by David Brown
Craig Gilberd and Antje Muller won the 2012 Sanders Cup for Northland in Full Frontal
The Sanders Cup holds a special place New Zealand Yachting History. It is the oldest trophy sailed for in New Zealand under it's original inception. It is the only remaining senior interprovincial challenge competition still sailed for today.
Since the inaugural races in 1921 it has been sailed for every year with the exception of 1942-45. The Sanders Memorial Cup was presented by Messrs Walker and Hall Limited in 1921 in the memory of Lieutenant Commander W.E.Sanders, V.C., D.S.O., R.N.R. for interprovincial competition between 14ft one design yachts. It is currently competed for in Javelin Skiffs www.javelins.org.
This year's edition was held on Lake Taupo in conjunction with the annual Mighty River Power Regatta. Wellington was represented by Wade McGee and Demian Nixon on Thirty Something, Manawatu had sent David Brown and David Feek on Trailblazer, Ross and Colin Shanks sailed for the East Coast on Riders on the Storm, from the Bay of Plenty came Ben Bax and Phil Smith with Bax Contracting, and Antje Muller and Craig Gilberd had arrived from Northland with Full Frontal.
Racing started on Friday in 20 knots of breeze and East Coast confirmed their performance in these conditions winning the invitation race and thereby the impressive Kingham Trophy, a silver yacht model that stands over a metre high.
In the first race of the Sanders Cup they dominated again ahead of Bay of Plenty and no other boats completed that race.
Manawatu and Wellington had breakage that prevented them from racing both the first and second race.
Bay of Plenty showed great crew work in the testing conditions and won race two ahead of Northland. East Coast had been in second place but touched the finish boat before clearing the line.
Saturday was again sunny but none of the wind remained. A sea breeze sample from the Bay of Islands was released and the next five races were held in six to ten knots. Race three was won by Northland ahead of Bay of Plenty and Manawatu. In race four, Bay of Plenty dominated closely followed by Manawatu with Northland in third place. Then Trailblazer found their form to lead Northland and East Coast across the finish line. They won the next race too in front of East Coast and Northland to be in striking distance of the cup despite missing two races. In the deciding race they won again but a second place was enough for Northland to win over all. East Coast came third this time and fourth in the final Ranking. Third place in the Sanders Cup went to Bay of Plenty who were tied for second and only one point behind the winners. In the over 90 years of its history this is the first time the trophy was won by a mixed crew.
The Sanders Cup went to Northland where it will be held in the Bay of Islands before Easter next year.