by Zoe Hawkins
Ugly Stick was one of four 12ft Skiffs to compete form the Auckland Sailing Club
Titirangi’s French Bay Yacht Club hosted 57 centreboarders at its annual regatta on Sunday 25 February, and in the process proved there is little doubt that, in a South-Westerly, the bay is one of the very best places to sail in the City of Sails.
Blue skies, flat seas and a moderate breeze greeted the fleet of Optimists, Starlings, Jollyboats, Zephyrs and Lasers, including a strong travelling contingent from Maraetai and Glendowie Boating Clubs, and four of the spectacular 12 foot skiffs from Auckland Sailing Club.
It was the club’s biggest event in several decades.
'It was great to see boats lining the beach and reclamation, and to know we can put on a terrific regatta with a high standard of race management, and an equally high standard of post race hospitality in the clubhouse,' says Commodore Matt Hall-Smith.
'Thank you to all who helped to make it happen, including sailors, parents, and volunteers.'
The club focuses on family involvement, and offers a structured coaching program and racing for youth, as well as sailing training and racing for adults. In April it will look to have six sailors competing in the Starling National Championships, an important precursor to higher level competition for youth sailors.
Idyllic French Bay, on Auckland’s Manukau Harbour
Eleven Optimist dinghies and sixteen Starlings made up the youth contingent at the French Bay Regatta.
The Optimist division for younger sailors was won by Campbell Mattson from Maraetai Boating Club, and Oliver Stuart was French Bay’s top ranked sailor, with Daniel Patton, also from Maraetai, in third.
Of the sixteen Starlings, Arkady Edmunds (GBC) took first place, Logan Andresen (GBC), second, and Tamryn Lindsay (HBC), third. Hamish Hall-Smith was FBYC’s top ranked sailor, finishing sixth. Fellow members Megan Thompson, Logan McAlister, and Anton Stuart also finished in the top ten.
'Our young sailors have put a lot of work in, and are making very encouraging progress,' says Matt Hall-Smith, winner of the Jollyboat class on his recently acquired boat, Monkeychunks. Bill Hewitt (MBC) placed second, and French Bay’s Vice Commodore, Fergus Thompson, third. World Great Grand Masters Champion Bronze Medallist, Jim Quinn, won the Laser Division, ahead of Steve Salmon, and Murray Gauld, all of French Bay. In the Zephyr class, Tim Sneddon (RNZYS) claimed top honours, with Murray Sargisson second (PTBC), and Steve Pyatt (MBC) third.
Ugly Stick was the best of the four Skiffs to compete, and the only one to complete all three races. The building breeze played havoc with those that opted to start with their biggest rig, although the big powerful boats enjoyed the flat seas and consistent South-Westerly that the beach is known for.
The prize pool, sourced by Jim Quinn from supportive and generous local businesses, included $3,000 worth of goods and services supplied by Club Physical, Titirangi Pharmacy, Titirangi Osteopathic Clinic, Toby’s Restaurant, Hair Style by Aren, Supervalue Supermarket, and Holistic Masseuse, Colleen Smith. Industry specialists Rooster Sailing and The Water Shed contributed products and vouchers, and special thanks also go to Corazon Wines.
Next weekend at French Bay Yacht Club is an Adventure Sail to Cornwallis Beach – a 13 nautical mile round trip. The club is also running a learn to sail course for adults and older children, on the weekend of 24 and 25 March. www.frenchbay.org.nz