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Auckland Regatta- Champagne sailing on a sparkling Waitemata - Day 2

by Ivor Wilkins on 23 Mar 2013
- Day 2, Auckland Regatta 2013 Ivor Wilkins

Champagne sailing on a sparkling Waitemata Harbour marked the second day of the Auckland Regatta today, with a light easterly breeze continuing to test the tactical skills of the competitors.

Stand-out performances included Kia Kaha (Chris Hornell) leading on handicap from Icebreaker (Connel McLaren) and Equilibrium (Graham Matthews) in A Division.

B Division is dominated by Bullrush (Anthony Robinson) 4pts clear of sistership Surething (Andy Anderson) and Frenzy (Roger Rushton). A consistent run of wins and second place finishes for Mike Drummond's XL has the former Extreme 40 at the top of the Open Multihull division.

Two classes, the 8.5 multihulls and the Elliott 5.9s, are using the event as their nationals. In the 8.5 division, Whio (Tim McDowell) leads on handicap, although Greer Houston's Dirty Deeds is dominating the finishes on line. Dirty Deeds is second on handicap with Mama Tried (Pete Melvin) third.

Melvin is a senior designer with Emirates Team New Zealand. From the size and speed of a foiling AC72 catamaran it is a big shift in gears to move to a tiny trimaran, but Melvin is loving the local racing.

His boat is a modified John Tetzlaff design. 'I redesigned the floats and we have made some other modifications,' said Melvin, but he noted that compared with the AC72, it felt like sailing a keelboat – virtually an insult in the multihull community.

That is not robbing any of the enjoyment, however, particularly with a crew made up of his son, James, along with Matt Stevens and Brad Farrand who will be part of the New Zealand ETNZ-backed entry in the Youth America's Cup in San Francisco.

Asked if there were lots of ETNZ secrets in the new floats, Melvin laughed and acknowledged that they were very low-drag shapes.

The Elliott 5.9 series is closely contested, with Squadron Lion Foundation Youth Programme graduate Chris Maddock performing strongly today to top the leaderboard with Animal Crackers. Simon Manning's The Blurr is lying second, with Volvo Ocean Race winner, Mike Sanderson in Stratis-Icebreaker third.

The Auckland Regatta has attracted 85 entries in 11 divisions. Jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, the regatta takes place over three days, finishing on Sunday.

Out of action today was the big red trimaran Team Vodafone Sailing, which was dismasted during yesterday's racing. Owner Simon Hull was philosophical about the incident today. 'Nobody was hurt and that was the most important thing,' he said. 'We scattered like ants as the mast fell straight back into the cockpit.

'We did an immediate head count and crawled underneath the mess to make sure nobody was hurt or trapped. Then we sat like stunned mullets for a couple of seconds before clearing up the mess.'

The mast was holed near the base where a deck winch punched right through the structure as the rig crashed down. Hull said it would take about a month before the big 18m trimaran was back in action again.

'That's sailboat racing,' he shrugged. 'These things happen.'

For full results, please see the event website: www.aucklandregatta.co.nz



The Auckland Regatta is jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club. Eighty five yachts in 11 divisions are competing in the regatta, which continues tomorrow and finishes on Sunday.



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