The 12 foot Skiff Interdominions began in Wellington today, NZ, Saturday. True to form, Worser Bay put on a show of ‘fresh to frightening conditions’. And the fleet responded with a customary display of fearlessness in the white water.
18 boats from across New Zealand and Australia kicked the competition off with the traditional Invitation Race. But a 30 knot northerly building with lumpy wind-against tide conditions saw Race Officer Brett Linton replace the scheduled harbour race with lesser known but perhaps more crowd-pleasing speed trials A single non-gybing downwind run from start line to finish line.
And today’s drag race did not disappoint. Many amongst the fleet were wishing the class had a fifth and sixth rig. But it was fourth rigs all round today for those who chose valour over discretion and hit the water.
Winners of the speed trials, local Wellingtonian husband and wife combo Melanie and Jason Parkin, described the blast as 'simply the fastest we’ve ever been in a 12'. They did well to retain the Norman G Booth ‘Rothman’ Trophy they won a year prior for the same event in Brisbane.
Second place getter was Australian top seed, Nick Press, coming in just 2 seconds behind across the ¾ nautical mile run. Press is looking to take out a record-breaking fifth consecutive Interdominion championship this year.
Experienced Kiwi campaigners, and 18 foot champion Alex ‘Ginge’ Vallings of C-Tech where tough contenders for the ‘underall champions’ however it was Ben Guymer, ‘Tank Girl’ won the day’s notorious ‘Miner’s award’ … a category he is not particularly used to success in. A ‘mine’ in skifffing requires some explanation, but becomes obvious while watching, and even more obvious when you are in the middle of one. The award goes to the person who executes the most spectacular transition from a full speed downwind plane to nose diving towards the seafloor. Generally, someone ends up on the wrong side of the forestay … a place no sensible trapezing sailor wants to spend much time.
The past few days have seen the sailors spending more time in the bar than on the water. As 50-60 knot blasts tore through Wellington this week, there were no feasible shake down sails; but true to their reputation of ‘sail hard play hard’, the rum made the time off the water bearable.
2. Nick Press
The 12 Foot skiff Interdominions have been held between New Zealand and Australian squads since 1956. The regatta runs at Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington, New Zealand from fourth – 11th January, 2014.
by Melanie Parkin
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10:16 AM Sat 4 Jan 2014GMT
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