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Interdominion and New Zealand Championship 2009

Worser Bay Boating Club, Wellington, New Zealand

Report by Matt Stechmann

Pictures of the event at

The 2009 New Zealand Nationals and Interdominion Champs will be remembered for two reasons: the epic first day and Mark Perrow’s charge to the title over the back half of the regatta.

Seven races were scheduled this year, a format preferred by NZ and by many other OK sailors around the world.

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny and for once the weather man was on the money; the northerly had settled in the previous evening and was already puffing over 20 knots at 8.00am when the 35 sailors starting arriving at the Worser Bay Boating Club. By the time Race 1 kicked off at 10.30am, the breeze was over 25 knots with puffs into the 30s, and with 3 full length courses scheduled for the day the scene was set for a marathon effort!

Star performer on day one was current World Champ Karl Purdie who was totally dominant in the heavy breeze. Karl’s 1,2,1 score card in this quality fleet could easily have been a 1,1,1 clean sweep had it not been for a swim nearing the end of the run in Race 2 while enjoying a huge lead and Russell Wood hitting the shift of the day out of the right hand corner in the final beat of that race. Despite his capsize, Karlos chased down Roger Blasse to take second (Roger had inherited the lead while Purdie was doing some freestyle).

Other good performances on day one come from Mark Perrow with a 2,5,2 and Roger Blasse with a 3,3,5, Blasse’s effort especially impressive since he hadn’t been in the boat for 13 months. Extra special mention must go to Peter Robinson who executed the most spectacular can, a perfect pig-rooting catapult capsize between races 1 and 2 much to the delight of all that viewed this fine effort. The heavy Wellington breeze took its toll on a number of sailors, many failing to finish all three races – some through damage and some through fear. Ben Morrison had two sails blow apart one after another, missing races 2 and 3 and showing the power of the Wellington northerly – or perhaps the state of his sails.

For those that survived the day the sail back to the WBBC will be remembered for a very long time as the conditions by now were extreme.

War stories, steak, beer and rum were the order of the night and with the forecast saying more of the same the next day there were no doubt a few restless sleepers.

Day two appeared to be groundhog day, as the weather from shore looked very much like the previous morning - as the breeze built, so did the queue to the men’s room! However, Hughie the wind god smiled on the weary fleet and only delivered a gentle 12 to 18 knots, a mere zephyr compared to the previous day.

Special mention must be paid to Stumpy from Australia who arrived at the club on Day 2 under a mountain of dust after overdoing it on the rum the evening before - lesser men would have headed for the sun-drenched sofa in the corner of the club to watch the skiffs in between snoozers and cups of tea from the well stocked kitchen, but Stumpy duly suited up and put to sea.

Race 4 kicked off in a perfect 12-14 knot Northerly and it was evident that the conditions suited Perrow as he extended his lead all the way round to win by a sizeable margin. Purds sailed a clean consistent race as always for second, and third home was Steve McDowell rejoining the fray after missing Day 1 due to honeymoon commitments in Rarotonga, following his marriage the previous week to Vania.

Race 5 was an action replay, with Perrow sailing off and leaving the battle to rage behind him, which Purdie managed to win and secure another 2nd, with Blasse continuing his consistent form for another 3rd and McDowell 4th.

By the time race 6 kicked off the contest was a two horse race: Purdie with a 1,2,1,2,2 and Perrow with a 2,5,2,1,1, now had a clear break on the field and this race would decide who had the momentum going into the final heat. It should be noted that between heats the slug on the clew of Perrow’s sail had broken, which he repaired on the water with a piece of dynex provided by Purdie – sportsmanship like this wouldn’t happen at a Laser regatta.

After a general recall race 6 got under way and it was business as usual as Perrow turned on the power sailing again and jumped out to an early lead. The breeze dropped for the second beat and started moving round allowing a few placing changes and some large separation. Perrow out front called the tune taking the shifts while keeping an eye on both sides, which now had plenty of players willing to throw the dice looking for the shift to get them home, but at the line the usual suspects had come to the fore, with Perrow 1st, Purdie 2nd and McDowell who had climbed through to 3rd.

So as many cold Heinekens were consumed on the deck watching the skiff racing the score card showed that Perrow had taken the lead after the drop kicked in, meaning she was all on in the final race the next morning for the title.

Once again the wind gods smiled on the fleet and race 7 got underway in a 15 knot northerly and blue skies. Some had anticipated a match race scenario between the two contenders but both opted for a conservative start mid line. Despite average starts, within minutes of the gun going the same players were moving to the front, and at the first mark Perrow held a slight lead over Morrison, Purdie, McDowell and Paul Rhodes. Still leading at the leeward mark it was up to Perrow to lose, with Purdie having moved into 2nd, but once again he held his nerve and by the final leeward mark, as the chasing bunch which was now 6 boats scattered up the final work. Purdie at last chance saloon hit the left corner, trying to drag Perrow there and hope for a right hand shift to allow enough boats past, so as to bring the drops into play, but the line loomed up and Mark Perrow had claimed his second New Zealand title and first Interdominion title with another bullet, the title his by 2 points. It is notable that Mark is the first person to win a second NZ OK title in well over 10 years, and he had to defeat the current world champion to do it, which all goes to show the high quality of the fleet.

After the packing of boats and a few hard-earned beers, Perrow was presented with his winnings in the form of two large trophies, which he duly filled with rum and handed round. After being tossed off the wharf it was back to the celebrations where Mike Wilde was presented with the Captain Chaos award after several port-starboard incidents (of which Oscar was on port!) and a memorable moment where he accidentally gybed onto starboard right on the leeward mark (following the second reach) straight into a 10 boat pile-up (everyone survived....somehow). Things finally hit their peak for Oscar when Rob Davis spectacularly T-Boned him, the most incredible thing being that, this time, Oscar was the starboard tacker!

All in all the contest was a fantastic event, with debts of gratitude owed to Burty and his team for getting the racing away, the WBBC for a great show as always and the Ozzies for making the trip and enabling us to hold a true Interdominions.

PlaceSail NoSkipperPts-1R1R2R3R4R5R6R7
1NZL 527Mark Perrow82521111
2NZL 531Karl Purdie101212222
3AUS 678Roger Blasse233354359
4NZL 517Paul Rhodes287845543
5NZL 526Russel Wood358139788
6NZL 504Adrian Mannering415106816.566
7NZL 524Mathew Stetchman471047129107
8NZL 511Luke O'Connell5897101912911
9NZL 530Ben Morrison704363610875
10NZL 469Owen Anderson70126177141516
11NZL 478Daniel Bush733612141361117
12NZL 523Joe Porebski741336915111412
13NZL 535Mike Wilde77.51814111416.51210
14NZL 502Trent Pryce85119817192123
15NZL 525Steve McDowell863636363434
16NZL 500Nigel Mannering906163616151621
17AUS 735Rob Davis921436366101313
18NZL 475Greg Wright107.5161112.522183628
19AUS 726Peter Lynch109.5151512.536252022
20NZL 509Marty Weeks11521131624292615
21NZL 481David Hoogenboom13220363618201820
22NZL 536Marty Pike13326191923222436
23AUS 694Richard Furneaux13623171530282726
24NZL 497Brett Graham13917363631241714
25NZL 458John Hoogenboom14424363620211924
26AUS 610Nigel Harvey147.52218182931.53629
27NZL 519Matt Stevens15136363611133619
28NZL 515Evert Nijzink15729203628302525
29NZL 472Adrian Coulthard16028212032332930
30AUS 736Peter Robinson17019363625363618
31AUS 715Andrew Baker17027363621272336
32NZL 533Rob Hengst17936363626232236
33NZL 518Josh Weeks182.52536362731.53627
34NZL 498Jonny Clough19336363636262831
35NZL 516Julian Bishop19631363633343032