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North Islanders dominate 2014 Zephyr Nationals

by Richard Mackay on 17 Feb 2014
Five times National Champion Tim Snedden #523 - Zephyr National Contest 2014 Daniel Mackay

Aucklander Tim Snedden sailing 523 'Quandry' took out his fifth consecutive Zephyr National title in Lyttelton over Waitangi weekend.

With a 1-2-1-1-1-2-1-1 tally from 8 races, Snedden was a clear winner over second place-getter, Greg Wright (Wellington) with a 2-1-4-3-2-6-4-2 score (low points scoring system).

The event was sailed in conditions varying from over 22 knot north-easterly breezes with a vigorous chop early on, to 8 -10 knot south-westerly and ideal sailing conditions towards the end. The event attracted 60 competitors, 36 of whom travelled from the North Island and one even from Australia, making this one of the biggest senior sailing national contests in the country.


The participation of five women competitors in the event, some of whom compete at the highest level, has greatly pleased the event organisers and reinforces the awareness that this is a class of boat entirely suited to mixed competition on even terms. At least two father-son and two father-daughter combinations participated, though the prize combination was Harold Bennett relaxing after America’s Cup exertions, with daughter Carla and son-in-law Tim Holgate. Skippers of all ages from 19 to 81 took part, creating a pleasing intermingling of all age groups.

Races 1 and 2, Waitangi Day were sailed in about 14-16 knots northeast, increasing to 16-18 later. Starting 60 boats requires a very large starting line with a great deal of discipline, resulting in a general recall for the first race, and the race officer, Phil Folter, using the Z flag (20% penalty) for all subsequent starts, which restrained all but the most exuberant.

Race 3 the following morning, again in rough water (for Zephyrs) with a 15 knot northeasterly against the outgoing tide, was another busy day. However the breeze increased to 22 knot for race 4 in the afternoon, as the anticlockwise high off the South Island east coast reinforced the sea breeze, with the result that some sailors left the field before or during the race, and some others got into significant difficulties and needed extensive help. With the breeze increasing further gusting to 25 knots, the second race of the afternoon was abandoned by Phil before further problems could ensue.


With a south west change forecast for Saturday, South Islanders were naturally concerned as they know how bad that can be, however the 4 races Saturday and one Sunday were in ideal sailing conditions with 8-10 knot southwesterly early increasing to 14-16 knots later, good seas, some variation in wind direction and intensity, the only difficulty being the cold, especially earlier on.

With this variation in conditions the contest gave an opportunity for everyone to excel at their favourite condition, but as is so often the case, the best are always the best. Unfortunately there were several injuries from skippers being 'boomed', and the usual attrition from mast, sail, boom and fitting damage.

Other major results were: Women’s Trophy: Carla Holgate (Auckland) 10th overall; Handicap : Richard Dreverman (Wellington) 20th overall; age 40-49 Glen McKenzie (Canterbury) eighth overall; 50-59 Tim Snedden; over 60 years Phil Williams (Wellington) third overall; Junior award: Jess Prokopavicius (Canterbury) 13th overall.






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