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Southern Spars

Successful Conclusion of Four-Year Campaign for Bay Nissan

by Antje Muller on 6 Mar 2011
Javelin Class National Champions Ben Bax and Adam Scott-Mackie (Bay Nissan - Emerald Hotel Javelin Class Nationals 2011 Antje Muller

The Gisborne Yacht Club ran a fantastic event this weekend for the OK and Javelin Classes, offering great racing and fantastic off- the-water entertainment. Class Veteran Ben Bax together with Adam Scott-Mackie claimed the National Title with their newly built Bay Nissan Javelin Skiff.

On Friday, the regatta kicked off with 18 to 25 knots of breeze coming from the Northwest off the Midway beach. With rather trying wind and sea conditions, there were some great rides but also some carnage decimating the fleet.

One of the boats has been using their centreboard to take depth soundings around the channel through the reefs, and two others decided to jointly break the jib halyards, one of which resulted in a broken mast.

Bay Nissan mastered the conditions with Ben Bax and Adam Scott-Mackie taking three firsts closely followed by David Brown. It did not even slow them down when they did a quick change of sails at the last minute and capsized near the beach, getting to the first start a little after the fleet hat taken off. The beat of a good nautical mile proved to be a good measure for who had been training their fitness. Everyone had a swim at some time or another. Riders on the Storm’s new mast-top diamond spreaders only lasted half a race, underlining that they should not be used in strong winds!

In the second race, the father and son crew of Colin and Ross Shanks were in front in the but hit the top mark, hit the mark again while doing their turn, fell over, and drifted past the mark so they had to unwind before they could continue. At the bottom mark, Trailblazer was asked where they had left the Shankses and the answer was: 'We left them turned turtle at the top mark!'

The protectors of the local reef will be onto Trailblazer for their lack of respect of the rocks. At least David Brown and David Feek paid for their transgression with a damaged tripod.

After racing, sailors enjoyed the sponsor Gisborne Gold’s products, looking forward to another two good days of racing.

On Saturday morning, the fleet enjoyed the fantastic breakfast at the Emerald Hotel who generously supplied discount rates as well as the prize giving dinner.


Ross Shanks missed his opportunity of a great start to the day, arriving to the beach late, which meant Riders on the Storm only just got to the line when the gun went – only to be squeezed out by Full Frontal and taking a penalty right at the start. At the first rounding of the bottom mark in rather fresh gusts, leading boat Bay Nissan had a bad gybe, and Full Frontal in second lost their rudder. Trailblazer completed the pile-up to three boats over, and Riders on the Storm were quick to seize their chance, going on to win the race in front of Bay Nissan.

In the course of the next race, the winds eased, but Trailblazer still managed to miss the bottom mark and hit it when they turned around. Despite this little lapse, they finished first, with Bay Nissan in second place again. Thirty Something showed great pace against the modern top boats, beating Riders on the Storm for their best placing in the series.

In the third race of the day, they were second around the top mark, but this time Riders on the Storm managed to win the race.

With a comfortable lead, Ben and Adam considered it safe to start celebrating their great performance in this event on Saturday evening. The many years of experience and training were really paying off for the Tauranga pair. The Club’s volunteers put on a very enjoyable barbeque, and the evening was rounded off by Peter Millar presenting spot prizes to everyone who could produce their personal Gisborne Gold handles when their number was drawn.

Sunday began with another great meal at the Emerald Hotel, and then the boats got rigged in liquid sunshine. Great shifts, swell and variable winds made for exciting tactics on the water. Race Officer Tim Sandall did a great job providing fair races despite the changing conditions. The fight was on between Riders on the Storm and Trailblazer for second place. The Shankses must have used their local experience to sneak past Trailblazer on the final leg of the eighth race to finish second behind Bay Nissan.

In the last race, David and David could still have beaten the Riders on the Storm over all because for a time Bay Nissan was between them. However the father and son team beat them across the finish line to take the John Long Memorial Trophy. In third place, Trailblazer was awarded the DFL Trophy for finishing all races in the series.

The fleet was off the water before the rain set in, and most boats were packed before the forecast Southerly developed. A fabulous conclusion to this well-run event was the prize giving evening with a fully catered dinner.

Many thanks to the Gisborne Yacht Club and all the volunteers that made this such a memorable weekend!

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