by Zoe Hawkins
Flash Gordon on her way to winning the 2011 Young 88 Nationals
Just two weeks before twenty-year old William Tiller departs for the World Match Race Tour in Europe, he has skippered Flash Gordon to victory in the prestigious Harken Young 88 National Championships – one of the most coveted titles in New Zealand yacht racing.
Racing aboard Richard Bouzaid’s Flash Gordon, Tiller and crew took four bullets and a further three podium finishes in the eight race series sailed this weekend in the waters off Rangitoto Island.
In second place was Raging Hormones (Jim Maloney), and in third position was Dangerzone (Grant Turnbull), who also took home the Tanaka Cup for first Owner/Driver.
Holding it together in the big cross-section of conditions was what allowed Flash Gordon and Raging Hormones, on 12.5 points and 15 points respectively, to finish with a very clear advantage over Dangerzone, on 28 points.
'The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s race officer made a very wise decision on Saturday to heed the forecast and to sail South rather than North of Rangitoto,' says Mike Leyland of the Young 88 Association. 'The breeze came up as forecast to 25-30 knots in gusts and there were many wipeouts as crews pushed boats to the limits.'
But Sunday dawned clear and the fleet sailed north of Rangitoto in Westerly breezes of 10-15 knots, allowing the final day of battles between professionals and amateurs, old and young, and long term rivals on the water, to recommence in more friendly conditions.
Performance handicap winners were Slipstream III (Nathan Williams), Abracadabra (Zane Gifford), and Legless (Grant Crawford).
Of his success in the Tanaka Cup, Grant Turnbull – who is a butcher by trade – pointed out in his prizegiving speech that many of his rivals in the regatta were past and present sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup, active in the World Match Racing circuit, and that some have World titles to their names.
The Young 88 class is the biggest One Design keelboat class in New Zealand.
Top 10 placegetters in the Harken Young 88 National Championships were:
1. William Tiller - Flash Gordon 12.5
2. Jim Maloney - Raging Hormones 15
3. Grant Turnbull - Danger Zone 28
4. Phil Robertson - Skitzo 30.5
5. Zane Gifford - Abracadabra 36
6. Pilkington/Dawson - Sister Moonshine 43
7. Nathan Williams - Slipstream III 54
8. Bill Dalbeth - Waka Huia 4 56
9. Andrew Fraser - Panama Jack 60
10. Anthony Leighs - Medium Dry 60.5
Top 10 performance handicap placegetters were:
1. Nathan Williams Slipstream III 17
2. Zane Gifford Abracadabra 21
3. Grant Crawford Legless 22
4. Bill Dalbeth Waka Huia 48
5. Grant Turnbull Danger Zone 53
6. Andrew Fraser Panama Jack 56
7. Mike Leyland War Machine 57
8. Peter Grey Split Decision 63
9. Anthony Leighs Medium Dry 69
10. Lincoln Fraser Undercover 70
About the Young 88
One of New Zealand’s biggest one design success stories, the Young 88, designed by the legendary Jim Young, is about 30 feet in length and with a fractional rig. The Young 88 is a popular multipurpose boat that offers speed and agility for racing, with space and comfort for cruising. 158 have been launched since the first mould was built by Roger Land in the 1980s. Of these, 77 are still in the Auckland area, 9 in Northland, 13 in the rest of the North Island, 19 in the South Island, and 38 have been exported. The Young 88 Owners Association owns the moulds, which are available for the production of new hulls.