by Zoe Hawkins
The Bakewell-White 52 Wired won six out of her eight races to dominate Division A in the 2009 BMW Auckland Cup
After eight races in the idyllic waters off Eastern Beach in the Hauraki Gulf, the divisional winners have been chosen to face off against each other in next week’s BMW Sailing Cup.
The first day was lost to bad weather but the second two days were described as ‘supreme’ by organisers and competitors in the BMW Auckland Regatta. Conditions on Saturday saw flat seas and breeze in the mid teens, while it was up and down for Sunday’s two windward/leeward courses and harbour race were held, with 8-9 knots and the occasional strong gust.
With her swing keel and talented crew, Rob Bassett’s Bakewell-White 52, Wired dominated the big boat fleet in Division A from start to finish. Wired won six of the eight races on line, and secured a two point advantage over the Transpac 52 V5 on PHRF handicap. Bobby’s Girl - the crew of which won last year’s BMW Sailing Cup and represented New Zealand at the World Final in Dubai - was the best of the forty footers within this division, with Bullrush and Higher Ground putting in a valiant effort but lacked the waterline length to compete with their bigger rivals.
The Mumm 36 Whatever was the overall winner of Division B after securing four line honours victories to match the Elliott 9m swing keeler’s tally of bullets. But Whatever took the handicap honours, over the big red IOR 40 Pacific Sundance and Overload.
C Division was one of the closest matched fleets, consisting of four Farr 1020 boats, a beautiful 10m design Fantail, the Davidson 34 Stratocaster and Hysteria, an Elliott 10m owned by Graeme Cummings who spent Saturday night organising dehumidifiers and heaters to dry out a badly torn spinnaker which required urgent repair before Sunday’s racing. The line honours winner in this division was Fantail, seven points clear of Stratocaster. But Azure took handicap honours, with Max Headroom second and Rainbow IV third.
In D Division the Ross 850 Cool Change (with two wins) lost line honours to the Melges 24 NZsail.com (with four wins), a boat helmed by Olympian Peter Burling and which was the subject of protest during the course of racing. The results for this division place Cool Change in the lead and NZsail.com in second on PHRF, and the SR26 Jagged Edge in third, but remain provisional while the protests are resolved.
This division includes a very broad cross-section of boats, such as the Elliott 7.9 FX, owned by one of the few female skipper/owners in the Auckland race fleet, and the 100 year old vintage classic Scout, thought to be the world’s oldest member of the 6m class and soon to contest the World Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.
The Young 88 class remains one of New Zealand’s strongest fleets. Boats are very well maintained, and a win in the BMW Auckland Regatta for this division places sailors amongst the highest class of amateur sailors. This year the division was easily out-sailed by Triple 888. Panama Jack, sailed by a young crew recently returned from a prestigious international youth match racing victory in Australia, was disqualified from the last race following a protest but maintained a second position, and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron youth team aboard Sister Moonshine achieved the final podium spot.
IRC is an international rating system designed to equalise boats of different size and speed. The difference between the forty footer Georgia One, equipped with a carbon rig and exotic sails, and the Farr 1020 Hard Labour, came down to just one point in last night’s results, with Hard Labour winning the IRC division with 11 points to Georgia One’s 12.
Taeping won every race on Saturday and came second in every race on Sunday, swapping the order of placings in the open multihull division with Olympian Dan Slater’s Line 7. 'It wasn’t our zone,' says Taeping crewmember Russell Davis of the boat that needs very light or very heavy conditions to take out Line 7. Taeping’s performance was still good enough for the 44’ cat to win on both line and handicap.
Dirty Deeds, admirably sailed by brothers Greer and Ryan Houston, secured six out of eight line honours wins in the Open 8.5 multihull division, with Jon Bilger’s PredictWind.com taking two wins and the handicap prize.
All amateur crews from amongst divisional winners are eligible to go on to next weekend’s BMW Sailing Cup, sailed for in identical MRX yachts. The winner of that regatta will go on to represent New Zealnd in the International Final of the BMW Sailing Cup in Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy from 21-26 April 2009.
The BMW Sailing Cup is modelled on the BMW Golf Cup, the world’s biggest and longest running amateur golf tournament.
'Congratulations to all winners in a fine regatta, and good luck to those going on to compete in the cup section ' says Jan Dawson of event sponsor KPMG, which has a long history of involvement with New Zealand yachting. 'The standard of this year’s fleet was very high. The format of the BMW Auckland Regatta encourages and rewards excellence in sailing and boat preparation, and we are looking forward to seeing the event prosper in future years.'
For those commuting across the Gulf from the city marinas, the BMW Auckland Regatta was an opportunity to revel in waters often left unexplored as far as racing goes, and the open water between the Eastern Suburbs of Auckland and Waiheke Island is both scenic and ideal for racing.
The BMW Auckland Regatta is organised by the Auckland Regatta Trust, a joint initiative between the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, in order to foster and promote amateur sailing in the region.
The event is sponsored by BMW, KPMG, Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council, and is further supported by North Sails, BSP Design, Mount Gay Rum, Whiting Power Systems - Yanmar Marine, OKI and Fullers. More information, including the Notice of Race, the Sailing Instructions, results and latest news, can be found at www.rnzys.org.nz or www.bbyc.org.nz.