The Wellington Spirit Yacht Racing Team laid down a challenge to other sailing teams, clubs and crews to take them on in the Wellington Spirit Invitational as part of the REAL New Zealand Festival of Sails.
Six teams came to Wellington to sail in the Wellington Spirit Invitational which involved two round robins of short course fleet races in 10 metre long MRXs on Wellington's inner harbour, followed by a silver and gold fleet series.
NZL Sailing Team - Peter Burling, Josh Junior, Balir Tuke, Sam Meech, Jason Saunders, Andy Maloney - Wellington Spirit Invitational - Chris Coad
Teams that took up the challenge were:
The New Zealand Sailing Team
The Auckland OK Dinghy Team
The Wellington OK Dinghy Team
The Christchurch 88 Team - Medium Dry
The Worser Bay Sunbursters
The Wellington Spirit Yacht Racing Team
Wellington Spirit got off to a strong start in the double round robin phase ending the 12 race series on 13 points. The New Zealand Sailing Team finished strongly in the round robin phase to end up in second place on 14 points. These two teams then stayed on shore as they waited for the two other teams to join them in the gold series.
Counting down - Wellington Spirit Invitational - Chris Coad
The four remaining crews had a sail off to find the second two teams for the gold series. The Auckland OK Dinghy team came out firing to secure the thrid spot in the gold series. The Wellington OK Dinghy Team and the Medium Dry Team were tied on points at the end of the silver series with Medium Dry winning the tie break to take out the final gold series spot.
The scene was set for the gold series! The New Zealand Sailing Team which was made up of Laser, 470 and 49er sailors, who had never sailed keelboats together before the event, proved to be very quick learners and dominated the finals taking both races comfortably. Medium Dry filled second place in both races with Wellington Spirit in third place each time.
Downwind action - Wellington Spirit Invitational - Chris Coad
And so it was that the New Zealand Sailing Team took out first place in the inaugural Wellington Spirit Invitational.
1st: The New Zealand Sailing Team
2nd: The Christchurch 88 Team - Medium Dry
3rd: The Wellington Spirit Yacht Racing Team
4th: The Auckland OK Dinghy Team
5th: The Wellington OK Dinghy Team
6th: The Worser Bay Sunbursters
For a full report and more photos visit www.rpnyc.org.nz