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Bloomfield retains title in Knight Frank Y88 South Island Champs

by Craig Edwards on 9 Mar 2013
Flying the sponsors "flag" - Knight Frank Young 88 South Island Champs Craig Edwards

Defending champion Milton Bloomfield dominated at the Knight Frank Young 88 South Island Championship sailed on Lyttelton Harbour on second and third of March. Bloomfield, sailing Akaroa yacht Shibbeen (Humphrey Rolleston), won 4 of the 6 races to take the title for the third successive year.

Richard Hawkins and his crew aboard Dunedin yacht Meltdown took second place, improving on their third placing in Akaroa last year. Flying Machine (Craig Edwards) was third in the contest - the ninth South Island event for the Young 88 Class.

Calm conditions faced Race Officer Glenda Anderson on Saturday morning but a light north easterly breeze filled in and racing got underway about 11.30am. A strong outgoing tide and light airs created some challenges on the start line with recalls in every race. Shibbeen struck early with a win in race 1 followed by Meltdown and Flying Machine. The Dunedin boat came back to win the second race but both Meltdown and Flying Machine were OCS in Race 3. That gave Shibbeen the third race and a handy lead going into day 2.

A 14-18 knot South Westerly breeze on Sunday provided great conditions for 2 windward leeward races in the morning. Shibbeen continued her dominant form winning both races followed in each by Flying Machine and Meltdown. Shibbeen’s choice of a No3 headsail appeared to be a gamble with the rest of the fleet flying the bigger headsails but it paid off and they were able to maintain speed in the lulls. The breeze was beginning to fade as the final race got under way.

The longer harbour course became a test of nerves as the south west died away to nothing, a light easterly tried (but failed) to fill in and eventually the south west returned. Full Circle (Phil Folter) had a plan and headed hard left. It worked and they were the first to pick up the new breeze and secured the win in the final race.

Bloomfield was particularly proud of his team’s win given they only had a few weeks to prepare the boat and crew for the event. Richard Lascelles who had previously sailed on 2010 winning boat Medium Dry had organised the boat and helped put together the regatta winning team.

This year the event was sailed in conjunction with the Presidents Cup Canterbury Keelboat Championship. Shibbeen also collected this title and the Bully Hayes Cup for best performing Akaroa yacht. Full Circle came in second, collecting the Rick Prebble trophy for best performing Lyttelton boat with Meltdown third.

It was a busy time at Naval Point who also hosted the 420 South Island Champs, the Finn South Island Champs, the A Class Catamaran Canterbury Championship and the Naval Point Regatta for all classes at the weekend. A total of 80 yachts were involved in racing at the club organised over three separate race areas on Lyttelton Harbour. This is thought to be a biggest fleet of racing yachts on the water in recent times. Since the devastation and disruption of the earthquakes Naval Point Club has rebounded. Club membership is also growing steadily with memberships now at a record level exceeding membership pre quake.

The inaugural South Island Young 88 Championship was sailed in Lyttelton in 2005. Slipstream (Alan Reay) won the event and held onto the title for a further 3 years. Flying Machine won in 2009 before Anthony Leighs on Medium Dry took the title the following year. Incantare owned at the time by Bloomfield won the contest in 2011 and 2012. The event has been hosted alternately in Lyttelton (Naval Point Club) and Akaroa (Akaroa Yacht Club) but owners say the event could be held anywhere there is likely to be the biggest fleet. There are currently 6 Young 88s in Lyttelton and 5 in Akaroa.

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