Nine Elliott 5.9's contested the Onerahi Sprints, the second event in the 2012 Elliott 5.9 Traveler Series. Numbers were slightly down on expectations due to a couple of boats being late no-shows due to illness or other circumstances.
The annual Onerahi Sprint Regatta is developing a great tradition of short course racing in the tidal waters near the Onerahi Yacht Club on the Whangarei Harbour. This makes for close and challenging racing, with 12 heats or more held in a weekend. The local Onerahi club has a longstanding association with the Elliott 5.9 Class and club members have won several national titles over the years.
Since the last event two of the crew from 2012 National champion Slam Dunk, Brett Elliott and Nick Bastow have purchased a very good boat and this was their first event. Blownaway, relocated from Dunedin and now owned by veteran Tornado and Hobie 16 sailor Bill Caunce also raced its first event. Expect both boats to be regulars on the Traveler Series from now on.
The winners of the first regatta at Opua, The Blurr (Simon Manning, Andy Robertson and Hayden Whitburn - RAYC) started with two solid wins but then faded as both the tide changed and the breeze softened. Local boat Zoot Allures (Dave Cochran, Onerahi) won two of the next three races with another strong local boat Hobo (Rob Ward, Onerahi) having an all the way win in Race 4. After 5 races, Zoot Allures held the lead from The Blurr.
Also featuring was National Champion Slam Dunk and the as-yet unnamed boat of Elliott and Bastow while Blownaway and the Opua-based boats also put in some good performances.
With a threatening forecast including a severe gale warning over the next 24 hours, class PRO Paddy Simms threw in an extra two races on Saturday. The wind built again and The Blurr regained some form to win both races 6 and 7 to retake the lead after day 1.
The club laid on a great dinner for the fleet that evening and a long day was followed by the usual debrief and tall stories.
Sunday turned out breezy and wet. With wind readings around the region reflecting the high winds expected, the regatta was ended early with the Blurr taking top spot and extending its lead in the 2012 Traveler Series. Slam Dunk and Zoot Allures are running second and third.
Royal Akarana Yacht Club will host the next regatta in the series, the Auckland Champs, on September 15-16. Other events are set for Marsden Cove, Turangi (North Island Champs) and the class will sail their 2013 Nationals as part of BMW Auckland Regatta in March 2013.
Several boats have changed hands recently in Opua and Auckland and there are two more top crews reputed to be bringing boats into the Auckland area. This should see the closely fought North island circuit become even tighter.
The Elliott 5.9 Class and Association
Offering close racing and great social events built around a North Island weekend regatta circuit, the Elliott 5.9 class is the perfect 3-person syndicate boat. The class is relatively low maintenance and is sailed by a crew of 3. No rail meat - everyone has a job! There are active fleets in Opua, Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington, and New Plymouth with boats in other venues like Picton, Lyttleton and Queenstown.
The Elliott 5.9 Class Association operates a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/elliott5.9) that contains details of events, boats for sale and many photos. Boats for sale are listed as well as gear layout shots.