Alex Maloney and Molly Meech - 49erFX - Day 4, Oceanbridge Sail Auckland 2013
The Royal Akarana Yacht Club was the venue for the NZ 49er/49erFX Championships sailed over the weekend of 2/3 March 2013 with the races being held mostly in Mechanics Bay.
A fun, enjoyable weekend was had with plenty of races.
Auckland is sometimes known for its 'all-seasons in one day' weather and that’s exactly what we got over the weekend. The wind boxed around the compass being generally light and shifty to keep the sailors and Race Officer on their toes.
As planned there were 12 races (two and three loops) of 12-18 minutes plus a harbour course, with a break for lunch each day – as it turned out the wind turned off on cue on Sunday making it much more pleasant sitting on shore while the breeze settled back in from a new thermally induced direction.
Short courses meant the new girls Olympic class 49erFX could hang in quite well with the guys 49er (larger sail area with same hull)– a good start and picking the first shift had Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in the 49erFX regularly mixing it up with the guys including two guns.
Saturday’s harbour race from Mechanics Bay up to the Auckland Harbour Bridge and back to the finishing buoy off Akarana YC ramp for a BBQ was a classic – after 50 minutes, just 5 seconds separated the first two boats.
The leading two boats worked up the wharf side against the tide and wind initially looking rather good, while the next three boats headed to the Bayswater side working their way up through the moored boats. More pressure and current relief had the Bayswater boats leading around the buoy ready for the blast downwind.
Ben and Sam - top mark bear away
One last obstacle was left – where to go through the Okahu Bay breakwater poles on the way to the finishing mark. Lead boat Logan chose a small gap and made it through with a small flap of the gennaker while Marcus chose the faster high route running under his florescent orange gennaker just inside the poles –a puff had him struggling to get the kite down while aiming even closer to the breakwater poles.
Sunday morning – it started to rain, not really drought relief as it was gone in about 30 minutes. The day’s first race had a perfect wind of 10-12 knots and flat water. A good start had the boats heading into the murk, wind check at top mark ... 'gust of 18 maybe 20 knots', that wasn’t in the forecast ... next call 'all boats are capsized up wind just before the top mark', wind did a 20 degree lefty and capsized most boats to windward with a self tacker.
The morning finished with 2 races in a dying Southerly and brilliant sunshine. After a slight delay over lunch a light 2-4 knot thermal northerly arrived for the first race – don’t need much wind to get these boats up and racing. The final 2 races were completed in a light gradient Westerly.
Marcus Hansen/Josh Porebski were comfortable first 49er overall and Alex Maloney/Molly Meech first 49erFX. This event being these two crews last major hit out before both head to Europe in a fortnight for the start of the European season. Ben Goodwin/Sam Bullock were second on count back from third placed Logan Beck/Jack Simpson – these crews had exactly the same race results all coming down to the last race where Ben/Sam prevailed. Erica Dawson/Ellie Copland were second 49erFX.
It is a pity NZ 49er Olympians, silver medallists Pete Burling/Blair Tuke, were unavailable as they are currently in Muscat, Oman for the first Extreme 40 catamaran World Series regatta. They will be back sailing the 49er in NZ next week.
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