OK Dinghies racing in the 2012 Hurricane Classiv, Lake Taupo
It happened late, but like Rachael Hunter's shampoo it did happen - although he had sailed a fantastic contest up till now, the last day of the OK Dinghy Nationals arrived with the possibility of Russell Wood surrendering his hard fought lead.
As the boats headed to the start line, Woods must have been a little anxious as the breeze was well down and to compound his problems his three main rivals Ben Morrison, Paul Rhodes and Matt Stechmann all started the sixth race in great shape heading to the left hand side in clear air. The fleet split into two bunches and although the right looked good, for a while those who were patient to the left were finally rewarded. Tacking over, it was clear that the left hand boats would lead in. Woods at this stage was with the leaders but made a small mistake near the top and the group pounced. Ben Morrison sailed the top half of the beat perfectly, taking the last two shifts beautifully to lead round the top by 25 seconds.
Rhodes was second round followed by Rob Hengst, Jake Weekes, Nige Mannering and Matt Stechmann. At the wing mark, Morrison was still 30 seconds clear. Stechmann took the high road and passed all but Rhodes. Wood, back in the early teens, must have rolled his eyes in disbelief as his three rivals now filled the first three places. The second work was a repeat of the first with the boats all heading left. The breeze up a little now, Woods picked up a couple but still had to watch as his rivals took the top spots. The run was a drawn out affair as the breeze once again died. Turning for home, Morrison had a good margin on Rhodes.
Stechmann had closed in on Rhodes but now had Nige Mannering for company. Woods dropped a couple down the run and turned for home 12th. At the line, Morrison took a comfortable win from Rhodes, Mannering pipped Stechmann on the line for their third photo finish of the event. All eyes now turn to Woods. As the boats all converged on the line it was clear the title would go down to the last race as Woods crossed 10th.
Woods now carried eight points, Morrison 13, Rhodes 14 and Stechmann 17. Some quick calcs revealed all could still take the title. A perfect ending to any National Title loomed.
The final race got underway in a nice eight knot southeaster. A massive dark cloud dragged the breeze right a little but most felt the breeze would swing back once this passed. Off the line, the four main players were all together off clean at the leeward end. Within minutes it was obvious the left wasn't going to pay as a group of boats that started on the boat and tacked early and tacked back on more lifting breeze out to the right made a huge jump.
Steve McDowell won the race right there. At the top, McDowell was over a minute clear as a huge gaggle of boats rounded together with Chris Fenwich, Peter Schuearl and Luke O Connell at the sharp end of the bunch. Morrison and Woods rounded together 10th and 11th Stechmann 15th and Rhodes back in 22nd. Down the reaches the front three pulled away.
Wood wasn't letting Morrison out of his sights and there cosy little twosome was soon three as Stechmann sailed into their bunch. Up the next work, Woods worked Morrison to the left. Stechmann went on the attack and worked the right to good effect. At the top, McDowell still lead from Fenwich. Schuearl and O Connell, Stechmann had jumped to fifth with Nige Mannering sixth. Woods and Morrison still together had dropped into the early teens as there trek up the left had failed miserably. down the run O Connell showed the new Woody's had pace by dispatching of both Fenwich and Schuearl. on the final turn for home McDowell only need to cruise along in front - similarly, O Connell now with a good margin to Fenwich. the points situation at the bottom made interesting viewing. Rhodes having a shocker always had a fourth up his sleeve as a drop so, could do no worse than 18 total.
Wood needing a better result than 10th, found himself 12th on the turn for home. Morrison back in 13th could also see his second turning into a fourth as Stechmann had enough boats' gap to jump him for third. with the breeze now into the low teens, Woods was never going to be denied. he turned on the power up the last work and with a favourable left shift managed to jump from 12th to sixth on the line and secure his title. Mcdowell took a comfortable win in his new Leech OK followed by O Connell in the sistership, Nige Mannering slipped in for another third only seconds before Fenwich, Schuearl, Woods and Stechmann.
So Wood had his title on 14 points, well deserved! His defining moment of the contest being his third place in the tricky race 3 in conditions not suited to the big fella. Paul Rhodes took another National's second place and defending Champ Ben Morrison showed champion qualities to fight back from a first race OCS is be a contender at the death.
A very relaxed prize giving dinner took place at Shed 2. As well as the first three awards went to Jake Weekes for the junior champ, Rhodes for the over 50s and Marty Pike took out the over 60s on countback. Rob Hengst was a very popular winner of the personality award. An OK sailor through and through, Rob has played a huge part in the Napier fleet for years and along with Chris Fenwich put on a fabulous regatta. many of the ideas for this contest will be carried forward to future events, mainly afternoon races as all enjoyed the relaxed morning atmosphere and chance to enjoy the evenings a little more without having to rise too early!
Special thanks to the Napier sailing Club, Gerry Martin and his race team for getting the racing away in some tough conditions and to all the volunteers for making the regatta a success.
Next year's event will take place in Wellington and it is hoped our Anzac friends will make the trip for an Interdomion.
2013 National Championship Napier Sailing Club 30 Dec - 4 Jan
|#||Helm Name||Sail No||Club||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||R7||Total||Tot-1|
|1||Russell Wood||NZL 526||Wakatere BC||1||1||3||1||2||9||6||23||14|
|2||Paul Rhodes||NZL 517||Worser Bay BC||2||4||2||4||4||2||15||33||18|
|3||Ben Morrison||NZL 530||Wakatere BC||26 OCS||6||1||2||3||1||8||47||21|
|4||Matt Stechmann||NZL 524||Worser Bay BC||5||2||12||5||1||4||7||36||24|
|5||Steve McDowell||NZL 545||Worser Bay BC||3||5||7||11||5||6||1||38||27|
|6||Nigel Mannering||NZL 512||Napier SC||26 OCS||3||10||3||6||3||3||54||28|
|7||Joe Porebski||NZL 523||Worser Bay BC||7||8||4||10||8||14||31 DNF||82||51|
|8||Adrian Mannering||NZL 504||Napier SC||6||15||6||6||9||18||9||69||51|
|9||Peter Scheuerl||GER 618||Norddeutscher RV||4||27 DNC||11||13||7||13||4||79||52|
|10||Luke O'Connell||NZL 546||Worser Bay BC||10||24 DNF||14||7||15||12||2||84||60|
|11||Kagen Weeks||NZL 485||Horowhenua BC||26 OCS||14||5||8||12||5||21||91||65|
|12||Rob Hengst||NZL 533||Napier SC||8||27 DNC||19||9||13||8||10||94||67|
|13||Jake Weeks||NZL 51||Horowhenua BC||26 DNF||13||8||14||11||11||11||94||68|
|14||Chris Fenwick||NZL 509||Napier SC||11||16||18||20||18||7||5||95||75|
|15||Rod Davis||NZL 511||Wakatere||15||9||9||17||16||10||20||96||76|
|16||Marty Weeks||NZL 479||Napier SC||9||10||13||15||14||31 OCS||18||110||79|
|17||Adrian Coulthard||NZL 531||Napier SC||12||7||16||16||20||16||14||101||81|
|18||Miles Addy||NZL 482||Wakatere BC||13||12||20||19||17||20||17||118||98|
|19||Brett Graham||RSA 32||Wakatere BC||29 DNC||27 DNC||15||12||10||21||19||133||104|
|20||Chris Devine||NZL 454||Napier SC||16||11||24||18||19||23||22||133||109|
|21||Martin Pike||NZL 536||Napier SC||17||18||22||23||21||26||13||140||114|
|22||Evett Nyzink||NZL 515||Napier SC||18||17||17||22||31 DNF||17||23||145||114|
|23||John Shirley||NZL 539||Napier SC||14||21||21||31 DNF||31 DNS||19||12||149||118|
|24||Julian Bishop||NZL 516||Worser Bay BC||21||20||23||25||22||24||25||160||135|
|25||Sefton Powrie||NZL 90||RNZYS||20||22||26||24||24||25||24||165||139|
|26||Mike O'Dwyer||NZL 518||Napier SC||29 DNC||27 DNC||25||31 DNS||31 DNS||15||16||174||143|
|27||John Hoogerbrug||NZL 493||Napier SC||19||19||27||21||31 DNS||31 DNS||31 DNS||179||148|
|28||Nigel Comber||NZL 510||Wakatere BC||29 DNC||27 DNC||28||26||23||22||26||181||152|
|29||Matt Perry||NZL 458||Worser Bay BC||29 DNC||27 DNC||29||27||31 DNS||27||28||198||167|
|30||Bruce Ellingham||NZL 466||Napier SC||29 DNC||27 DNC||30||31 DNS||31 DNS||28||27||203||172|