Day 1 - Saturday 22 January at the 2011 New Zealand Laser Championships was a challenge for the race committee and competitors. A light and unstable wind came from South East to East wind as it flowed around Rangitoto Island towards the sailing are off Torbay on Auckland's North Shore.
The first starting sequence for the men in the Open Laser Standard was abandoned once as the breeze went left during the prestart. They got away in 5 to 7 knots but dramatic shifts continued for their first beat. Ultimately a significant left bias affected all fleets and created a reaching course, overlaying and few passing lanes.
The breeze increased to 10 knots towards the end of the race and increased again towards the start of the second. The course was adjusted to the left but after a clean start for the Laser Standard men the breeze went dramtically right and the race was abandoned at the top mark.
After the course was reset to the original heading the Open men got away cleanly again. By then the Radial fleet was edgy and had a general recall - finally starting under a black flag.
The weather gods issued the coup de grace by sending the breeze even further right as the Masters Standard then Masters Radial got into their first beat.
The day was described as 'crazy' by Jo Aleh - returning briefly to the Laser Radial from a 470 campaign and 'did your head in' according to Mark Orams 2008 Laser Radial Master world champion. Pretty representative of the stories back on the beach as the rain set.
Visiting Australian team member Ryan Paulk scored 1 and 6 to lead Wellintonian Josh Junior and Tauranga's Thomas Saunders. Setting Australia up nicely in an unofficial trans Tasman series.
Jo Aleh was consistent with 2 and 2 to lead the 51 boat combined Radial women, open and youth fleet. She is chased by Declan Burn - past Splash world champion (4,7) from Picton and Jack Collinson (10,4) from Takapuna.
Keith Inglis, Liam McDonald, Taylor Burn and Trent Rippey are tightly grouped at the front of the Laser 4.7 youth fleet.
Mark Page has laid down the gauntlet in the Standard Masters two firsts, followed by Andrew Dellabarca (3,2) and Jim Maloney (8,3).
In the Radial Masters Edmund Tam (1,1) narrowly leads Scott Leith - 2010 world champion (2,2).
Day 2 was abandoned early Sunday morning as the predicted gale force North Easterly came in. No surprise to the Australian coaches turned back by the police launch as they motored their RIB up the North Shore from Bayswater marina.
All results : http://www.nzlaser.org/content/results-2011-nz-laser-national-championships