Hebtro Trophy: A Celebration of Sailing: A Sport for Life

Crew members on Colin Parkin’s "Drinks Trolley" with Chris Dickson as skipper as they win the Hebtro Trophy 2011 (John Hardy image)
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A fantastic Hebtro Trophy took place at Worser Bay Boating Club on 3rd April 2011.
The event was successful on so many levels.

The Dickson family attended en masse 'dad' Roy Dickson talked about his love of sailing and 'son' Chris related a neat story about sailing with dad on the Hauraki Gulf. Although not used to venturing forward of the traveller he was 'instructed' by Roy to hoist the main, hoist the jib and then, in short order, to launch the spinnaker. Thinking he deserved a rest Chris then proceeded below where he was instructed to make the coffee. You might be one of the world’s top sailors but you find your level when you go sailing with your Dad.

Chris, Sue and their girls, Grace and Rose, flew to Wellington on the Saturday morning to experience a beautiful Worser Bay day. A little too beautiful for the girls who went Optimist green fleet sailing in the morning and vowed that they would not sail in Wellington again because 'there is not enough wind'. The morning nearly did not happen when Jetstar cancelled the flight that had been arranged for them but showing great generosity the family rebooked themselves on Air New Zealand. Staunch! Sunday dawned breezy with a forecast of 40knts - a real 'Wellington' day. Fortunately the winds, while fresh to strong did not reach that potential and provided for an exhilarating event

Rose Dickson (9yrs) sailing in her first Optimist Green Fleet race at Worser Bay - Hebtro Trophy (Paul Marsh image)
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2011 was the 20th anniversary of this 'children’s sailing fundraiser' and it was great to have the Mayor attend and give a short talk at the briefing. We were also fortunate to have Daryl Wislang attend from the Camper Team which is being run by Emirates Team New Zealand for the Volvo Ocean Race. Darryl is a WBBC member who is now in demand as a top international yachtsman. Daryl talked about where you can go with sailing and the fact that there is no limit to what can be achieved. He kindly brought some sailing gear and Camper shirts signed by the team for the charity auction.

The Commodore of WBBC, Andrew Paterson said 'I met a bunch of really interesting club members and RPNYC people I had not met before; the fellowship of the Hebtro day was happening all around me! Old friends and new friends. It was great to see 'Christo' (Barry Christopherson) and Pam'. Barry reintroduced the modern Hebtro Trophy 20 years ago.

The wealth of celebrity yachties added particular 'mana' to the event.

The format of the race is for the RPNYC keelers to sail right off Worser Bay Boating Club making a fine spectacle. The racing started as a mark foy where the speed challenged boats start first. If the handicapper has his sums right then all boats finish together. After marrying up boats to sponsors and young sailors the racing commenced. Chris Dickson knows the value of time and had generously bought an extra minute to reduce Drinks Trolley’s handicap in the reverse auction.

Worser Bay junior sailors gather around Chris Dickson, Roy Dickson and Daryl Wislang (Warwick Wiles image)
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WBBC is a club of great tradition and the last time Chris had sailed at WBBC in 1998 he won Hebtro on Colin Parkin’s boat Red Herring which never sailed as fast before or since. Well Colin has moved on to now be the owner of Drink’s Trolley and earned the right to host Chris again. As an aside Colin’s company Aluminium Extrusion has been a sponsor of Hebtro for all of its twenty years.

Everybody came ashore really pumped, with tall stories of wild rides and excitement. The youngsters in the Elliot 6 showed what regular sailing in the Wellington Youth Scheme can achieve and put the wind up the celebrity boat only being overtaken on the last leg. In a fairytale ending, that exhibited the art of the handicapper, Chris Dickson skippering Drinks Trolley narrowly won the Hebtro Trophy with Roy Dickson second on Andiamo (after Nedax was disqualified for flying their spinnaker).

A team shirt from 'Rainbow II' was presented by Roy Dickson for sale at the celebrity auction. In 1969 six young Kiwi sailors and their Sparkman and Stevens designed 'one tonner' 'Rainbow II' won the internationally prized, One Ton Cup off Heligoland. It was the pinnacle of World keel yacht racing success. The Rainbow II victory had a lot to do with the start of Kiwi sailors’ self-belief and the reputation for sailing success. The team shirt was bought by a club member and presented to WBBC for display. A special taoanga indeed!

The auction contained many items of unique provenance including champagne from the 2000 Loius Vuitton Cup in Auckland. John Ashby provided many laughs with his unorthodox auctioneering style and managed to remain dishonest even with Ted Jewett’s professional advice from the floor.

A rousing rendition of the WBBC Anthem –sail until I sail no more – closed proceedings.

A wonderful day for all concerned. WBBC would like to give a big thank you to RPNYC for supporting the fundraiser and a huge hoorah for all of the wonderful sponsors. Between the auction and the sponsors more than $17,500 was raised for the kids learn to sail and development programs next year.

A wonderful celebration of 'Sailing: A sport for life'