Kiwi Cup and New Zealand Access Class Championships racing commenced today. The regatta has attracted 23 entries from 4 nations across the three classes.
A fresh south westerly greeted the sailors for race 1, but the breeze became light and shifty as the day progressed. Race Officer Gerry Martin and his Napier Sailing Club team still managed to run 4 races for the SKUD 18s and 3 for the Liberty and Access 303 fleets.
Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel from Auckland, who have qualified New Zealand for a place in the 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition, managed to get a 6 point jump on Jovin Tan and Desiree Lim from Singapore today to lead the SKUD 18 competition. Dempsey and Apel scored three bullets, while Tan/Lim got on the wrong side of a big shift in race 3 and were squeezed out in a tight finish in the final race. Five boats crossed the line within 10 seconds of each other to cap off the fleets first day.
In the Liberty fleet, current World and European Champion Magali Moraines (FRA) is a point behind Chris Cook (AUS) after three races today. Best of the New Zealand sailors was John Toole (Auckland) with Michael Toole (Wellington) two points behind.
The Access 303 fleet is providing an excellent experience for sailors with a broad range of experience. It is an all New Zealand affair. Tess Connell & Briar Mannering had a perfect score today to give them a four point buffer over Alexander O’Connell (Wellington) with Robbie Love (Napier) another three points adrift. Connell has come to sailing recently through a Paralympics New Zealand Talent Identification Program. She has paired with Mannering from Napier Sailing Club for this event and the young team are combining well.
It is hoped that a full program of four races will be completed for all classes tomorrow ahead of the forecast for deteriorating weather on Saturday.
Event website here