by Brian Peet
Dylan McKinlay(Tauranga) leading Mike Stern (North Harbour) while in the 2014 Starling Class National Match Racing Championship - 2014 Starling Match Racing
The 2014 Starling Class National Match Racing Championship concluded on Thursday in controversial circumstances with the winner being decided on count back. Tauranga teenager Dylan McKinlay just pipped Welington’s Henry Gautrey to win the prestigious Caltex Cup for interprovincial sailing.
Both sailors finished on equal points with 8 wins and 3 losses in a weather reduced regatta. McKinlay having beaten Gautrey more times over the course of the contest was awarded the championship.
The first day’s racing on Tuesday was abandoned after high winds from ex-tropical cyclone June battered the Tamaki River race course in Auckland. Racing between the 12 nationwide regionally-selected representatives finally started in near perfect 5-10 knot westerly winds on Wednesday. After 72 short-course races, only one point separated the first four competitors.
2014 Starling Match Racing Nationals
Thursday was set to be a showdown between the Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Auckland and North Harbour semi-finalists. Racing started in brisk 10-15 knot winds with Gautrey showing early dominance. A halt to proceedings was necessitated after McKinlay unsuccessfully protested the Race Committee for ignoring the regattas voluntary wind limits. Once racing resumed McKinlay and Gautrey both won their semi-finals convincingly.
An eagerly anticipated final was unfortunately cancelled as the late morning winds proceeded to build and then remain consistently over the 20 knot class recommended maximum windspeed. To the dismay of Gautrey, regatta scoring protocols then dictated the winner must be the highest ranked sailor after the last full round robin of racing.
This regatta was Dylan McKinlay’s first attempt at the Starling Class Match racing title. His win follows the prestigious footsteps of fellow Tauranga sailor Peter Burling who twice won this event then famously went on to win a sailing Olympic silver medal. Yachting pundits continue to ponder why so many Bay of Plenty sailors continue to achieve results far in excess of the region’s sailors per head of population.
1 Bay of Plenty Dylan McKinlay
2 Wellington Henry Gautrey
3 Auckland Libby Porter
4 North Harbour Mike Stern
5 Waikato Thames Jason Hewitt
6 Nelson Marlborough Hamish Clark
7 Canterbury Travers Cole
8 Taranaki Lyneche Simkin
9 East Coast Sam Broome
10 Southland Dylan Edwards
11 Northland Pia Schuster
12 South Canterbury Andrew Miller
Libby Porter (Auckland) and Henry Gautrey (Wellington) battle for advantage - 2014 Starling Match Racing
Close racing between Andrew Miller (South Canterbury) and Libby Porter (Auckland) - 2014 Starling Match Racing
Twelve regional reps at the 2014 Starling Match Racing Nationals - 2014 Starling Match Racing
Mike Stern (North Harbour) leading Dylan McKinlay (Bay of Plenty) in the semi finals - 2014 Starling Match Racing