Bay of Islands Sailing Week has concluded with the 70 strong fleet being forced to wait for the breeze to arrive and allow racing to get underway.
Local forecaster, and yop navigator, Mike Quilter advised of high pressure out in the Tasman with a southerly flow on the front of the high. Light winds to start with, expecting a NE sea breeze to build in the afternoon. And that’s what happened.
Chris Bartlett from Menace (B Division) said that all they could do was/is 'hurry up and wait', and that they did from 11.00am to 2.00pm. Bartlett hoped for '8 knots and Menace will be away'.
Island racing was the only division to start in the morning; the rest of the divisions had to wait for the sea breeze to build in the afternoon. Both A and B divisions were unable to begin racing until around 2pm when bay breeze finally kicked in – A division was able to get in two races, B division just the one due a General Recall. At the bottom mark B division was extremely close with the end of the race showing Menace side by side against Ice Breaker – a great finish.
Wired (A division) took a 270 degree penalty at the bottom mark in race 1, but was then back in hot pursuit. Very close racing today.
Stephen Merrington our visiting Australian Judge in charge of the Island Division set a course toward Waitangi at 11.10am to beat the lack of wind – then again for race 2 toward Russell. The sea breeze had finally kicked in for 3, Merrington saying 'Race 3 was champagne sailing'. He also complimented Bay of Islands Sailing Week saying 'the competitors and the officials all had a ball over the past three days – we Love it; the Bay Regatta has an even better feel than Airlie beach. Roll on 2015'.
Gerry Martin in charge of the start boat for the Sport Boats, C Division and the Young 88s was quite cool, calm and collected about the waiting time for our Bay Breeze. 'We actually had lots of fun playing the waiting game. What a wonderful regatta this is, I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Ray does a great job at the head of such an efficient team, yes, this three day regatta is very special'.
Mike Quilter and John Grant laid the top marks and did their jobs like a well oiled machine. Quilter was heard on the radio to say 'I am prepared to bet my life’s earnings that the sea breeze will kick in early this afternoon' – fortunately his future earnings are now safe with the prediction coming to fruition.
Luke Romeyn’s boat Sensation had the youngest yachtie aboard for this regatta – a 10 year old trimming the guy like a professional – and they won a prize. Congratulations Sensation.
Jim Farmer’s Georgia had an engine malfunction on the way back to Opua Marina. Terry Pratley’s RIB working as the 'Floater,' carrying both Ray Haslar and Andrew Riddell for the three days around the courses, towed the big boat alongside to comfortably settle her back in the slip. Quite a job – Jim Farmer was very grateful.
And tonight is Prizegiving, as usual MC’d by Peter Montgomery with prizes presented by Jeremy Lomas. All results are on the Bay of Islands Sailing Week website – there will be photos on line Saturday.
The big announcement made by Peter Montgomery and Ray Haslar is: 'The super yacht regatta of the South pacific, The Millennium Cup, will be held in conjunction with Bay of islands Sailing Week 2015. This press release was made tonight by Peter Busfield.
For series results click here
by Lesley Haslar
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11:32 AM Fri 24 Jan 2014GMT
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