2014 New Zealand Paper Tiger National Champ- Shaw and Orams in battle
by Mark Orams on 21 Jan 2014
Orams on his way to a race win - 2014 Paper Tiger National Championships . ..
>br>The 46th edition of the Paper Tiger NZ Nationals was hosted by the Naval Point Club on Lyttleton Harbour over New Year.
42 entrants competed in a variety of conditions, including an attempt to race the final day in the famous Canterbury nor-wester, which proved a decent challenge for all who ventured onto the harbour!
The contest featured many battles throughout the fleet as national titles in age groups (juniors, veterans, masters and grand masters) as well as in ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ grades were competed for. The grading system has been long used in the Paper Tiger class to promote older boats and those less experienced or less serious about their racing to compete against sailors of similar abilities. This has proved a successful formula and adds to the camaraderie that the Paper Tiger class is well known for.
The overall contest turned out to be a two way fight between two time defending national champion and current international champion Dave Shaw (Nelson Yacht Club) and class newcomer Mark Orams (Torbay Sailing Club).
Orams dominated the first day of racing with two bullets and Shaw the second with the same results. Going into day three of the contest Shaw held a slim point’s lead, but Orams managed to take Race 5 with Shaw in second. Race 6 proved the tie breaker and with a very tricky shifty breeze rolling down the western hills onto Lyttleton Harbour a game of sailing ‘snakes and ladders’ ensued. New Plymouth junior Dylan Taylor sailed a beautiful race to take the win and wrap up his second consecutive national junior title. Orams managed a big comeback to take second on the final beat. Six time national champion Bob Preston was close behind to record third.
Despite the brave efforts of the race committee to get the final day’s racing in, the strong gusty nor-wester proved too challenging as massive puffs into the 30 knot range and huge shifts smashed out onto the course from the Lyttleton hills.
Racing was abandoned giving the overall national title to Orams with Shaw second. Napier Sailing Club has a strong Paper Tiger fleet and third overall was Hayden Percy with fourth going to Scott Pederson. Bob Preston (Nelson Yacht Club) finished an impressive fifth overall to also take out the national masters champion title.
The regatta’s most impressive performance however was from 72 year old Ian McLennan (Torbay Sailing Club) who finished sixth overall and is the deserved 2014 National Grand Master’s Champion. The women’s national title was won by Wellington’s Lynley Manning.
The Paper Tiger is a high performance, light-weight, single-handed catamaran. Designed by New Zealander Ron Given in 1968 the class has a strong following in New Zealand and Australia. The keenly fought Paper Tiger International Championship features hotly contested team’s trophy, which has been dominated by Australia over the years. However, New Zealand won the team’s trophy in 2013 and will be working hard to defend it against the Aussies next year.
For further information on the Paper Tiger see www.papertiger.org.nz