Close racing and a decisive victory were the features of this year’s Knight Frank South Island Young 88 Championship raced out of the Akaroa Yacht Club. The event was sailed on 23 and 24 March 2014 on the picturesque waters or Akaroa Harbour in near perfect racing conditions.
In an 8 to 12 knot north east breeze the start of Race 1 saw defending Champion Shibbeen take advantage of the port end bias in a spectacular port tack cross of the fleet. The risky manoeuvre paid off and Humphrey Rolleston and his team, including 23 year old skipper Ryan Thompson, might have thought this was going to be their day. But it was not to be. Lyttelton entry Flying Machine (Craig Edwards) choose the left side of the course which paid off and were soon in command of the first beat. Leading at mark one Flying Machine held off to take the first gun ahead of challenges from Akaroa boat Hyper Active (Brian Bone) and Phil Folter on Full Circle (Lyttelton). In fourth place was first time entry Afterglow owned and helmed by Jonathan Gillard with Legacy II (Colin Lock) in fifth and Shibbeen sixth in race 1 with gear problems.
In race 2 Full Circle won the left hand end of the line and quickly got themselves into a defending position on the windward beat. They rounded ahead of Flying Machine and Shibbeen and defended well on the first run. The attack came again from Flying Machine on the beat but they held on to round 4 lengths ahead at the top mark. They successfully defended on the run they took the gun in race 2 with Flying Machine second and Shibbeen third.
Hyper Active led the fleet at the top mark in the third windward leeward race of the day but Flying Machine snuck past at the first gybe and went on to secure their second victory with Hyper Active and Full Circle following across the line. In race 4, Race Officer Alison Rutherford set a longer triangle course. Edwards and his team on Flying Machine fought through the fleet on the beat to a narrow margin at the first top mark. From there they extended to secure their third win for the day ahead of Full Circle and Hyper Active.
Winning Crews - Knight Frank South Island Young 88 Championship - Young 88 Media
The forecast for Day 2 promised more breeze and did not disappoint. The 15-20 knots arrived in time for the first start and provided great racing conditions and exciting sailing. Although Flying Machine held a 4 point lead, Full Circle and Hyper Active were still within range if they could find an edge in the stronger breeze. Flying Machine kept a tight cover on Full Circle on the first beat to protect their points lead. Shibbeen came through to lead at the top mark but Flying Machine gybed first to protect the inside line to the bottom mark. Rounding just ahead they defended from there for another win ahead of Full Circle second and Shibbeen third.
In race 6 Flying Machine continued their consistent form to take their fifth gun and secure the championship win with a race still to sail. Shibbeen came in second and had bounced back for a better second day. Full Circle came in third place. The final race had two windward leeward and a triangle lap which provided some good boat handling challenges for the crews in the solid breeze. Full Circle had a winch jam and had to withdraw. But Folter and his team had done enough to secure second place in the championship. Shibbeen came in second in the final race behind Flying Machine who completed the clean sweep on Day 2 to take a decisive championship victory. Overall placing were as follows;
First: Flying Machine (Craig Edwards)
Second: Full Circle (Phil Folter)
Third: Hyper Active (Brian Bone)
It has been a great season for Edwards and his Knight Frank 'Team Machine' who also won the Canterbury Keelboat Championship last weekend. Edwards was quick to acknowledge his crew in particular tactician Seamus Tredinnick and foredeck Andrew Herriott and Peter Hollow. 'These guys won us back a number of places off the wind with awesome kite work ' he said. He also acknowledged the Young 88 Class sponsors and the other competitors for making it such a great contest.
Knight Frank have sponsored the South Island Young 88 event for the past 4 years. MD Layne Harwood is keen to encourage Class keelboat racing in the South Island. 'The Young 88 provides some of the best class keelboat racing in New Zealand and it’s great to see the class continuing to race competitively in the region' he says. The South Island Young 88 Championship is held annually and is likely to be sailed next year in Lyttelton.
By Y88 Media