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Starling Match Racing Nationals won by wild card entrant Jack Frewin

by Brian Peet on 27 Jan 2017
Despite being reefed, Samantha Stock, North Harbour is having to hike hard in the fresh conditions - Starling Match Racing Nationals 2017 Tex Framhein
The 2017 Starling Match Racing Nationals were completed over the weekend in the most challenging of conditions.

In an event normally characterised by 12 regional representatives completing over 150 races in three days, this year just 61 races were sailed. Wild weather that left 15,000 Auckland houses without power also played havoc with the Glendowie Boating Club’s event.

By midday on all three race days, winds topped 20 knots, building during the afternoons with gusts exceeding 30 knots. Although a fleet racing event could possibly continue in these conditions, match racing requires boat handling precision simply unachievable in such extreme weather. Race Officer Richard Brown was left with no alternative but to shorten each of the three race days.

Despite the far from ideal conditions, some very memorable tactical duels entertained spectators and sailors alike. It was a great credit to all the sailors’ skill levels that no significant boat on boat collisions occurred. The judging panel of Mike Alison, Tim Short, Don le Page, Hamish Hey and Louie Mayo had their own challenges keeping track of the fast moving action but did so with even handed aplomb.

Howick Sailing Club member Jack Frewin, initially unsuccessful in the Auckland trials was given a wild card North Island entry after the Waikato entrant withdrew before racing started. By the narrowest of margins, after countback he topped the uncompleted first round with more wins than Samantha Stock, Eli Leifting and Sam Street. In normal circumstances these top four would have progressed to the semis, then finals. At that point all previous results were set aside and any of the four would have had the opportunity to win the series.

In a first for the event, on Day 3 all boats were reefed, enabling racing which would have otherwise not started. This is a useful reminder to smaller Starling sailors of the practical and positive effect of reduced sail in marginal racing conditions.

1 Jack Frewin North Island
2 Samantha Stock North Harbour
3 Eli Leifting Auckland
4 Sam Street Taranaki
5 James Sheldon Northland
6 Sean Dickey South
7 Oliver Cowley Nelson/Marlborough
8 Emily Agnew South Canterbury
9 Zoe Bennett Wellington
10 Sally Hill Canterbury
11 Nine Mannering East
12 Joel Kennedy Bay of Plenty

Rolly Tasker Sails 2019 728x90 FooterJeanneau AUS 2019 SO410 FooterBoat Books Australia FOOTER

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