by Tom Macky
The 2012 NZ Keel Boat Championships were run on the third & 4th March by Royal Akarana Yacht Club in the one design Farr MRX Fleet.
Anthony Leighs start - 2012 NZ National Keelboat Championships
The fleet had talent a plenty with past winners Andrew Wills, Rod Davis from Team NZ, (with Anthony Leighs from Christchurch), and Phil Douglas, (with Pete Waters), sailing. Add to this Will Tiller’s match racing crew, Benny Butcher, a rising star from the RNZYS Youth Training Scheme, 2007 World Optimist Champion Chris Steele, Alan Quere’s crew from New Caledonia and Scott Illingworth, the current MRX Owner’s Champion, and the stage was well set for a hard fought regatta.
Unfortunately the racing was compressed when a weather bomb hit NZ on Friday night and sailing had to be abandoned on Saturday when South Westerly’s gusted to 40 to 50 knots in the race area for most of the day. Fortunately Sunday brought an ideal shifty 10 to 20 knot South Easterly breeze off the land which provided challenging racing conditions with plenty of passing opportunities in the closely matched fleet.
The Race Committee did very well getting the races away efficiently in the shifty conditions - photo Brad Davies
With just six races able to be sailed and the closeness of the fleet, there was intense competition at the starts and mark rounding’s, resulting in a number of protests needing to be resolved before the final placing’s could be settled.
Results were evenly spread with four crews sharing the six guns. Will Tiller’s crew, however, sailed a stand out series, winning three race and never dropping below fourth place showing a unmatched ability to recover from a poor first lap to finish in the top three. South Island Young 88 Champion Anthony Leighs finished second quickly recovering from a slow start to the regatta. Andrew Wills crew sailed consistently but did not get the breaks this year to finish third.
Andrew Wills - 2012 NZ National Keelboat Championships
Just six points separated the next five crews led by Alan Quere’s New Caledonian team who finished fourth in their fourth appearance in this regatta.
Tight Racing - 2012 NZ National Keelboat Championships
Judging by the enthusiasm of the sailors at the BBQ prize giving after racing, the quality of the competitors and the close racing this year should lead to a revival of importance of the NZ Keel Boat championships in NZ’s national keel boat sailing calendar.
Will was delighted with his team’s performance commenting: 'This was a good regatta for the boys to get back into the swing of things and warm up for the big year ahead starting with the Congressional Cup, a grade one match race regatta at the end of March in Long Beach, California'.
Winning Crew - 2012 NZ National Keelboat Championships
Wills crew - 2012 NZ National Keelboat Championships
2012 New Zealand National Keelboat Championship Royal Akarana Yacht Club - Results as of 15:50 on March 4, 2012 Overall - Sailed: 6, Discards: 1, To count: 5, Entries: 9, Scoring system: Appendix A
|(No Name)||1992||William Tiller||FMJ Racing||1||1||3||(4)||1||3||13||9|
|Ovlov Marine / Volvo Penta||2001||Anthony Leighs||Medium Dry||(7)||2||1||2||3||5||20||13|
|Touch of Gloss / International Paints||1999||Andrew Wills||PG Racing||3||4||2||(7)||4||2||22||15|
|North Sails||1997||Alan Quere||Cercle Nautique Caledonien||5||3||7||(9)||7||1||32||23|
|Harken||1991||Chris Steele||36 Below Racing||(8)||5||8||1||5||4||31||23|
|Club Marine||1995||Pete Waters||X Racer||2||8||6||5||2||(9)||32||23|
|KPMG||1996||Scott Illingworth||OOH Racing||4||6||4||3||(8)||7||32||24|
|MGE Marine||2000||Benny Butcher||YCR||6||(7)||5||6||6||6||36||29|
|Hall Spars||1998||Edwin Delaat||EdwinSail||(9)||9||9||8||9||8||52||43|