Thomas and Jason Saunders (Lautrec) lead second placegetters Andrew McKenzie (Kohimarama) and Matt Kempkers (Wakatere) on a quiet Lake Pupuke - OKI 24hrs Race 2013, Lake Pupuke
The OKI 24-hr Sailing Race 2013 was hotly contested, with the top boats just seconds apart as they crossed the finish line, bringing all the spectators to the lake edge.
'It was a tremendous finish, we've never had a finish like that,' said David Charlesworth, founder of Comworth Systems and patron of Murray’s Bay Sailing Club, who runs the event as its major fundraiser for the year.
The overall winners were Jason and Thomas Saunders, brothers from Tauranga Sailing Club, racing for Lautrec. The OKI boat, with youth sailors Andrew McKenzie (Kohimarama) and Matt Kempkers (Wakatere), came a close second overall, missing the pole position by just thirty seconds.
James Sandall Solo Winner - OKI 24hrs Race 2013, Lake Pupuke
'It was an intense race the whole time, probably the most intense race of my life. The OKI boat was never more than a hundred metres away,' says Thomas Saunders, who was racing the last lap. 'They pushed us the whole way, but we were really impressed by the youth sailors who came second.'
'It was typical lake racing at its finest,' says Andrew McKenzie, just seventeen years of age, racing the last lap for OKI.
For the first time, the OKI 24-Hr Sailing Race welcomed solo sailors to the race. James Sandall (sailing for Harken, from Wairoa Yacht Club in the Hawkes Bay) came in first in front of Susannah Pyatt sailing for Future Insurance.
'I've done offshore racing and the OKI before but never sailing 24 hours in a laser,' says Sandall. 'It's hard on the knees and a friend chucked food parcels at me through the night. I'm knackered, but would absolutely do it again.'
David Charlesworth told the crowd of young sailors: 'Ray Davies, Chris Dickson and a number of international sailors have their name on the OKI cups, it's a gateway to bigger things. Once you've done the OKI, you've got a step on the way to international sailing.'
The events are fundraisers for Murray’s Bay Sailing Club to develop youth sailing and local business Comworth, distributor for OKI fax and telecommunications products, has been sponsoring the race since 1989.
www.murraysbay.org / www.comworth.co.nz
Overall Winners Jason Saunders pulling boat - OKI 24hrs Race 2013, Lake Pupuke
Andrew McKenzie (L) and Matt Kempkers (R) youth winners - OKI 24hrs Race 2013, Lake Pupuke