It was a typically glorious Hawke's Bay day on land at least, but the conditions out on the water for the first day of racing at the Noelex 25 National Championship, hosted by Napier Sailing Club and held in conjunction with the Hartley TS 16 National Championship, were anything but typical.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the class, 17 Noelex 25s waited patiently for racing to begin as the breeze waltzed around the dial and never settled. Regardless, three races were completed, but with the wind dying out in the day's final race, only seven of the fleet managed to cross the finish line in time.
Heading out in a northwesterly for a post-lunch start, Race One eventually began in a southwesterly which swung further to the south. Napier's Barry Finlayson, on Blue Print, took a convincing win over Gisborne's Peter Millar, sailing Citrine, with Paul Redman's Sheet Music, also from Napier, taking third.
By the start of the Race Two, the breeze was a southeasterly and another big eastward shift followed during the race. Lyttelton's Outnumbered, skippered by Bob Coultas, took first place, with Citrine second once again and Que Sera Sera, skippered by Lake Rotoiti's Derek Dunbar, third.
Race Three saw another big shift, this time from east to north, before the wind faded almost entirely. Que Sera Sera crossed the finish line first and the countdown started for the rest of the fleet, which was by then well spread. Napier's Bob Witham sailed Elderberry Wine into second place, ahead of Outnumbered.
Que Sera Sera sits on top of the table, where five boats are separated by only five points and a ten point gap to sixth. However, six more races over the next two days means the competition is only warming up.
Full results on www.napiersailingclub.org.nz