by Mark Walker
With Tropical Cyclone Luci bearing down on Banks Peninsula the Akaroa Yacht Club hosted President’s Cup Canterbury Keelboat Championship event was going to have some challenges. But Day 1 on Saturday 15 March provided ideal racing conditions as the north east breeze filled in.
Fox and Associates Canterbury Keelboat Champs – Akaroa 15 March 2014
Race 1 started in light but stable breeze and had the fleet sail three laps on a windward leeward course. Steve Page helming Davidson 10.6 Jive Talkin extended an early lead. The yellow boat from Naval Point Club, Lyttelton (NPCL) went on to secure line honours in this and all the races.
Second over the line was Akaroa Yacht Club entry Astruso, a Thompson 8.7 helmed by Ross Millar followed by Craig Edwards in his Young 88 Flying Machine (NPCL). On handicap Flying Machine secured the first win followed by another Young 88 Legacy II (Colin Lock) with Astruso third.
After the long first race the course was shortened and Race 2 got underway in ideal conditions. This time Legacy II secured the win followed by Flying Machine with Barry Dacombe on his Ross 35 Head Office in third place.
“Team Machine”: Canterbury Keelboat Championship crew of Flying Machine with the Presidents Cup; Jonathan Gillard, Sarah White, Seamus Tredinnick, Craig Edwards (helm), Michael McAlister, Andrew Herriott and Brendon Gaze.
Astruso had to retire shortly after the start with a broken main halyard. After a trip up the rig for Millar they were back in business for the next race.
Race 3 went to the Young 88s again with Flying Machine first and Legacy II second while Astruso took third.
With an ominous weather forecast for Sunday Race Office Alison Rutherford elected to sail an extra race on Saturday. The breeze built to about 15-18 knots for the final race providing great sailing conditions. Flying Machine took another win with Transition (Brian Little) in second place enjoying the stronger breeze. Astruso was third.
Wild conditions greeted crews on Sunday morning as Tropical Cyclone Luci made her presence felt. After initial delays, and little chance of suitable conditions developing, racing was abandoned for the day.
Overall results saw the regatta win to Flying Machine with Legacy II in second place and Jive Talkin third.
Edwards acknowledges the other competitors and his crew as well as the Akaroa Sailing Club, 'We love coming here to sail, it’s a great location and a great club. Don’t change anything' he said. It is the first year the event has been sponsored by survey and land development consultancy Fox and Associates. Principal David Fox says he was pleased to see such good competition at the event. 'It was disappointing to lose the second day’s sailing but we had a great day’s racing on Saturday' Fox said.
The Canterbury Yachting Association’s Keelboat Championship event was first contested in 1994. The President’s Cup was donated by Canterbury Yachting Association President Ian Franklin and was won in its first year by his yacht Southern Fun. The event is contested on alternate years in Akaroa and Lyttelton.