North Sails NZ's Andrew Wills leads the Club Marine National Keelboat Championships after the first day of racing on the Waitemata. Wills is a former World Champion in the Etchells class as well as being Marketing Manager of the local North's loft.
Auckland presented a beautiful day, a stunning sunrise, blue skies and not a breath of wind. Ten crews left the dock first thing Thursday morning to head out for Day 1 of the Club Marine NZ National Keelboats.
This was not the forecast that they, the Race Management Committee or the Race Organisers were hoping for.
After a long morning of waiting for the wind to fill in, eventually around lunch time a light 3 to 4 knot breeze arrived. The first race of the regatta and the first race with all 10 Platu 25s to line up next to each other got underway at 1255hrs with an average of 9 knots. The breeze built to around 15 knots for the rest of the afternoon.
Racing off Browns Island in the outer Waitemata Harbour, Emirates Team New Zealand's Dean Barker (ETNZ) got the jump on the fleet and took the honours of the first gun of the regatta. Race 2 was a little more closely fought, and Phil Robertson (RNZYS) crossed the line first for a well deserved win. Barker also took out race 3.
Pool B had a little more relaxed morning, waiting for the racing on shore, then transferred to the Dream Boats House Boat to await the start of their racing.
The first race for Pool B started at 1530hrs, Andrew Wills showed winning form again with three wins from three races. It was a long day for both sailors and Race Management, with all crews back on shore by 1900 hours and the standard protests to keep the Protest Panel busy.
Overall rankings after Day 1 have been processed and the pools have been re-seeded for Fridays racing. Andrew Wills is sitting in first place overall with his successful afternoon, Barker is second on 5 points and Erle Williams a little further back on 13 points.
Nine teams are very close behind with a range of 12 to 15 points. It’s intended to get the final 4 races for each pool completed on Friday with the Silver and Gold Fleet Finals starting on Saturday.