Light winds tear up form book in New Zealand Etchells Nationals

Jud Smith (USA), Henry Frazer (USA) and Andrew Wills (NZL) at the weather mark in the 2005 World Championships in Berkley, San Francisco.
The tricky racecourse on the inner Waitemata Harbour, showed little respect for the formbook on the opening day of the New Zealand Etchells National Championships.

Sailed in light winds, only three races were possible out of the five scheduled - and they were sailed in winds of around 5kts from the NE. The direction meant that the course was heavily influenced by the towering Rangitoto Island - whose physical presence was exaggerated the hot autumn day heating the volcanic scoria, and creating an rising 'air wall' to further test the sailors.

After three races, Feng Shui (Andrew Wills, Anatole Masfen and Matt Kelway) emerged on top of the leaderboard. Wills was 2006 World Champion in the class, and was the only one of the fancied crews to sail true to form.

Next came the series bolter, in the form of Phil Pryde, crewed by Brian Hughes and Dave Johnston - who finished the day a single point behind Andrew Wills and friends. Both leading crews were obviously keen to avoid being part of what Anatole Masfen later described as 'the Brown Sandwich' - reference to the third and fourth placed brothers, Charles and John St Clair Brown who made up the top group in the 11 boat fleet, covered by just four points.

Charles St Clair Brown, along with Peter Shaw and Dave Endean, won the third race.

Winner of the second race, John Kensington lies in fifth place overall, dropping down the points table with a 10th place in the third race.

Down the points table lie former World Champion Alistair Gair in seventh overall - his best place being a second in the opening race, and Lindsay Kennedy - a frequent competitor on the international Etchells regatta circuit - eighth place overall.

The second and final day's racing is scheduled for Sunday, expected to again be sailed in light winds.