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Gul 2020 LEADERBOARD

Mercury (Bay) rises at high-octane skiff racing

by Yachting NZ 28 Mar 19:03 PDT
Harry Butler and Matt Metson were third in the 12-foot skiffs. © Mercury Bay Boating Club.

Capsizes, a broken mast and even a collision that left a yacht half-sunk told a story about the recent 12-foot skiff nationals and Kingham Trophy/Sanders Cup regattas at the Mercury Bay Boating Club recently.

Steep 2m waves whipped up by steady winds proved challenging for the 30 sailors who descended on Mercury Bay for two days of racing but they were undaunted. Some had travelled from Wellington and Gisborne and were up for the challenge.

The Mercury Bay Boating Club did a fantastic job amending their plans to run the racing safely, as club members rallied around to help launch and retrieve boats and the race committee rejigged race courses to work with the wind and waves.

Getting the boats off the beach and on to the water presented enormous challenges for the teams, but the MBBC teen sailors and club volunteers all pitched in, pushing trolleys to the water and then carrying the boats into the surf. Another hurdle was finding a safe place to anchor the committee boat and set up the start line.

Once on the water and in the breeze, the crews revelled in the wild conditions. Those on board the mark boats and safety boats could hear the whoops and hollers as the helmsmen steered the skiffs down the face of the waves, while the crew hiked from the trapeze wire, dancing forward and aft to keep the boat in trim.

After running last year’s very successful Waikato champs and this year’s Double Trouble Multi-hull regatta, the Mercury Bay Boating Club were asked by the 12-foot Skiff and Javelin Classes to manage their national championship and annual Kingham Trophy/Sanders Cup events, the latter a 100-year-old competition for 14 foot skiffs.

Chris Skinner and Malcolm Paine (Manukau Yacht Club) dominated the 12-foot skiff nationals, winning all six races to finish seven points ahead of Tim Bartlett and Matt Hix (Royal Akarana Yacht Club). Harry Butler and Matt Metson (Auckland Sailing Club) were third in the nine-boat fleet.

Harry Butler and Matt Metson were third in the 12-foot skiffs. Photos: Mercury Bay Boating Club. David Brown and David Feek (Opua Cruising Club) took out the Sanders Cup on countback from Ross and Colin Shanks (Gisborne Yacht Club), with Philip McNeill and Craig Gilberd (Bay of Islands Yacht Club) only one point behind in third.

Wade McGee and Damien Dixon (Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club) took out the Kingham Trophy, finishing ahead of Brown and Feek, with Annika Greve and Tim Sherry (GYC) third.

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