Light and shifty conditions tested competitors’ ability to find the breeze and coax boatspeed out of every lift in pressure in the opening day of the 2012 BMW Auckland Regatta today.
'The breeze was shifting up to 70° at times from 210° to 280°,' said Megan Kensington, Principal Race Officer on the Eastern Beach course. 'The conditions were very difficult, but the fleet has been very good in trying circumstances.'
After heavy rain in the lead-up to the regatta, however, competitors reveled in the bright sunshine and tropical heat, even though the wind dropped away to drifting conditions for a period around midday.
Asked what happened to the wind, Matthew Flynn, skipper of the 10m catamaran Exodus, quipped: 'It is having the day off, just like me.'
However, as the afternoon progressed, the breeze filled in again and the fleets enjoyed glorious conditions. 'A beautiful day,' was how Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Rear Commodore Andy Anderson summed it up.
Skippering the B Division Elliott 12, Surething, Anderson was hoping for more breeze tomorrow. 'So far in these light conditions our performance has been a bit like the curate’s egg,' he said, 'some good and some bad.'
Racing was split into two fleets. Both started a harbour race at Northern Leading with four divisions finishing off Eastern Beach and the remainder finishing back at Northern Leading. Both fleets then competed in windward-leeward races in their respective areas.
The Eastern Beach fleet completed three races, while the Northern Leading fleet completed five.
The outstanding performances of the day belonged to Motorboat, skippered by Damon Joliffe in Division C, Myserious X, skippered by P. Waters in the MRX Division and Raging Hormones, skippered by Russell Hopper in the Young 88s. all of whom recorded perfect scores of five wins in five races.
In the Eastern Beach fleet, Whio, skippered by Tim McDowell, finished with a perfect three out of three.
The BMW Auckland Regatta is jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club. Eighty five yachts in 12 divisions are competing in the regatta, which continues tomorrow and finishes on Sunday.
Racing this weekend will take place off Northern Leading and Eastern Beach and will comprise a mix of windward-leeward courses and harbour courses.