2014 Javelin and Flying Dutchman Nationals concluded at Wellington

Javelin Nationals, Wellington, February 2014
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Demain Dixon reports on the combined Flying Dutchman and Javelin Nationals sailed in Wellington late last week and over the weekend:

Thursday: With the formalities of measurement and registration completed the invitation race was held late afternoon. 12 Javelins and 6 Flying Dutchman comprised the fleet.

Wellington provided typical conditions with a sporty 18 to 25 kt Southerly blasting down the bay. The Race Officer set a course at the Southern end of Evans Bay which made for spectacular viewing from the clubhouse. With 30 minutes to go to the start five Flying Dutchmans had launched and were tuning up but to the dismay of the race committee not a single Javelin could be seen. Were they not up to the challenge? Was all the shore-side bravado a facade? The five minute gun goes and a single Flying Dutchman starts, the rest of the fleet returning to the serenity of the club house, 2 minutes into the beat and our single competitor was upside down. Cue the 5 minute gun for the Javelins and out of nowhere we have 6 fool-hardy (or brave) boats on the start line for a four lap windward leeward course.

'The Unknown' sailed by Doug Roberts asserted his stamp on the race and held a healthy lead going into the third lap when instead of rounding the bottom mark he kept on going for a sojourn down the bay… superstitious about winning the invitation race or perhaps a mistake? The committee on the start box were exhausted by this stage trying to keep track of the boats that were upside down, sailing the wrong course or retiring. Eventually, after a very gutsy effort, the Havoc sailed by Mike Barnes took the gun followed closely by Hamish Norton on the 'Blunderbus.' Well done guys, a very entertaining effort.

Friday. With a forecast of 10kts from the South East the locals were all chanting the familiar cry that you hear at every National competition, 'It’s not normally like this here!' A start time of 1100 came and went with a course being bravely set at the entrance to Evans Bay with a top mark towards Somes island. It was scorching hot, the wind was all over the place and when we got 5 knots of breeze it was short lived. The FDs had a start and then had the race blown up halfway up the beat. The committee bravely battled on and were rewarded with a more consistent breeze from the South and a course was quickly set and 2 races were held in a breeze that moved through 30 degrees and provided plenty of heart-ache and glory for everyone involved. A long day on the water and an even longer night enjoying the fine hospitality of the Evans Bay Yacht club.

Flying Dutchman Nationals, Wellington, February 2014
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Saturday. Another forecast of 10 kts from the South East and at 0830, Evans Bay was a mirror. While rigging up the wind came in however, and a start time of 1100 suddenly looked feasible. Four quick fire races at the southern end of Evans bay in a breeze averaging 18 knots and gusting into the high twenties proved a challenge for all involved. Although the water was relatively flat for the conditions, many seasoned competitors had more swims in an afternoon than they have had in the last couple of seasons of sailing. The locals cry changed to 'It’s always like this in Wellington!'

Ben Bax in 'Bax Contractors' stamped his authority on the regatta and finished the day without a single capsize. 'Thirty Something' sailed by Wade McGee only had a single capsize and also had a great day. 'Riders On The Storm' sailed by father and son Colin & Ross Shanks also mastered the conditions and finished the day in second.

Phil McNeill on 'Phlipnhel' had the race committee exclaiming 'Flip In Hell!' as he collected the pin in an attempt at a start and dragged it 20 metres downwind. 'Havoc' lived up to the name as they caused havoc around the course. They managed to get tangled up with ‘Blunderbus' in-between races and ultimately forced them to retire.

Back in the clubhouse, the results were tallied and only 7.5 points separated the first 5 boats in the Javelin fleet with a day to go.

Things were more clear cut in the Flying Dutchman fleet with Andrew McKee on Terminal Velocity recording a 1,2,1,1.

Sunday. The forecast was always for more wind on Sunday and sure enough the wind was blowing a healthy 20 kts with gusts up to 40 when the fleet turned up in the morning. Racing was postponed until midday and ultimately cancelled.

Congratulation to Ben Bax and Phil Smith for winning the nationals by 1 point. 'Rider on the Storm' took second and another point back, David Brown and David Feek on 'Trailblazer’ took third.

The Dog Trophy was awarded to Wade McGee for accepting the presidency of the class at the AGM and was then passed onto Mike Barnes and Clark Cameron on ‘Havoc' for causing havoc.

Gordon Collister and Simon Kontze from Timaru on 'Hot Gossip' won the DFL trophy for the highest score for a boat that finished every race.

Wade McGee and Demian Dixon on ‘Thirty Something' was the first Wellington boat and so qualified for the Sanders Cup which will be held at the Mighty River Regatta in Taupo.

Full results and pictures at http://www.ebymbc.org.nz/JavNats2014.shtml