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Starling Nationals- Fresh winds test sailors on opening days

by Julia Hamilton on 12 Apr 2012
Day 2 - 2012 Starling Nationals, Murrays Bay SC Murrays Bay SC

A record number of Starling sailors are battling it out in the first two action packed days at the 40th Starling Nationals.

Fedora, Harken, the Victoria Cruising club and Mike Pero Real Estate should be be happy sponsors.

Day 1 started with a small group of club members arrived at 6 am to set things up finding weather that was calm and surprisingly warm. The opening event held on the previous evening had got most registrations out of the way and many people sported the very cool Starling Nats T shirt. The design was voted the best of a number submitted in a competition all sailors had the chance to participate in with the winner being designed by sailor Hamish Hall-Smith.

Well done that man !


The rustic MB club surroundings allowed the parents to get together over a beverage and more importantly gave many of the sailors the chance to 'bond' before battle commenced .... Though you never really know with teenagers it all seemed to be very relaxed with the words of one Wakatere sailor summing it up ... 'MB is not so bad - they've provided food for free!' so all was well.

As the sun came up in the morning and envious commuters drove past the ever growing crowd, Murrays Bay's infamous lack of onshore space was at a premium. A combination of high tides, the summers endless storms and the consequence of the councils re-profiling of the beach has meant at high tide the beach pretty much disappears. MB's volunteers had got most of the ribs offshore and sailors were able to finalise their preparations and psyche themselves up for the day ahead. Which is more than could be said for those who neglected to secure the bung in a particular patrol boat ... (what happens off shore stay off shore)


Although they were half a world apart, one of Murray's Bay's favorite sons, Dean Barker was putting Emirates team NZ's AC45 through her paces in Naple, Italy in the first round of the America's Cup World Series, in conditions that were remarkably similar to that which faced the Starling fleet at his home club.

With gusts of 25 knots, Day 2, proved to be a test for the Starling sailors. Accompanying the wind were many breakages, with rudders, rigs falling down and booms breaking under strain.

Despite the windy conditions, the girls were footing it with the boys, with an incredibly closely fought finish between Elise Beavis and Erica Dawson for first, with Elise coming out the victor. Other bullets of the day went to Matthew Hughes of Murrays Bay, William Linkhorn of Kohimarama, Jack Simpson of Wakatere, Oscar Rorvik of Tauranga, and Charles Corston of Charteris Bay.

Today the development fleet sailed towards Torbay and did some racing. The fleet enjoyed their time out on the water in the trying conditions, and learned heaps from the coaches which is fantastic. Kim Admore, Race Officer, did some starting practice with the fleet to strengthen this important aspect of the race. It was great to see them out there today, and through their training in these conditions they will have gained a huge amount of experience.


The conditions were shifty and squally, with the sou’wester blowing through to test even the best of sailors, with those at the front of the fleet going for accidental swims. Despite the conditions, all the sailors did a great job to be out there today. And if they enjoyed it, even better. We had a couple of gutsy sailors who were out the back, but stoically finished the race, despite being out of time. Their efforts are certainly commendable.

At the end of Day 2, first season Starling sailor Matt Hughes (MBSC), leads closely followed by Kohi's William Linkhorn and Oscar Rorvik of Tauranga in close pursuit while Erica Dawson is just 1 point behind as first girl. It is an incredibly strong fleet and one can only hope YNZ are paying attention as these kids are the future.

The fleets are now split into gold and silver, with sailors now locked into their respective fleets.

In the very first running of a Nationals Development fleet Elly Warren of Tauranga leads followed by Julia Ebert of Hamilton and Penelope Wilson from Marsden. It has to be said that it looks like the strong female showing of recent years is likely to continue which can only be a good thing !

Day 3 will focus minds further and also give sailors the chance to buy tickets in the raffle to win a brand new North's sail along with other prizes. Like the rest of this regatta the proceeds largely going to support
the Starling class association and provide a funding basis for the first time.

Please check out the MB website and Facebook page for more details, results and photos - and if you have a chance come down and see for yourself some of the world's best sailors in what is one of the world's best sailing dinghy's.

The outlook for the next two days is very promising - fresh winds from a southerly direction




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