Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Leander Trophy -R class Nationals- To Foil or not to Foil

by Aaron Jeffries on 19 Mar 2012
Race 3 Start Line on Day 2 Grant Nelson

The 62nd Leander R class National Championships were staged on Lyttelton Harbour in Christchurch, in early March.

This year’s event was marked by two major factors - decidedly average weather and the continuing development of the hydro foiling boats. The weather aside, the hydrofoils have seen a distinct splitting of the fleet, with 3 of this year’s fleet committing to the foils while the rest opted for more conventional methods.

All the talk for this year’s Leander centred on how the highly experienced team of Sean Milner and Dan Leech sailing in the L3 with conventional foils would fare against 2010 champion Paul Roe back with his regular crew Jess Hix sailing the hydrofoil equipped 'The Virtual'. Paul has put considerable effort into developing the hydrofoils and has achieved a remarkable level of reliability along with at times unmatched speed. The interest among of all being how the foils would perform across a range of sailing conditions in a championship format.

The fleet consisted of 15 boats, the foilers being More FM (Steve Macintosh and Tony Park),
Merde (Dave Pairman and Steve Fortune) and The Virtual (Paul Roe and Jess Hix) while the conventional fleet was made up of a good mix of quality boats with more than a few sporting new livery for the event.

Day One brought sharply into focus the other factor of this year’s event - the weather, with a powerful 40kt Southerly hitting with a vengeance early on Thursday. The morning was filled with all the usual sail measuring and posturing, with the underlying relief amongst all the crews they didn’t have to attempt a launch into the nicely sized breakers now hitting the slip way.


660 (80 KB):


Day Two, in a complete contrast to Day One eventually saw an early afternoon North East breeze of 6-10kt set in. After all the standing around however, it was enough and the crews were all keen t to start the contest in earnest. In an effort to claw back lost time, Race Officer Ross May scheduled four back – to –back races with a wary eye on wind levels should they decide to drop out all together.

From the outset Milner and Leech stamped their dominance on the competition, once again
showing all why they have been the most prolific pairing of recent years. The 4 races were a procession of wins for L3 showing a distinct performance advantage, brought home in the final race for the day when after starting dead last, tangled with the start boat, and then proceeded to sail through the entire fleet and win.

The battle for the places behind were keenly fought - the most consistent being Kevin
Holland and Doug Gale on Massive Attack (another boat off the Leech designed L3 mold) gaining two second places in races 2 and 3. Of the foilers, the best on the day were Steve Macintosh and Tony Park in More FM, demonstrating remarkable speed up wind in pressure that negated the ability to foil to windward. Finishing distances between second and eighth were usually within 30 seconds to a minute with some fantastic racing between Chemical Weapon (James Collett and Nick James) Subwoofer (Aaron Jefferies and Matt Bancroft), More FM and L2 (Tim Allan
and Paul Patrick).

By the end of the day, the event was - unforeseen disasters aside, very much decided with Milner and Leech having a firm grasp on on the main trophy one race short of a contest.

True to form, the weather on Day Three saw the return of the Southerly with 35-40kts forecast to hit around midday. The Race Officer decided that this should give enough time to get at least one race away, so with a high degree of trepidation the crews set about rigging in an attempt to make the start line. The breeze quickly built and within 5 minutes of the start the race course was littered with upside down R class skiffs as the Southerly varying between 21 & 45 kts wrecked havoc everywhere.


Off the start line the highly experienced team of Paul and Mark Macintosh showed their class in the
borrowed Signature Homes. Giving the younger guys a in the fleet a lesson in how to sail in a breeze.
It was a sight to been seen as they set their kite at the top mark and set off on their first downwind
leg. Unfortunately the rig wasn’t as resilient, parting company with the boat half way down the run,
creating one of the lasting impressions of the competition.

The drama continued further back in the fleet as L3 broke its vang just before the start, leaving Sean
and Dan to carry out makeshift repairs in difficult conditions, however finished the race to shore up their position at the head of the leader board.

Merde showed remarkable reliability and Dave Pairman and Steve Fortune considerable gumption to complete the race on hydro foils, when most of the conventional fleet were in retreat to the safety of the slipway.

Carnage aside, the race was completed so a series was in the bag. By the end of the day the standings were:

1st L3 - Sean Milner and Dan Leech
2nd Massive Attack - Kevin Holland and Doug Gale
3rd More FM - Steve Macintosh and Tony Parks


Day Four rolled around and it was decided to get another race in as the Southerly continued to build to a challenging but sailable 20 - 26kts. The first beat was extremely close fought , with The Virtual, L3, Signature Homes and Subwoofer going around the top mark in quick succession. It was shaping up as the anticipated showdown between L3 and The Virtual, until Paul and Jess executed one of the more spectacular dismounts of the contest, nose down with both foils high and dry!

At the bottom mark L3 was still leading, but for the first time in the contest was closely followed by
Signature Homes and Subwoofer. The final beat saw L3 hold its advantage and lead to the finish, winning once again the coveted Leander trophy for 2012. Behind, the guys on Subwoofer surprised everyone, including themselves, to pip Signature Homes on the final gybe to the finish - claiming second place and propelling them into third place overall. Massive Attack did enough to secure a second place overall for the regatta and will undoubtedly be back in 2013 aiming for the top spot.

Special mention should be made of Malcom Snowdon and Ellen Palmer on Custard Square, who have probably set some sort of R-Class record for the oldest boat to lead at the top mark - their Dacron sails showing a clean set of heals to the high tech fleet in Race Three of the second day. Also deserving of mention was James Collett whose manly beard and retro 80’s headband set a new level of style for the contest.

Final Standing for the Leander trophy 2012:
1st L3 Sean Milner and Dan Leech
2nd Massive Attack Kevin Holland and Doug Gale
3rd Subwoofer Aaron Jefferies and Matt Bancroft

Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearT Clewring CruisingBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Oh, and by the way we won a million dollars
Sailing history has been made by a New Zealand crew in winning the richest prize ever offered in sailing July 11, 2016 - Sailing history has been made by the New Zealand crew of Phil Robertson, Stu Dodson, Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski in winning the richest prize ever offered in sailing - $US1million (NZD $1.37m), with their nail-biting win in the World Match Racing Championships in Sweden.
Posted on 14 Jul
Rio 2016 - Yachting New Zealand defends Olympic selection practices
Yachting New Zealand has responded to wide-spread international criticism of its selection practices Yachting New Zealand has responded to wide-spread international criticism of its selection practices and criticism by the Chairman of the NZ Sports Disputes Tribunal, Sir Bruce Robertson of the way it treated two Olympic sailors after they had qualified New Zealand for the 2016 Olympic sailing regatta at the ISAF World Sailing Championships in santander in September 2014.
Posted on 9 Jun
Gladwell's Line - Olympic Appeal over in NZ but hotting up in Oz
The 2016 New Zealand Olympic selection process came to an end on Monday night in Auckland The 2016 New Zealand Olympic selection process came to an end on Monday night in Auckland with the announcement at the end of a Mediation Hearing by the Chairman of the Sports Disputes Tribunal, Sir Bruce Robertson, that he would not overturn the two non-selection decisions by Yachting New Zealand.
Posted on 2 Jun
Rio 2016 - Murdoch confirms that he won't Appeal tight selection call
Double Olympian Andrew Murdoch has confirmed that he will not Appeal the decision of the Yachting New Zealand selectors Double Olympian Andrew Murdoch has confirmed that he will not Appeal the decision of the Yachting New Zealand selectors who gave the nod for Rio 2016 to Josh Junior, who will be on his first Olympic regatta. 'I don't think I would get a result in my favour out of the back end of it,' Murdoch told Radio Sport. ït would also hinder Josh's preparation as well.'
Posted on 12 May
Olympic board sailor lashes out as Spanish hope for Olympic windfall
2012 Olympian JP Tobin has hit out at Yachting New Zealand's selection policy for Rio 2012 Olympian JP Tobin has hit out at Yachting New Zealand's selection policy for Rio that has left the boardsailing classes vacant for August's Games, according to a story published on the stuff.co.nz website. The online news arm of Fairfax media has picked up comments from Tobin's Facebook page.
Posted on 12 May
Rio 2016 - Yachting NZ fails to nominate in three Qualified Classes
Yachting NZ have only nominated two sailors in a second tranche of 2016 Olympic selections for five qualified places. Yachting New Zealand have only nominated two sailors in a second tranche of 2016 Olympic selections for five qualified places. Two singlehanded sailors have been added to the Kiwi Olympic team in the two Mens singlehanded classes - the Finn and Laser. Appeals are being lodged today by two sailors in the Womens events.
Posted on 10 May
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - First leg lottery dictates RSX leaderboard
2016 Olympic aspirant Natalia Kosinska had another trying day at the Sailing World Cup Hyeres 2016 Olympic aspirant Natalia Kosinska (NZL) had another character-testing day at the Sailing World Cup Hyeres in the Women's RSX Windsurfer. However, she moved up the leader board to lie 28th overall in the 40 strong fleet and placed ninth in the first race of Day 2.
Posted on 29 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Strong team but is Yachting's policy too extreme?
On Monday morning the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a team of ten sailors to compete in five double-handers On Monday morning the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a team of ten sailors to compete in five events at the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta. However despite qualifying in all ten Olympic classes, will only seven be sent?
Posted on 14 Mar
NZL Sailing Team - Three World Champions named in five events for Rio
The NZ Olympic Committee have announced a team of ten sailors to contest five events The NZ Olympic Committee have announced a team of ten sailors to contest five events, this morning at Wakatere Boating Club on Auckland's North Shore. Three of the crews named have won world championships in the current Olympic cycle in their respective classes.
Posted on 13 Mar