by Nick Page
New Zealand Laser National Championships
The New Zealand Laser Championships opened the second day of racing with the same sailing condition skippers had on the first day - 180 degree wind shifts and a speed that varies from zero to 25 knots along with challenging tidal flows, continued to haunt the participating crews and even the race committee.
It was a long day on the water with the day was dominated by extremely unsettled conditions. There was nonseasonal snow on the nearby ranges and very cold squally showers from the SW, with the NE sea breeze sometimes attempting an appearance between squalls. Later in the afternoon the wind settled in the SW with a solid but cold 20 knots gusting up to 30 knots at times providing new challenges after the torture of the earlier 180 shifts and calm patches.
With the testing conditions consistency was the name of the game and several of the favourites suffered from one or more hiccups during the day. Many will be looking forward to a discard coming into play after tomorrow’s races.
In the Laser Open division Andy Maloney and Sam Meech continued to fight it out at the front of the fleet and are only really separated by Sam getting becalmed in the wrong place at the wrong time in the first race of the day leading to a 10th place. Thomas Saunders continues to be the most consistent of the chasing pack, followed by Blair McLay and Dutch visitor Nicholas Heiner, who will be closer to the leaders when he can discard an OCS from yesterdays first race.
In the Radial fleet Rachel Basevi leads after a consistent day. She is followed by a closely packed group including Andrew McKenzie, who would have led but for a DNF in race three, Susannah Pyatt who found the afternoon’s strong winds a challenge, Keith Inglis who also suffered from and OCS in race one and a consistent Cullen LeRoy. Favourite and defending champion Sara Winther had a tough day with and OCS in race one and a 19th in the fluky race two before recovering for a first and fifth in the last two races. Matt Kempkers also stood out and but for an OCS in race two would have been in the leading bunch.
In the Masters consistency was again the key. Kent Copplestone leads the Standard fleet, one point clear of defending champion Andrew Dellabarca with first time Masters competitor but former Laser champion Kris Decke tied on points with Rob Woodward five points back. In the Masters Radial an OCS to defending champion and three times World masters champion Scott Leith has left Hamish Atkinson from Christchurch leading overall from Kevin Jenkins of Onerahi. Proving that age is no barrier Great Grand Master Bob Blakey showed up many 20 or more years his junior finishing the day in third overall.
In the 4.7s Scott Inglis from Taupo leads a close fought contest from Worser Bay sailors Cain Anderson and Bryn Bennett.
With light winds forecast for tomorrow continuing challenging conditions are likely to mean consistency is again the key, with three or four races scheduled for all fleets to catch up on races lost on the first day.
http://www.nzlaser.org/2013-nz-national-laser-champs!Click_here for full results by fleet