by Don Gurteen
Down Wind Leg
Last weekend the Z Class National Regatta was contested on the Marlborough Sounds, for the first time since 2008.
For those people not familiar with the Zeddies, perhaps we should mention that the first boat was designed by a certain Mr Rob Brown for the Takapuna Boat Club in 1922. Yes that is 91 years ago and still going strong. Apart from changes in hull structure from timber planking to plywood, and swapping the original Gunter rig to Marconi.
They are still basically the same, 12' 6' long by 5' beam, hard chine shallow 'V' skiff with a massif mainsail and spinnaker that they have always been. One of the reasons for their longevity must be how fast they are, we are assured by the aficionados that they have been clocked at over 20 knots!!
Hosted by the Waikawa Boating Club, there were three days of racing and 11 boats competing for the championship . The first day Thursday 21st Feb was scheduled for 2 races, an invitation race, and a single handed skippers only race known as the Monotype. The weather was perfect, bright sun and around about 10 to 12knots of breeze.
Day 2 the weather was not so accommodating, overcast skies and blustery conditions. The morning start was cancelled, after several capsizes on the way to the start. Racing was rescheduled to the afternoon when things had improved considerably.
Saturday the final day of racing was back to sparkling water and a good steady breeze. At the Finnish of the day it was back to the club house. The bar was open and the bar- bee-que going. At prize giving, there were a lot of cups given out, each one accompanied by a bottle of rum. The Championship winner took home a huge great Flat screen TV sponsored by Panasonic. The whole event was great fun, everyone enjoyed themselves, even to the extent that some skippers and crew looked a little the worse for wear in the morning, However a good cooked breakfast in the club house and plenty of coffee, soon had them up and ready for racing. Lets hope it wont be to long before they bring their boats to the Sounds again.