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Mackay Boats

Waka Racing- Finishing 2012 on a high

by Waka Racing on 11 Dec 2012
Waka Racing - Monsoon Cup Waka Racing

One of New Zealand's top match racing crews, Waka Racing, reflect on their 2012 year:

It's been a pretty hectic two weeks for all of us involved with Waka Racing with it all coming to a head with us making the final of the Monsoon Cup.

Going into the final the event of the Alpari World Match Race Tour (AWMRT) we had a big chip on our shoulder with regards to us lagging in the overall standings in seventh place. We felt this did not represent our season at all well, and on top of that our regular bowman was unable to sail with us due to a broken leg. So to say we had a point to prove was a bit of an understatement.

Luckily for us for the first time this year all of our team members involved were free to be able plan a proper build up to the event. This involved everyone flying home to Auckland for a three-day training camp in the Farr MRX’s against fellow AWMRT Tour Card holders KiwiMatch. We also were lucky enough to get the services of legend Don Cowie for two of the days, which proved invaluable.
From there it was straight up to Malaysia for two half days of training on site at the event location before kicking off into the event.

The Monsoon Cup itself proved to be very different conditions wise this year with no rain prior to the event and barely any during the event. This meant current was no where near as much of a factor as usual but it also meant minimal wind as well. The organizers actually did a top job to fit the whole schedule in.

For us the story of the regatta was about routine and remembering a few little gems that Don had passed onto us. It was a rough start, only managing 2 wins from 5 races on the first day. However we kept our heads up and kept chipping away on the following days and put together a 6 match unbeaten streak to easily qualify for the next stage of the competition.

From here it was like a weight was lifted off our shoulders and the whole game changed again with the introduction of two UHF radios allowed onboard. One being a direct line to the umpire calls and the other being able to speak during the race to your own personal coach high up in the event complex looking over the race coarse. Luckily for us and unfortunately for our training partner, Laurie Jury had missed out on getting through to the next stage so we asked him if he would take on the role as super coach.

Conditions for the quarter and semi finals were very tricky and light. However during both series confidence grew with Phil going hot in the starts and along with some good comms between our tactician and super coach Laurie we were able to push through to the finals! Beating Pierre-Antoine Morvan 3-2 and then Ian Williams 2-0.

The finals turned out to be an intense affair, trading race for race with Taylor Canfield and his team. We look back on this series as one that got away from us. All through the series we felt we had the wood on him when it came to speed around the track. However two incidents cost us the result we so dearly wanted.

The first being the finish of the first race where we had a penalty on him and he tried to wash it off on the line. Looking at the footage after it would seem the umpires came up with a few interesting calls here but there was a lot going on and sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. We definitely could have done things better that would have resulted in us winning that race.

The second was the last start in the deciding race. Phil had done a great job of getting us out of tough port entry to gain control of the start. Unfortunately we then tried to bite off a bit more than we could chew and got a little greedy, trying to nail him in another dial up. The play wasn’t on and we then lost control again leaving Taylor in a strong position off the line. From there we threw everything we could at him but to the credit of his team they sailed really well keeping us at bay.

So, game over with the series going all the way to 5 races with the score line of 3-2 putting us in second place for the event. We’d like to congratulate Taylor and his team who really did a top job all week.

For us it’s the end of an interesting season that has seen all members of Waka Racing branch out into new sailing programmes whether it be in multihulls (racing the AC45, Extreme 40, and M2) or monhull in the Soto 40 class. We can now look back on it as a success with us all gaining so much experience but also by finishing second at Monsoon Cup it meant we moved up to finish third in the overall ISAF World Championship 2012. We are extremely happy about this!

All these great experiences wouldn’t have been possible this year without the help and support from a lot of people and businesses. Firstly we must thank our team sponsors who make this possible for us to chase our dreams:
- Tax Management NZ
- FedEx
- Events Clothing
- KZ Race Furlers

Also the RNZYS must be thanked for their ongoing support of pushing young sailors in the right direction.

On top of that we’d like to thank Andy Mclean, Laurie Jury, and Don Cowie for all their help and hard work with us for the Monsoon Cup. We had a blast and you were instrumental in this.
Finally thank you to the China Team for giving us an opportunity in the big time.

Special mention to Sylvain Barrielle, Thierry Barot, and Yann Dabbadie for doing so much for us.

Bring on 2013!
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