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Starling match racing regatta finishes in a last race cliffhanger

by Richard Brown on 21 Jan 2013
George Gautrey, Welington and William Linkhorn, locked together during the finals of the Starling Match Racing regatta Brian Peet

The three day Starling Match racing championship finished on Monday, January 21, 2013 at Glendowie Boating Club.

A full complement of twelve sailors from the twelve regions around New Zealand came together on Saturday for a round robin series followed by semi finals and finals. Winds were up around the maximum for the event of twenty knots and at times exceeded this limit, resulting in an hour's lost time off the water and only one round robin of sixty-six races being sailed.

William Linkhorn (Auckland) topped the table with eleven wins and no losses, leading Alice Noyer defending champion representing Northland, George Gautrey (Wellington) and Callum Radford (Nelson Marlborough). These four sailed the semi finals best of three series with William and George prevailing to battle for the top two places and Alice and Callum sailing for third and forth. Alice dispatched Callum in two straight races but the best of five finals series went all the way to the last leg of the last race.

These last five races were run in rather gusty conditions and resulted in some exciting racing. In race two William received a penalty for hitting the starting mark at the start during some tight manoeuvring. As he and George were no more than fifty metres from the finish and level pegging, the penalty still needed to be taken. William put enough distance between himself and George by luffing into a squall and was then able to do the penalty turn and win by 20 cm.

The results were tied at two wins each going into the final race of the event. Both boats were well over the line at the start with William managing to push George outside the pin end mark before leading back to cross the start line correctly. George struggled hard to throw off William's cover with a false tack which worked but William still lead round the top mark. A squall near the bottom mark saw both boats nearly capsize but William recovered well to lead for the second round despite several challenges. He maintained his slender advantage, winning the fifth race by only three boat lengths and in the process clinching the championship.

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This was the first time Glendowie Boating Club had run this event for many years and they are to be congratulated for a splendid regatta. The six Starling Class Association boats once again proved a real benefit of providing equally matched boats. An added bonus was sailors not having to tow their own boats s from around the country. This event goes from strength to strength and is becoming a popular event on the Starling calendar. Thanks to umpires Mike Alison, John Rountree, Frankie Lardies and Gareth Moore without whom there would have been no event.

Final results
1 William Linkhorn (Auckland)
2 George Gautrey (Wellington)
3 Alice Noyer (Northland)
4 Callum Radford (Nelson / Marlborough)
5 Ellie Lane (North Harbour)
6 Sam Broome (East Coast)
7 Zak Merton (Bay of Plenty)
8 Andrew Miller (South Canterbury)
9 Taylor Balogh (Canterbury)
10 Jason Hewitt (Waikato / Thames)
11 Lyneche Simkin (Western Districts)
12 Fletcher Meyer (South)

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