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Mitre10 NZ Laser Nationals: Young talent tops final leaderboard - Day 4

by Nick Page 19 Jan 21:33 PST 20 January 2020
Luke Cashmore winner NZ Laser Championship - Mitre10 Mega NZ National Laser Championships - New Plymouth - January 2020 ©

Variety was the only dish on the weather menu on the final day of the 2020 Mitre 10 Mega NZ Laser Nationals.

In four hours the 86 boat fleet sailing in three divisions, had everything from 20+ knot gusty easterlies through to an abandoned race due to a complete lack of wind, with some racing in between!

Racing was scheduled to start an hour earlier today at midday, and the fleet sailed out in a pretty strong, gusty, shifty, easterly blowing off the nearby shore with a nasty steep wind against tide chop, although the forecast would have had us believe that it should have been a light southerly.

The Standards battened down the hatches and strapped on the cunninghams and started in full pressure, which held for their first circuit. On the second beat the pressure started to easy and by the bottom of the run had disappeared almost completely. Much to the relief of the leaders PRO Jamie Sutherland made the call to finish the Standards at the bottom gate before it became a lottery.

The Open and Masters Radials following after the standards encountered the change in conditions earlier in their races, with the Masters being finished at the top of their second beat. We then waited an hour or so before a weak SW sea breeze came in. The Standards started but sailed into a massive hole, causing their race to be abandoned and with the 3pm deadline on the last day that was it for them.

The breeze did sort itself out a little and time allowed the Radials and Radial Masters to complete their 8 race series with races in a very light and tricky seas breeze to complete a really successful contest, if not one in the "normal" New Plymouth conditions.

In the Standards the stronger winds caused a bit of a shake up in the fleet and many "what might have been" comments through the fleet in the after race musings but it was Luke Cashmore (U21), who managed a solid 5th in the final race, although this ended up as his discard, who in the end came out the convincing victor after a really impressively series in the difficult conditions.

Second overall was U21 Harrison Baker, who also had a discard in his final race result but had done enough to hold off Apprentice Masters World Champ Dave Ridley, who won the final race for a well deserved podium finish. Visitors Yvan Beaufils and Jin Hwan Lee rounded out the top 5. Andrew Dellabarca was the top Master and Rohan Lord the top GM after 2nd in the breeze. John Piman, who was leading the entire fleet prior to the final race being abandoned, not only did a fantastic job as contest organiser but also cleaned up the GGM prize.

In the Radials, Courtney Reynolds-Smith (Open Women) completed a dream run by taking the title barely a year after moving into the Laser Radial after successful stints in the 420 and 470. She was the model of consistency in a strong fleet and held her nerve for the final day in spite of the range and difficulty of the conditions to top the table from multi World Masters Champion Scott Leith.

Third and top Youth was Thomas Mulcahy, who got the better of Caleb Armit for the Youth title in spite of Caleb winning the first race yesterday. Sara Winther was happy with her 4th overall after only deciding at the last minute to enter but was swearing to be back all guns firing next year to give Courtney a run for her money.

Top Youth Girl was Emily Overend from Queen Charlotte although in the end Josefine Siemann (YG) closed the gap with a bullet in the last race, although the sometimes 4.7 sailor had found the windy condition of race 7 a challenge.

In the Master Radial Phil Wild (AM) continued his impressive domination to take out race 7 and did not need to sail race 8. Neither Ed Tam (M) nor Roger Winton (AM), second and third going into the final day, had a great day but both did enough to hold onto their overall spots and to take home the cubes for their respective age groups. The honour of winning the last race went to Charlie Grey (GM) who cleaned up in the the light to end up 6th overall behind Hamilton duo Werner Hennig and Scott McDougall.

So its all over for another year and a huge thanks to NPYC for hosting us and delivering a great contest, blue skies and enough variety to keep everyone on their toes until the end. New champions have been crowned in almost every division, showing a pleasing depth to the fleet.

Many of the Masters are heading for the World in Geelong in March so this will have provided them with a good warm up. So congratulations to Luke, Courtney and Phil for their fleet victories and to thanks to everyone involved in organising, running and competing and of course to our main sponsor Mitre 10 Mega.

For full results click here

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