Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weymouth Meltdown Regatta 2014.

As the day dawned, rain poured over South Auckland, and a few hardy sailors decided to make the trek to Weymouth for the second annual Meltdown Regatta, perhaps wondering if it should be renamed the "downpour regatta" in light of the abundant liquid sunshine.

By the time the briefing was held, the rain had stopped, and the sun was just starting to break through the clouds. The wind had all but disappeared, so the decision was made to have one long race, so visitors could see a little more of the harbour, followed by a series of short sprint races.

Visitors again outnumbered the locals, and the quality of the sailors that showed, promised some good racing action. All but one of the competitors were sailing full rig Lasers.
The first race was a lap of the papakura inlet, covering both sides of the channel, followed by a windward-leeward lap, starting and finishing directly in front of the clubhouse.

At the start, the breeze had built slightly, and all the boats heading across to Shark Island, where David Barker (PLSC) just lead Andrew Irving (PLSC), who was in-turn being hotly pursued by local sailor Murray Boucher in the Jollyboat, with the rest of the fleet close behind.

Next came a long reach down the Karaka shoreline, followed by another reach across to Wattle Downs.

Positions were unchanged at this point, as the boats turned upwind for a long beat back to Shark, which meant not only battling the wind and each other, but working the incoming tide to best effect.

While most of the fleet stayed close to the eastern shore, Murray decided to head West, crossing the tidal stream first, hoping for some slack water on the western edge. This strategy looked to be working well, and he was in a very strong position approaching the end of the leg, however a slight shift in the breeze meant he could not lay through to the top mark cleanly, which cost him a lot of time, as the wind pushed him back into the tidal flow.

After another three legs the leading boats had sailed well clear of the rest of the fleet, and David finished just ahead of Andrew, with a four minute gap back to Blair. Rob Kent was the top performing local, finishing in fourth place. Murray was next, followed by Andrew Wilson, with Pete Hagglund finding some bad winds and finishing at the tail end.

The next three races were short windward-leeward sprint races, of around 15 minutes duration.

The breeze had now built up to around 15 knots, with occasional gust close to 20, which was proving to be very challenging, especially on the very short courses.

The second race was a pretty straightforward affair, with Andrew Irving leading from start to finish, however a slight error of judgement (Forgetting the course) allowed David to steal the win. Blair was third, followed by Murray, Rob, Andrew W, and Pete.

Race three proved to be anything but straightforward, as both Andrew and David overstood the first mark, and had to turn back, not an easy thing to do in the conditions. Rob took the opportunity, and snuck through the inside to take the lead, while Andrew sailed in a giant circle, and david took an involuntary dip. Which seemed to start the ball rolling, as one by one almost every boat capsized. Andrew I proved to be the exception, however, and got away from the chaos still remarkably in second place.

In full chase mode, he put the hammer down and pushed his boat to the limit, slowly gaining on Rob. At the last mark, with maybe 2 minutes of racing left, Andrew just got the inside overlap, and managed to scrape around ahead of Rob. Attacking vigorously, Rob was unable to get back in front, and Andrew got his first win of the day. David finished this one in third, followed by Murray, Andrew W, Blair, and Pete.

Going into the last race, David and Andrew I were tied on 5 points each, with Rob in third, one point ahead of Blair. Murray decided to head for the shore, as conditions were getting too much of a handful for the Jollyboat.

There were several minor collisions on the startline this time around, either from intense desire to win, or just plain old fatigue, but the race was started, and this time Andrew wasn't going to let victory escape. Blair lead for the first lap or so, but andrew eventually got by for the win. Blair sailed an awesome race, finishing just seconds behind Andrew, and almost pipping him on the line, as Andrew slightly misjudged the tide. David finished this one in third place, while Andrew W, Rob, and Pete took turns swimming, as conditions got the better of them.

Final results available on the weymouth club website in the results section.

Here's a few photo's showing how it all went down.

Nice conditions early on. 

Rob Kent. 

The Jollyboat, only non-Laser to enter.

Bottom mark, race 2. 

Pete and Andrew. 

Beating upwind. 

Pete sailing downwind. 

Andrew Wilson pushing hard. 

Third race start. 

Top Mark, third race. 

And it's chaos, as Rob sails on toward mark 2. 

Rob takes the lead. 

Andrews boat shows the strain as it crosses the finish line to win the final race, seconds ahead of Blair.

Blair crosses the line in second.

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