking third place.
IRC honours were again taken by Black Diamond, with Gucci (Brent Dewhurst) and Whistler III (Mike West) chasing hot on his heels.
The Moore Wilson’s Winter Series runs every second weekend from June – August.