Nine Finns dusted off the cobwebs for the first regatta of the season during a traditionally windy part of spring. The weather did not disappoint with NE 15-25+knts experienced throughout the weekend allowing for some fun rides downwind on Auckland's Manukau Harbour.
The start of Race 1 showed everyone’s rust with the recall flag able to be safely tucked away. With the wind up, Ray sailing his recently arrived Devoti snuck away to a lead by the top mark closely followed by Royce using his new Technora and Dawsy. Dawsy had NZL23 rocking upwind and passed Royce on the next upwind leg and that’s the way it stayed. Downwind technique is vital in the heavier air so Ray and Alan made big gains downwind all day.
Race 3 saw the wind right up at 25 knots as the fleet hit the bottom mark for the first time, Gerrit managed to get NZL 193 to do a figure 8 half out of the water and a loud crack was heard as his wing mast broke as it hit the water.
Top marks to Stu on the rescue boat assisting Gerrit get the boat back to shore. Dawsy and Ray went at it upwind with Ray’s downwind speed getting him by. The SSSS Dirch was going fast downwind by now and recorded a couple of strong third places in Race 2 and 3. Royce managed to save a capsize but scooped half the Manukau in his boat which slowed him down.
Day 2 saw Duffy dust off his Devoti and it was great to see NZL55 up and going. Race 1 saw the series leader head to the right and the rest of the fleet to the left. The rest of the fleet was correct and Ray took the great circle route to the top mark.
Dawsy had dropped his rig back and was flying upwind followed around the top mark by the ever improving Justin, then the rest of the fleet within 20 metres of each other. Ray managed to recover some ground downwind and closed up on NZL23 only to foul Dawsy in a Port/Starboard ,despite the required penalty turn managed to edge past NZL23.
Justin continued to sail well for a well deserved third. The rust was well and truly gone as the boys started luffing and match racing with penalty turns everywhere.
The last race saw the wind ease to 10-15knts and Dawsy clearly upset with Dan Carters injury decided to hit buoys and capsize on the finish line.
A good regatta capped off with an earnest discussion on luffing rights over a rum.
Just three weeks to the North Islands at Thames 22/23rd Oct 2 days of racing in a great part of the country.
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