Wellington Spirit Sailing Team have just arrived back home after a successful trip to compete across the ditch in Australia. The team, consisting of sailors all from the wider Wellington Region first competed in the Grade 3 Warren Jones Regatta sailed from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth.
This regatta was raced in Foundation 36's, so we looked to improve with each race as we learnt about the boats. We did this throughout the round robin which we finished in fourth. This put us against David Chapman AUS, in the quarter final which by this stage we were sailing well as a team and won comfortably 2-0.
Our semi final opponent was Jordan Reece AUS, and again the Spirit went on to win 2-0. This put us against the round robin winner and local guru David Gilmour in the final to contest the championship. The Spirit won the first race but Dave did a great job in race two to even the scores in the best of 5 series. Race 3 proved to be decisive, and saw the Spirit leading around the last top mark but with a penalty to clear.
Skipper Josh Junior did a fantastic top mark trap in which we sailed Dave to the course boundary and we were able to Tack to clear the penalty. It was far from race over as we just managed to roll Dave and lay the finish line without broaching. 2-1 to the Spirit and by this stage 'Spirit Fever' had gripped the local spectators thanks to fellow Wellingtonian Tim Coltman's commentary being broadcast over the speaker system.
warren jones2 - Warren Jones Regatta - Bernie Kaaks
After the third, race four was alot less stressful and the Spirit managed to sail away for the win. For Wellington Spirit this was a huge win which gives us entry to Grade 1 and Tour Qualifier, Open de Espana in April and Monsoon Cup qualifier the AUS cup back in Perth in Novemeber.
From Perth, three members of the Wellington Spirit Sailing Team went on to Sydney to contest the grade 3 Hardy Cup sailed from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in the more familiar E6 yachts. As the week progressed it was becoming apparent that the two teams to beat were again Team Gilmour and the Wellington Spirit. The Spirit beat Jay Griffen in the semi's to meet Gilmour in the finals once again.
This time however things did not go our way and Dave and his crew did a great job to win the finals series 3-1. Racing was incredibly close with lead changes and penalties flying left right and center so as a team we felt we made some big tactical gains from the experience.
From here the Spirit is in the planning stages for year ahead which will include the NZ Keelboat Nationals 3-4th March and the grade 1 Spanish Open over Easter. Join the Wellington Spirit facebook page for daily updates while we are training and competing.
A big thanks to Musto for the team kit including the lovely red hats and to our hosts, Sue and Garry Griffith in Perth and the Brown's in Sydney.