New Zealand Turangi Championship 2004
It's not until you finally manage to get out of Auckland that the realization comes to you that New Zealand is actually a very beautiful place. Even if, after sitting on the southern motorway for two and a half hours, your odometer reads only 28 km. But, none the less, sailors were heading south from Auckland, north from Wellington and west from Napier, aimed at the most central location on the OK calendar, Turangi Sailing Club, situated on the southern shores of Lake Taupo, deep in the heart of Mordor under the shadow of Mount Doom.
Seventeen OK sailors arrived, despite the severe gales that had been sweeping the country and the snow storms that had been driving up from the south. The peeks of the nearby mountains were covered with snow and from their direction blew an unholy wind that caused some sailors to question what they were doing there.
We shared the race area with about 20 Elliot 5.9s and the windward leeward courses, with a downwind finish, that were sailed didn't cause too many problems between the fleets. Wilcox the Grey was sporting a development Kevlar sail, testing out the potential of these sails. Of the seventeen entries all but one had carbon masts.
Four races were scheduled for Saturday and two for Sunday. Race one got under way in about 20 knots, which rose to 25 - 30 for the first run; an exciting time for most competitors, many deciding to granny tack at the bottom rather that risk an early swim with the prospect of three more races.
Dan Bush led at the first top mark, using his size to just point higher than everyone else. If fact he was to repeat this in races 2 and 4, and became quite convinced that all the races should be finished at the end of the first leg. Races one and two were shared between Greg Wilcox and Karl Purdie, both from Worser Bay, who reveled in the breezy conditions. Karl was quite disappointed that his attempts to poison Greg, with rum, the previous night hadn't seemed to have worked.
During race 3 the wind eased off to a mere 10 knots, before coming back at 25 on the last run. Adrian Mannering led at the top mark but lost his way up the second beat. Grant Pedersen hunted a big shift out to the left on this leg, and found it, coming in, in second place. Mike Wilde found the conditions better too, coming in fourth.
The last race of the day, sailed in mostly 20 knots again was probably the best, ending in a dead heat between Steve MacDowell and Karl Purdie. Phil Rzespecky sailed an excellent second beat to round fourth, and then held on to the finish.
The beer tasted good that night. And then the All Blacks smashed the French. And then on Sunday we sailed two races in 8-10 knots, which leveled the playing field a bit for Aluminum Alistair. Adrian used the Kevlar sail for these races. Overall it was thought that the Kevlar sail was no faster than Dacron and would in no way cause a new arms race. However, it did look really good and caused a great deal of positive comments. A fleet of Kevlar sails would certainly draw more attention to the class. The difference in cost is negligible.
Greg won race 5 after leading all the way, and with it another Turangi Championship. Second in the race was taken by Alistair Deaves. Race 6 was led all the way by Karl Purdie, followed by Wayne Avery, also sailing a lot better in the lighter conditions. Alistair passed Wayne on the last run and almost caught Karl.
And so ended another excellent Turangi Championship, and with sore legs and sunburnt faces we started the long trek back home.
|1||Greg Wilcox||522||Worser Bay||1||2||1||3||1||4||12||8|
|2||Karl Purdy||502||Worser Bay||2||1||5||1||12||1||22||10|
|4||Steve MacDowell||519||Worser Bay||6||3||6||1||10||5||31||21|
|15||Mike Terry||466||Worser Bay||14||15||15||18||13||12||87||69|
|16||Brett Linton||373||Worser Bay||18||14||14||18||18||14||96||78|