Karleen Dixon wins the Baltic Lifejackets NZ Women’s Keelboats

Claudia Pierce - hoisting the spinnaker - 2013 Baltic Lifejackets Womens Keelboat Nationals
RNZYS Media©

In a fabulous event sailed on the Waitemata Harbour, Karleen Dixon won the Baltic Lifejackets NZ Women’s Keelboat National Championship, with a convincing scorecard.

Dixon won four first places on Day 1 in blustery conditions and a tougher day with a second, fifth, fourth and a first placings on Sunday.

Karleen Dixon is a founding Women’s Keelboat competitor starting in 1990 when the competition was won by Leslie Egnot.

Day 1 was marked by gusts of 35knots and rain squalls delaying racing, but these were perfect conditions for a crew who had sailed all summer long together. Not putting a foot wrong on the first day gave Karleen and her crew of Kelly Fong, Megan Kensington, Jenny Egnot, Keryn McMaster, Paula Satterthwaite, Jennifer Jamieson and Bridgette Suckling, a perfect start to a very competitive regatta and an almost unbeatable score.

Day 2 proved to be a different day with a balmy sunny day of 10-15knots wind in a south to south-west direction. The first race of the day was delayed until 1023hrs, but the competition was hot as the finish was a only minute between six of the competitors.

Dixon leads Henshaw - 2013 Baltic Lifejackets Womens Keelboat Nationals
RNZYS Media©
Claudia Pierce and her RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme crew of Hannah Osborne, Paige Cook, Marie Kent, Charlotte Moss, Michelle Tait and Janelle Peat, came back from a disappointing first day of mixed bag of finishes, to second on day two with a third, two seconds and a first. This gives Claudia second place overall. Claudia was ecstatic with her second day, wishing the first could have been as good.

In third place is 2012 winner Samantha Osborne. Sam and her crew had a fight on their hands to keep the title this year.

Although Sam's crew had a regatta of ups and downs they still finished in third position overall.

Coming in fourth is Joy Adams from Bucklands Beach Yacht Club. Joy was a founding crew member of the Women’s Keelboat Nationals. Celia Sneddon who sails with Joy was one of the driving forces in creating this event in 1990. To this end it is fantastic to see them continuing to bring young sailors into the competition and compete so convincingly! Joy and her crew have been sailing together during the RNZYS Tuesday Series and was in the top three of every race apart from two disappointing sixth places, a total of 22 points overall.

Fifth Pace was an entry from Cercle Nautique Caledonien, a New Calendonian Yacht Club. Luarence Bouchet, Sailing Manager at CNC, said 'We are happy to be here, we are really enjoying the sailing and competition. It is good to have this level and we will definitely be here next year.' The Noumea crew had a great start to the regatta with a second place and were consistent throughout the regatta. We look forward to seeing them in 2014.

Melinda Henshaw had a not so great regatta, a new crew with some never sailed with before left them missing the quick and precise moments that can cost the crew valuable time. All in all Melinda and her crew never let up and were highly competitive to the end. Said Melinda 'The results never show how close the racing was. At times there were only seconds between the crews but small timing and learning errors cost us. We really enjoyed ourselves though. It is such a great regatta'

The final crew who are from Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club have really struck a chord with their counterparts. It hasn’t gone their way but for a as always they really enjoyed the regatta. Leslie Goddard said a t Prizegiving tonight 'we have had so much fun. It has been great. Thanks to everyone for inviting us and thanks to everyone for such a great regatta.' We look forward to seeing them again also.

To wrap it up, well it could have gone to any of these skippers. The results don’t show the real story… do they ever? The level of racing has been high in some trying Auckland weather but eight races were run, some in 25 knots and some in Champagne conditions. Our thanks to the MRX Association for their boats and to the Race Management team lead by Celia Carson who was herself a NZ Women’s Keelboat competitor, who have worked so hard to make this a fantastic Women’s sailing event.

Congratulations to Karleen Dixon and her crew and to all these great sailors.

Skipper Place Points
Karleen Dixon first 11pts
Claudia Pierce second 20pts
Samantha Osborne third 22pts
Joy Adams fourth 22pts
Emmanuelle Merlo fifth 25pts
Melinda Henshaw sixth 35pts
Leslie Goddard seventh 47pts