by Nick Page
Andy Maloney (NZL) pictured at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, Mens Laser
Sailors and officials were fortunate to enjoy another stunning blue sky day with a great sea breeze for the final day of the National Laser Champs in Nelson.
Racing again started as soon as the sea breeze filled in just after midday, with 4 races being completed for the Open divisions and 3 for Masters, meaning that all divisions were only one race short of the programmed number despite the loss of races at the beginning of the contest.
The breeze steadily built through the afternoon, topping out at about 15 knots. The slightly lighter breeze, combined with the tide being later than yesterday meant there were considerably smaller waves that we had for yesterday afternoons races. However, the tide again caused some issues on the start line in the later races, with several sailors again suffering OCS’s for premature starts due to the tidal effect on the line.
In the Open Andy Maloney held his lead to win convincingly from Dutch sailor Nicholas Heiner with Tom Saunders in third. Past champion Mike Bullot was fourth, followed by our other Dutch visitor, Rutger Van Schaardendurg, who ended up fifth after having to count a DNF in spite of several race wins.
In the Radial leading Women’s sailor Sara Winther won overall from top youth sailors Trent Rippey and Sefton Cole. Susannah Pyatt however had a very strong day including a first and two second’s to rise to fourth overall. Leading Women’s Youth sailor was Ali Nightingale in ninth overall.
Lachy Grimwade had a great day with 3 firsts in the 4.7 to take the title from Japanese visitor and top female sailor Emily Koya.
Defending champion, Apprentice Chris Decke, won a very close contest in the full rig Masters to take the title from Master Andrew Dellabarca with Apprentice Kent Copplestone sailing extremely consistently for third overall. He was followed by master Owen Anderson in fourth, with Nick Page taking the Grand Masters title and holding on to fifth overall. Bob Blakey was the leading GGM’s in 11th overall.
In the Masters Radial Apprentice World Champion Scott Leith continued to dominate and took the overall title winning every race. Richard Blakey moved up to second overall , overhauling Ed Tam who held onto third. Mike Keeton was the leading GM in fourth and Jim Quinn the leading GGM in 11th.
Overall the contest was extremely well run by Nelson Yacht Club and delivered wonderful conditions for the final 2 days after a frustrating start. The Open and Radial fleet will now be moving to Sail Auckland, the second NZ team qualifying regatta for the season. Next years contest will be at Takapuna Boating Club in January 2015 and we look forward to a large fleet and more high quality racing.