Girl Power in the Mighty P-class
by John Jennings on 16 Sep 2013
At the Americas Cup, in a throw back to the halcyon days of female sailing when Mighty Mary contested, it was Girl Power that totally dominated in the Mighty P-Class fleet at Saturdays MBSC Icebreaker staged on Lake Pupuke.
Just like the big event in San Fran the TV cameras were in residence and skippers were fronting for interviews click here
But the more things change the more they stay the same. Remember the big boats scurrying back to base back in 2003 when the breeze hit the 20s; meanwhile the kids were leaving the beach in their Optis and P’s. Well once again in San Fran we witness potentially great racing called off in what most sailors would describe as el primo breeze whilst at the Lake a breeze that was frequently well into the 20s and often at the top end of the 20s, if not a bit (lot?) more, saw the P’s (and Optis and Starlings) hit the water. A couple of those ETNZ pie warmers wouldn’t have gone amiss!
Probably not the biggest P-fleet ever to assemble at the Icebreaker but good numbers in this era as the fleet hit double figures. And it was a classy fleet with two Opti Worlds team members (Henry Haslett (P515) and Tom Fyfe (P15) plus two other sailors recently returned from Opti intercontinental; regattas (Kate Stewart (P55) and Kerensa Jennings (P330)). At the other end of the scale it was a baptism of fire for young Lloyd Perratt debuting in P555. And as an important part of this story it was great to see Penny Wilson (P987) make the trip down from Whangarei.
If the author may so an absolutely blinding start by Kerensa in R1 (and not too shabby in Races two, three and four) with time and distance that Dean or Jimmy would be mightily proud off. But without any hydraulic assistance (that she was owning up to) it was Kate that was able to apply the power to eke out a lead at the top mark and pretty much set the pattern for the day. Penny was also well in the hunt. The tough conditions saw a couple of capsizes on the upwind but as to be expected the downwinds, to and from the wing mark, and the wing mark rounding saw most of the action with swims aplenty amongst the male chasers.
Close racing ensued in all four races with positions swapping throughout, particularly in the final short tricky beat to the finish. But remarkably it was only in the final race of the day that one of the boys (Finn Drummond (P586)) managed to finish inside the top three as Girl Power saw Kate take first overall with four bullets followed by Kerensa (three, two, two, two) and then Penny (two, three, three, four).
Inevitably there were a couple of retirements as the conditions took their toll but remarkably no equipment failures and no lack of smiles. So great sailing in tough conditions was the hallmark of the day and a great follow-up to the P-Class Auckland Champs at Kohi three weeks ago. And great early build-up for the P nationals in Tauranga in the New Year.