by John Leydon
Goodmanson and Rowlands have won their 9th F15 championship title after taking 2 wins on the final days racing in Tasman Bay
The 2013 Flying Fifteen Nationals and Worlds Selection Trials were hosted by the Nelson Yacht Club 2 – 5 February.
The contest was run in conjunction with the FD nationals and the fourteen F15s and seven FDs combined for probably the largest double handed event in New Zealand this season.
The invitation race was won by Craig Coulam and Adrienne Rekke in Blowfish 3832, closely followed by a bunch consisting of the crews who were to be the major players in the contest proper.
Race one started in bright sunshine and a 6-8 knot Nor-Easterly and it was Murray Gilbert and Jonathan Burgess in Frenetic 3840 who hit the front early after a clear start and held off a fast finishing Blowfish on the run to the finish. Defending champions Aaron Goodmanson and Alastair Rowlands sailing Fortune 3739 finished third, narrowly beating Business 3754 sailed by Sandra Williams and Graeme Robinson.
Race 2 began in similar conditions and Frenetic was soon in command, closely followed by Fortune and Blowfish, and while this order stayed the same until the finish, the boats from fourth to sixth finished closer to the leaders.
Race 3 the wind increased slightly and Fortune led all the way for their first win with Frenetic hanging on for second. Back in the pack the newly launched Godffather 4003 sailed by Sally Garrett and Neil Easton had a good third, just ahead of John Leydon and Mike Morris in Flypast 3838. With Tom Studholme and Tim Allen in No Pain No Gain 3301, these 3 boats had gone right on the first beat, and it paid off, No Pain No Gain having his best result of the contest.
Heavy rain on the beach and a chilly wind greeted the fleet on day 3, but by the time everyone had sailed to the course area the rain had stopped and a steady breeze of about 8 knots set in. This lasted to the end of the first triangle, when the wind went left 30 degrees and in about 2 minutes was blowing over 20 knots, giving an exhilarating ride to the top mark and a fast run down to the finish.
The heavier crews in FFlypast and Godffather made gains, but Frenetic had done enough in the light to hold their lead and win from Fortune. Blowfish worked hard on the final run to get third place back after having been passed on the beat.
This put Frenetic 3 -1 up over Fortune, and things were getting interesting.
Race 5 began in 15 knots, the windiest start of the contest, of and it was Fortune in front at the top mark, just ahead of Frenetic and Fflypast. The reach was a tad tighter than the previous race, and some of the boats did not fly their kites, but the 3 leaders opened up a good gap by the bottom mark and places remained the same until the finish. The sea had got up and the size of the waves on the flat off to the finish provided some great rides. This was the last race the day and with the leaders’ score at 3-2 things got more interesting.
The Flying Fifteens had started 5 minutes ahead of the Flying Dutchmen in this race and the first FD finished only half a minute behind the first F15, and the next FD made it into the bunch. Of course F15s don’t waste a lot of time with capsize, but both fleets were moving fast in the fresher conditions.
Day 3 dawned cool and clear, 10 degrees and low snow on Mt Arthur and the Richmond ranges behind Nelson. Welcome to the F15 mid – winter champs in Nelson in February!
The forecast southerly was dying when the FDs started and they had only gone 100m up the course when the F15s set off. After 10 minutes the wind dropped completely except for odd patches that got boats moving and then left them becalmed again. Business, Fortune and FFlypast went hard left and Frenetic and Blowfish a fair way right, both groups looking good until the wind came in the centre and Frenetic led around the mark from Blowfish. The wing mark was also left and the leading 3 boats sailed into the no wind area while the rest of the fleet slowly made its way to the top mark. After rounding about sixth Fortune sailed straight back down the course again, followed by NZ F15 class President Chris Fields and Adrian France in Flying Cloud 3740 and the rest of the back markers. They turned hard right halfway back down toward the start line, and carried a private breeze around the wing mark and set off on the next leg 200m clear and in the middle of the FD fleet. A bunch of 8 boats drifted around the wing mark and suddenly the wind came back and a frantic scramble began to get to the next mark. At this point the race was shortened, and the scramble became serious as this was the finish line ahead. Fortune won handily with 5 minutes of the time limit remaining, Flying Cloud had their best result finishing second and then within a 100m came Fred Price and Dave McIntyre in First Offspring 3088, FFlypast, and Robin Ward and Bruce Yovich in Flying Colours 2771 just holding out Blowfish. Frenetic was still becalmed at the wing mark and now had a 10th with one race to go, and the score at 3-3.
Race 7 began in a light 8 knot northerly and remained fairly constant all race. Fortune gave race followers plenty to talk about going left early on and not covering Frenetic. Goody had seen some wind on the horizon and when the fleet came into the top mark Fortune had a narrow lead from Frenetic with the bulk of the fleet in close attendance. Positions at the front of the fleet did not change and at the finish it was Fortune in front and Goody and Rolly had won their ninth Nationals. For the Aucklanders in Frenetic it was a long week as in spite of their top results in the early races they had spent a lot of time rebuilding their borrowed boat. For the Canterbury crew of Fortune the confidence of this experienced crew with two thirds and a fourth in their last 3 F15 worlds showed when halfway through the contest they were well down on firsts, and yet they were able to bounce back and win.
It was a good regatta with a variety of sea and wind conditions and close racing throughout the fleet. One point separated first and second, and 13 points back one point separated third and fourth.
It was the 50th Flying Fifteen Nationals and the regatta finished with a Prize giving dinner for the F15 and FD sailors and also doubled as a reunion dinner for as number of ex F15 sailors. They were able to watch the last day’s races on board Rob and Cheryl Greenwood’s Dickson 48 ‘Zenith’, and then attend the dinner.
Next event on the F15 calendar is the North Island Champs at Gulf Harbour on March 2nd and third. This will be a dry run for next year’s nationals also to be held at Gulf Harbour.
Running any regatta takes all the help you can get, and we would like to thank our sponsors who gave in cash or kind:
Super Yacht Crew Training at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
SantaCruz Mountain Bikes,
Doyle Sails Nelson,
Seifried Family Wineries,
Sprig and Fern Milton Street,
Vinings Ship Brokers,
The Paint Factory,
Solander Gourmet Seafood
The Prize giving /Reunion dinner was a great affair, hosting the F15 and FD fleets, plus the reunion sailors who included former administrators, builders and national champions. Skin Finlayson, our first World Champion in 1981 presented the winner’s trophy to Aaron Goodmanson and Alistair Rowlands, Peter Dallimore presented the Tauranga Cups to the Classic Fleet winners Rob Ward and Bruce Yovich, and Silver Fleets winners Fred Price and David McIntryre. Martyn Spencer presented the Spencer Salver to the top placed over 55 helm, Murray Gilbert and Ann Edmond presented the Leatham Edmond Memorial trophy for the first mixed crew, Craig Coulam and Adrienne Rekke.
FFNZ President, Chris Field, announced the crews who are eligible to race in the Worlds in Hong Kong in October. These are:
Aaron Goodmanson and Alastair Rowlands, CBYC
Murray Gilbert and Jonathan Burgess, RAYC
Craig Coulam and Adrianne Rekke, RAYC
John Leydon and Mike Morris, Motueka/ Evans Bay
Sally Garrett and Neil Easton, RAYC
FFI Technical - Sandra Williams and Graeme Robinson, Nelson YC/Napier YC
Youngest competitor was Oliver Hargreaves from Ravensbourne interrupting his Optimist campaign to sail with his father Ken, The eldest guest was Martyn Spencer, recently turned 90 who was sailing his first F15 at Evans Bay when Ken launched his first P class there.
The last presentation of the evening was when Tina Craddock, whose late husband Roger was our second World Champion in 1994 presented the Craddock Memorial trophy for outstanding service to the class. The winner this year was Lee Dawson from Charteris Bay. Lee has been sailing with her husband Hec for over 30 years in Flying Fifteens, was National FF Class secretary 25 years ago for some years, and has been the Canterbury fleet secretary from then until retiring this season. Hec and Lee raced their boat Sniffer at Charteris Bay on Sunday, before travelling up to the reunion.
Final Results can be found here https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nelsonyachtclub.org.nz%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F09%2Fff-final-results.pdf