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Toyota Optimist NZ Nationals: The Doldrums beckon - Day 5

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 23 Apr 03:23 PDT 23 April 2019
As black as the inside of a cow - 2019 Toyota NZ Optimist Nationals Day 5, April 2019 - Murrays Bay SC © Richard Gladwell

No racing was possible on the penultimate day of the 2019 Toyota NZ Optimist Championships being sailed from Murrays Bay Sailing Club, on Auckland's North Shore.

The 205 sailors from eight countries left the race course area around 3.30pm having being treated to a day which turned every natural phenomena except wind.

The day began with the reports of three waterspouts being seen in the Hauraki Gulf, with others being reported in different locations in the Gulf. After being postponed ashore for three hours the sailors in four fleets - Gold Silver, Bronze and Green milled about on the water under the threat of dark skies emitting thunder and lightning over western Auckland.

Elsewhere in the City reports came through of massive rain and hail storms - which avoided the fleet of Optimist sailors from New Zealand, Britain, USA, Australia, China, Tahiti, USA, Chile and Poland.

The horizon was filled with thunderhead clouds reminiscent of The Doldrums in the Volvo Ocean Race, which may be the calling of some of the Class of 2019 sometime in the next decade.

With the racing set to be called off at 3.00pm, a whisper of a breeze from the NW crossed the course, causing those who had given away racing for the day, to head back to the start area. A start sequence was attempted in the now 7-8kt breeze, but a major windshift put an end to that notion, and all racing was called off for the day - after which the wind left as quickly as it had arrived.

Racing will start an hour earlier on Tuesday - the final day - when it is hoped to fit in four races for the Open fleet.

Australian Daniel Links (15yrs) leads the regatta with a score of seven points having won five of the seven races he has sailed in the Qualifiers and two races of the Finals.

George Lee Rush and Valentine Kayrouz both aged 14yrs are in second and third overall on 14 and 18pts respectively.

From fourth to 13th places overall, there is a logjam of competitors separated by 14pts, and clearly a lot can happen on the final day where fresh SW (offshore) breezes are expected to give a leaderboard a good shakeup.

Official website: www.murraysbay.org/events/optimist-nationals

Open fleet results click here

Green fleet results click here

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