by Edmund Tam
Some of the international competitors in a tight battle down the final reach on day one. (Chris Coad Photography) - 2012 New Zealand National Championships
The New Zealand 2012 Laser Olympic representatives, Andrew Murdoch and Sara Winther, confirmed their class by winning their respective divisions at the Laser National Championships held in Worser Bay Wellington. Both sailors continued from where they left off after successes at the recent ISAF World Championships in Perth.
After finishing third on the podium in ISAF Worlds in Perth, Murdoch won in convincing fashion winning the last four races in a row. Incidentally, this year’s win also means he has been also been unbeaten in the National championships for the last four years. The notable presence of a number of highly ranked international sailors added significantly to the competitiveness of the fleet with Jee Min Ha of Korea finishing second overall ahead of NZL sailing team member Andy Maloney in third. In fourth was Dutch sailor Rutger van Schnaardenburg and in fifth was another international competitor Kristian Ruth of Norway.
In the Laser Radial Sara Winther also extended on her top ten placing in the ISAF World Championships and her recent outstanding form on the World Cup circuit. Winther triumphed in the largest fleet in the regatta which included a competitive group of Youth sailors vying selection for the Youth World Championships. Winther’s scorecard included winning six of the ten races. Second overall in the Laser Radial after a close battle with Winther was Logan Dunning-Beck from Wakatere Boating Club and in third and first in the Youth division was Matthew Kempkers also from Wakatere.
The 4.7 class was won convincingly by Charlotte Corston who took five race wins out of the seven races completed. In second place was Emma Sullivan of Nelson and in third (and first male) was 16 year old Jacob Miller.
In the Masters full rig division, local hero Andrew Dellabarca (Worser Bay) was eager to win the event having been the runner up for the last two years. Dellabarca sailed extremely consistently to finally win the regatta - His worst counting placing was a mere third place. Second overall was the regatta organising chairman Rob Woodward who managed to transfer his abundant enthusiasm into pure boat speed to finish one point ahead of Murray Thom. Woodward also took out the Apprentice Masters division. In fourth place overall was defending champion Mark Page who did well to overcome a few career threatening recent injuries, but only after utilising more strapping tape than Richie McCaw needed to get through the world cup!
The Masters Radial fleet was won by Double world champion Scott Leith. Leith salvaged a potentially regatta ruining gear breakage within seconds of starting the first race. However, he then went on to win the next four races to establish a defendable lead going into the last day of racing. Mark Orams of Torbay Sailing Club finished in second place just three points behind overall. In third overall was Pete Thomas of Wakatere Boating Club who beat fellow Wakatere sailor Mike Keeton after a number of close duels during the week.
While the Wellington weather presented a number of challenges at both ends of the wind spectrum the race management team, headed by Brett Linton, did an outstanding job to make the most of the conditions available. In addition, the regatta was enthusiastically hosted in true Worser Bay fashion with a number of volunteers generously lending their support. If the amount of coffee sold was a gauge of competitor and spectator satisfaction then the event was clearly a huge success!
Finally, the organising committee wishes to sincerely thank the numerous volunteers that each made a significant contribution to the success of the regatta.
A full summary of the overall results can be obtained through the following link:
To check out some of the action out on the water captured by the official regatta photographer – Chris Coad go to the following website:
The organising committee would like to acknowledge the generous support of our sponsors in:
Find Recruitment; Opus International Limited; Ricoh; Catalyst IT Limited; Wellington City Council; John Deere; and Agriturf Limited.