New Zealand North Island Championships 1998
To ResultsReport by Alistair Deaves, transmitted by Rob Hengst
The second regatta in the New Zealand OK Dinghy calender took place on the waters of Lake Taupo on the first weekend in December. Lake Taupo is the largest inland water in New Zealand. A volcanic crater, it was formed by one of the loudest explosions the world has ever heard. Twenty OKs turned up for the event, shared with the Elliot 5.9 class which was holding it's Inland Championships. The two fleets got on very well except for seeming to arrive at marks at the same time. This was to affect our racing, if not their's, a little bit, as those who just squeezed around marks in clear air often left those behind wallowing in confused wind and waves.
Race one got under way in a light breeze. Russell Woods led around the first mark and was never seriously challenged for the whole race. The wind gradually swung to the left and increased slightly leaving boats who had arrived later at the bottom mark in a slightly more favourable position, while those who had rounded earlier were overhauled by the 5.9s and other OKs. Russell held onto his lead, with second place going to Nigel Mannering.
Race two was led from start to finish by Adrian Mannering, sailing his newly finished boat. It had been launched only two days earlier in Napier. Adrian took the right hand side of the course, led around the first mark and just stretched away into an unbeatable lead. The wind for this race had increased somewhat, providing some exciting downwind sailing.
While many of the competitors were feeding their faces with 'The Famous Turangi Sailing Club Pies', the guns for race three were heard firing on the committee boat. Scenes of mayhem ensued as these half eaten pies were crammed into mouths and wetsuits were squeezed over bulging stomachs. Only half the fleet made the start, while the rest took advantage of a massive wind swing to the left to join the race halfway up the first beat, leaving those that had started wondering if these boats had actually started and found a much better route up the beat. All was revealed at the last mark however as boat after boat peeled off before the finish line and sailed ashore, leaving several bemused sailors in much better positions than they had thought. This race was won by Russell Woods with Greg Wilcox again second.
The 5.9 class put on an excellent BBQ in the evening back at the Creel Lodge in Turangi. Copious quantities of beer and rum were drunk, through the night which resulted in the usual revelry and a tug-of-war between the two classes. On the face of it, it looked as if the 5.9 sailors would outclass us to the man, especially when you look at the cream of the Napier youth. There's a running joke at the club about the OK sailors getting smaller and smaller. The sailer that was 'the original Skinny' is now one of the biggest there. Anyway, to cut a long and very boring story short, the OK contingent, which was most of us, beat the 5.9 team 2 pulls to 1, even though in the last, and deciding pull, the cheating scum were using a large palm tree as their back marker.
Races four and five were held in light breezes on the Sunday morning, Greg Wilcox winning both of them. Hamish Fenwick finished second in the first race, as did Grant Pederson in the second after a close battle with Alistair Deaves. It should be noted that Grant was sailing his fathers boat in this race, especially as he didn't want anyone to know, seeing as they're virtually the same colour and everything.
Many boats went ashore after this and only nine boats (all from Napier) started the last race in a dying breeze. Adrian made the best use of a left hand swing to lead all the way round the course. Alistair made it up to second place, only to lose it on the line to Rob Hengst.
The last race made little difference to the results however. Two bad races on the Sunday pushed Russell down to fourth while Alistair Deaves and Dave Hoogenboom moved up. Overall though it was another success for Greg Wilcox and his Port Nicholson sails. In total there were five of his sails racing, four of them finishing in the top seven. His continues development is paying off as the sails seems to be fast in all conditions. The other three sails in the top seven were Deaves (Ullman), Woods (Sobstad) and Adrian Mannering (North).
Mention must also go to Bryn Thomas from Napier, competing in his first OK regatta, who amazed himself by finishing every race he started. Well done Bryn. Also to Heather Goodey, also competing in her first OK regatta, not to mention her first OK races, who not only managed to get to the first mark while the race was still going on, and who not only managed to finish a race before the next one had started, but actually did it three times.
Thanks must go to Turangi Sailing Club for hosting an excellent fun packed event and also to Port Nicholson Sails who supplied the prize. Not that any of us saw it that was. It came up in Greg's boot, stayed in Greg's boot and probably went home in Greg's boot as well. Well done Greg.