'Come to Windy Wellington' they say. 'It’s always really windy whenever I visit Wellington' they mutter.
Well – you just cant beat Wellington on a good day – and the second race weekend of the 2014 RPNYC Moore Wilson’s Winter Series proved that by turning on two extremely different sets of conditions last Saturday and Sunday!
As usual – Saturday saw the Classic yacht fleet and the 2 Handed PHRF fleets line up for their respective races… Classic Yacht Series:
The eight classics milled in little to no breeze at the start line on Saturday. After a half hour's delay to the posted start time the race got underway in a very light north westerly. The fleet was to make its way to a mark along the motorway, passing Somes and Ward Island buoys, before heading home.
Crossing the start line on various port and starboard tacks, the field soon split across the Inner Harbour, Lizzie and Loloma making nice progress along the container wharves, and Marangi finding herself over by Oriental Bay, and that determined their initial positions on the trek up to Horokiwi. Wakarere and Marangi crossed tacks as they came from shoreline and Somes respectively.
The Guarantee - 2014 RPNYC Moore Wilson Winter Series - RPNYC Events
Thelma - having led around all marks in Race 1, progressed peaceably enough up the centre of the course, with the fleet in hot pursuit. Lizzie was the revelation, splitting from Loloma to head inshore, and on tacking back found sufficient lift to challenge Thelma. Only Thelma's starboard tack saved her from yielding.
On the run up to Horokiwi, in ever more evanescent breeze, the race was shortened to that mark only. Wakarere rounded first, followed by Marangi. On split tacks, both brought out their spinnakers for the run to home – both ignoring the informal skippers agreement to the contrary. Wakarere headed for the container wharfs, while Marangi pointed at Jerningham. No advantage was obtained by either heading, both gybing to reach the finish line, and they finished in that order, taking about 4 hours for the round trip.
Thelma rounded Horokiwi about five minutes ahead of Lizzie, both breaking out their light air headsails - the Red Mist, and the Yellow Peril, respectively - and they maintained that gap on the direct run (although the word exaggerates the pace) down to the finish line, some 30 minutes behind the leaders.
Reremai and Galatea crossed the finish line an hour later, while the lack of wind defeated the rest of the fleet's opportunity to complete within the sailing instructions' allotted 2 hours after the first boat completes the course. A rule against spinnakers would have seen a closer, and possibly complete, fleet home. Two Handed PHRF Series:
The same light breezes were to plague the 2 handed fleet. This did nothing to stop Testarossa (Grant Reid), Black Diamond (Jamie McDowell) and the Shaw12 Blink (Tony Wells) ghosting around the course.
They showed the fleet a clean set of heels (and transoms!), and in many cases – lapped those struggling with the conditions.
It was Blink who crossed the line first, followed closely by both Testarossa and Black Diamond.
However, it was Chris Hargreaves in his Elliott780 Erazer who had been following the leading pack in stealth mode who was the clear victor on PHRF for the day.
With the results sheet showing almost a total reversal from week one’s race – so as usual – its anyone’s series to win…
Sunday Fully Crewed Series:
In total contrast to Saturday – Sunday dawned crisp and clear – and breezy to boot.
With forecasts ranging for 10 to 30 knots – all the talk was about just how much would arrive when it was time to race.
The fleet was herded to the north western part of the harbour, where the gusts and shifts proved harder to pick that winning lotto numbers!
In Division A, it was Wedgetail (Meric Davies) who yet again established themselves at the head of the fleet. They were followed closely by Blink (Tony Wells). After a long hiatus – competing in the 2 Handed Round North Island Race – all eyes were on the White Charger to see how the boat would fare back in ‘round the cans’ racing. An unfortunate incident at the bottom mark soon curtailed their race – and made for interesting time for other boats who wanted to round it!
Wedgetail took line honours from REVS (Mark Gordon) and Magic Trick (Mike Calkoen).
In a repeat of the 2 Handed result from the previous day – it was the freshly vinyl-wrapped The Guarantee (Geoff Herd) in stealth mode who took over handicap and PHRF honours.
Division B yet again lived up to their reputation as a hot fleet – with two general recalls before RO Ken Burt brought out the dreaded BLACK FLAG!
Familiar faces Black Diamond and Testarossa were again at the forefront of the fleet – this week joined by a Wellington Ocean Sports Centre charted MRX with the irrepressible Matty ‘Munter’ Stevens on the helm. On the last 300m of the race it was anyone’s race – and at the line – there was literally nothing separating MRX Red and Testarossa – a dead head!
General Handicap winners on the day yet again proved to be the Elliott 6’s from the RPNYC Youth Scheme, with Adam Middleton (E6 1) taking the win with George Gautrey (E6 3) taking third. The Youth Scheme teams were split by their coach and mentor Matt Stevens and the crew on MRX Red.
Testarossa claimed PHRF honours for the day from Eat My Shorts (James McCarthy) with Black Diamond taking third place.
IRC honours were again taken by Black Diamond, with Whistler III (Mike West) chasing him home for second and Gucci (with stand-in skipper Godfrey Geismar on the helm) third. .
It was then back to the RPNYC where four lucky skippers received Rum and vouchers generously provided by series sponsors – the Team at Moore Wilson’s.
The Moore Wilson’s Winter Series runs every second weekend from June – August.
Everything you need to know – including a full copy of the results can be accessed on the RPNYC website here
You can keep up to date with the 2014 Moore Wilson’s Winter Series page on Facebook – where you can share gossip, tell tall tales, and even look for crew. Anyone can join – but remember – this page does not replace the website or Club Notice Board for all the really really official stuff!