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Auckland Cup- Seabreeze makes for close racing on final day

by Ivor Wilkins on 24 Mar 2013
Tight mark rounding- 2013 Auckland Cup, Day 3 © Richard Gladwell http://www.richardgladwell.com

Near perfect conditions rounded out the final day of racing in the Auckland Regatta today with the final results going to the wire in several divisions.

A 12-15-knot easterly had the yachts powered up and flying in bright autumn sunshine.

In Division A, the racing was so close that the handicap results had two boats finish tied, with Georgia One, skippered by Rhonda McCrea, beating Equilibrium, skippered by Graham Matthews, on countback. Chris Hornell's Bay of Islands entry, Kia Kaha, won the series on line.

Division B saw a mighty battle between two Elliott 12 yachts, with Sure Thing, skippered by Andy Anderson, edging past overnight leader Bullrush (Anthony Robinson) to take the series handicap victory, while Bullrush won on line.

In the open multihull division, the giant of the fleet, Team Vodafone Sailing (Simon Hull) had to withdraw after being dismasted on the opening day. Attrition ran through the fleet during the regatta to the extent that the final race had only two boats left.

The Extreme 40, XL, owned by Mike Drummond, took out the series with a comfortable 7pt lead over Shane Bellingham's Charleston. XL also won the series on line.

The smaller 8.5 multihull division was sailing for its national championship. Emirates Team New Zealand designer Pete Melvin, sailing a trimaran modified with his own floats and with two of the ETNZ-supported Youth America's Cup crew on board, won the title both on line and on handicap. On handicap, Whio (Tim McDowell) was second, followed by Greer Houston's Dirty Deeds.

Also competing for a national title were the Elliott 5.9s. The series was extremely tight, with Simon Manning's The Blurr topping the leaderboard from Chris Maddock's Animal Crackers. Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike Sanderson's Stratis-Icebreaker finished third.

In Division D, Damon Jolliffe's Motorboat posted one of the most dominant performances of the regatta, with a scoreline featuring seven firsts and a second to take out the series from Perfect Alibi and Candella. Motorboat also scored the double handicap and line victory.

International interest came in the Pacific Cup series, raced in the fleet of identical Farr MRX yachts. Three teams from Australia and one from New Caledonia took part, but local skippers, Harry Dodson, Pete Waters and Matt Bouzaid took the podium places. The best international was the Royal Victoria Yacht Club entry (4th), followed by Sandringham Yacht Club (5th), Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (8th) and New Caledonia (9th).

Also sailing identical yachts were the Elliott 7 division. These are the yachts used by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme, which had a number of crews racing.

But, it was a graduate of the programme, Phil Robertson and his crew, who took out the series. Robertson is a regular competition on the world match racing series and showed his class with a scoreline of three firsts, two seconds and a third.

For the first time, the Ross 930 class competed in this regatta, with seven yachts taking part. On handicap, Andrew Pardington's The Entertainer put up a convincing display with five firsts and a second to its credit to take the series. Ian Thomsen's No Worries was nearly as consistent with four seconds and two firsts to finish second, while Arch Rival (Bryan Kelly) was third.

The Farr 1020 division was closely-fought on handicap with Flashwave (Sandy Grigg) taking the series ahead of Rawhide (Paul Watson) and Share Delight (Mike Lanigan).

In the always-fiercely-contested Young 88 division, War Machine (Paul McWilliams) took out the contest on handicap from Dangerzone (Lincoln Fraser) and Medium Dry (Phillip Rzepecky). Dangerzone missed the handicap-line double by just one point, but easily took out the line prize with a perfect score of eight wins.

The Auckland Regatta attracted 85 entries in 11 divisions. Jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, the regatta took place over three days, finishing today.

For full results, please see the event website: www.aucklandregatta.co.nz






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