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Fresh breezes make for spectacular CBRE City of Sails Auckland Regatta

by Andrew Delves RNZYS 31 Mar 21:58 PDT 1 April 2021
CBRE City of Sails Auckland Regatta - March 2021 © Andrew Delves

The renamed and revamped CBRE City of Sails Auckland Regatta took place from 26th - 28th March, and with a consistent 15-20+ knots of breeze on the harbour throughout, the racing was fast, furious and spectacular.

Starting one day earlier than the rest was the stacked 40R division made up of a ten strong fleet including all four Melges 40's. With three days of windward/leeward racing consisting of four races per day, it was going to be a true test of the crews to see who would come out on top, especially with the full-on conditions on offer. Friday's racing, much like the entire weekend, was sublime, with great upwind battles followed by extremely quick downwind sends as these racers were in full flight with their kites up. Watching these boats in their element was fantastic, and you could tell the sailors on board were having a ball. To be expected when putting these boats to the test, there were a few breakages and DNF's, but this only evened out the fleet and further proved every single race would count for something.

Saturday arrived and so did the other divisions, including a nine boat Sports Boat Division, a combined C / Young 88 Division, as well as a passage racing division for those who weren't interested in the rigors of windward/leeward racing. All W/L racing was completed on a course in the Northern Leading area, with the bigger boats sailing a longer version of the same course. Again, the boats came into their own, with the sports boats especially hitting some high speeds downwind, and with a choppy sea state ensuring all sailors were getting completely soaked - but loving it.

The final day on Sunday began slightly lighter, but the breeze soon turned back up again - if only we had this breeze during the America's Cup! All divisions were incredibly tight right throughout the standings, meaning there was no room for error for any of the crews.

After twelve races in the 40R division it was the team on Anarchy who superbly came out on top on PHRF and EHC handicap. Anarchy, helmed by AJ Reid, sailed a brilliant regatta, sticking right with the Melges 40's throughout and often choosing different lines up and down the track than the majority of the fleet, and that was enough to get them a very deserved, but close, victory. The Melges then fell into line behind the winners, with Sikon (John Cobb) 2nd, Menace (Howard Spencer) 3rd, Clockwork (Steve Mair) 4th and Checkmate (Aaron Young) 5th (all on PHRF and EHC).

The also highly competitive Sports Boat fleet enjoyed eight races across the weekend, with multiple boats notching up wins at some stage. However, it was the Hirst's who claimed first and second overall, with Anne Hirst on board Team Sex taking the win over Chris Hirst on board Enigma in second. Third place went to Mike Hindrup on W8-Up, followed closely by Nick Gardiner on Honk n Jack in fourth.

The combined C / Young 88 Division enjoyed six races, including four W/L's and two harbour courses. It was a Young 88 that came out on top, with Paul McWilliam's War Machine taking out the overall handicap win, followed by Colin Booth on Perfect Alibi in 2nd and another Young 88, Inner Circle helmed by Richard Ellis taking the final podium spot.

The Passage Racing Division completed one long harbour course per day, with six boats entered into the division. Share Delight(Mike Lanigan) were the overall winners after taking out both races on handicap, with Mike Malcolm's Bird on the Wing in second and Bruce Gault's Whichway finishing in third.

Although not all went home with prizes on Sunday night, it was very clear everyone had an unforgettable weekend of sailing in the City of Sails assisted by great competitors, crews, sponsors and conditions, providing another memorable RNZYS 150th event.

Full results from the weekend click here

Images and Video on the RNZYS Facebook page click here

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