Rob Burn reports from the final two days of the 2013 Starling Nationals being sailed at Picton:
Anzac Day, the fighting spirit continues from Trent Rippey as he opens his days score with yet another first.
The Gold and Silver Fleets set sail up Picton Harbour at midday, a late start in honour of Anzac Day. The forecast was for light but building Nor' westerlies again, nice and sunny, another great day at the office for New Zealand's Starling Sailors.
The small development fleet were joined by a P Class and a couple of Optimists adding some more numbers to the Start line in the Iner Harbour.
Race Officer Gerald and his team did their best to get the first start away on time at 1pm. Conditions were up and down between 5 – 8 knots with some bigger gusts as in the previous days.
The pressure was telling on the leading sailors, the score board highlighted the variations in placings as shown by Lola Stoodley. Lola recovered from a 24th in the day's first race to win the second. Many of the front runners didn't have the best day in the continuing light and shifty conditions.
Some comments were made about having to sail in light conditions but as Race Officer Gerald said 'I'm obliged to start a race if it gets to five knots'. There was plenty of agreement that our sailors don't sail in light and shifty conditions enough and when they get overseas, particularly in Asia, that is usually all they get.
In the Silver Fleet local sailor, Nicholas Gardiner, had an outstanding day with a first and a second, likewise Hamish Hall-Smith of French Bay Yacht Club, had a third and a first.
Another pleasant but tricky day came to an end with the usual tow in by the coaches and support boats. Everyone was finally getting the hang of following the Transit Safety plan to keep out of the way of the Commercial traffic and maintain good relationships with our Harbourmaster.
Dark came quickly, the Braziers were cranked up and plenty of good food came out for the hungary sailors and supporters. A second days helping of local mussels were an added bonus.
Talk of plenty of wind in tomorrows forecast added to the excitement of the coming finale.
A clear and sunny day greeted the sailors for the Final day. Placings were close for the top of both fleets and any mistake would be pounced on.
The Sou' westerly was ripping up the harbour and gave the sailors a quick boost to get to the sailing grounds. Some struggled with the gusts on the way out and were a little apprehensive of what might face them on the Course.
Almost on queue, the Sou' westly swung round to the Nor' westly enabling a Start to be commenced for the Gold Fleet. A huge right shift caused Race Officer Gerald to abandon the Race two thirds of the way to the Top mark on the first beat. Lola stoodley was well out in front, Trent Rippey and Taylor Burn close behind, having got on the good side of the shift. Others were not so lucky but it didn't matter.
The Race Committee struggled with the widly swinging conditions, some shifts through 90 degrees.
Patience and cool nerves paid off as the Race Officer managed to set a fair course and get the rest of the days races away for both Fleets.
The frontrunners suddenly looked shaky with some capzises, gear failure and deep finishes when caught on the wrong side of the course. Coaches were constantly re calculating their sailors positions, some smiling, others not.
In the Gold Fleet Henry Gautry of Muritai Yacht Club, had a first and third propelling him up the leaderboard towards brother George.
Parick Haybittle, Murrays Bay Sailing Club, blitzed the second race to record his second regatta win and push him a considerable way up the placings.
Naval Point Yacht Club's Taylor Balogh helped himself to a first and second in the Silver Fleet. Alec Franham of New Plymouth Yacht Club followed his fourth with a win in Race two of the day.
The Development Fleet had a great time in often gusty and very challenging conditions in the inner harbour.
The Development Fleet outside of Auckland remains a concept yet to be proven with the low numbers, ideas are courted by Class President, Richard Brown.
The sun was shining when the sailors got back to Queen Charlotte Yacht Club and started the pack up.
Local Ham and Lamb on the Spit Roast, salads and breads filled up the sailors and supporters as Protest time finished, results firmed up, made available and the Prizegiving was organised.
The Big marquee was packed and the crowd overflowed outside around the blazing fires as the spot prizes were handed out and anticipation of the Major prizes built up.
As with all Prize givings, speeches were made from the stage, numerous Thank You's given, the Winners and prizegivers humble in their acceptance and the acknowledgement of a great regatta was the general consensus. A smile was seen on the Starling Class President even.
Winning the Gold Fleet and the NZ Starling Championship was Trent Rippey, George Gautry second, Leonard Takahashi-Fry third. Lola Stoodley fourth and 'First Girl'.
The Silver was won by Ben Warren, Tauranga, Taylor Balogh, Naval Point second and Carmen Haybittle, Murrays Bay, third.
The Development Fleet was won by Logan Beckman , Murrays Bay, Finn Pritchard, Paremata, second, Perry Scott, Otago Yacht Club third, Bertie Ruscoe, Naval Point fourth.
Queen Charlotte Yacht Club acknowledges the generous support of the many sponsors, principally Port Marlborough, Interislander, Harken, North sails, Sail One, Picton Top Ten Holiday Park.
Many thanks to Principal Race Officer Gerald Martin and Assistant RO Katrin Wendt and the Race Committee, the Judges led by John Bullot and all the hard working volunteers from other clubs who willingly pitched in to help QCYC's volunteers.
It is a daunting effort for such a small club to hold major events, especially two in two months and only made possible by such committed, enthusiastic club members and volunteers.
For full results click here
by Rob Burn
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12:32 AM Sun 28 Apr 2013GMT
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