Sunday, 22 February 2009

Five Races Completed in BMW Auckland Regatta

The Cookson 39 Power Play is a contender in the IRC division. Image copyright Ivor Wilkins.

by Zoe Hawkins

Making up for lost time after racing was cancelled due to high winds and rough seas yesterday, five back to back races made for a gruelling start today to the prestigious BMW Auckland Regatta.

Competitors were eased into the day’s sailing with a perfect ten knots of breeze and flat seas. However the tide change late morning led to choppy seas in conjunction with stronger westerlies averaging 15-18 knots as crews quickly dropped down a headsail size and prepared for the hard work ahead.

There were few surprises in the big boat division, with V5, Wired and Pussy Galore taking the top three spots on line in all five races. Handicap honours though were shared between Bullrush and Bobby’s Girl, with the Bakewell-White 52 Wired getting the double glory of both line and handicap wins in the final two races and coming out of Day One in the lead.

Nobody was surprised when the 44 foot catamaran Taeping took line and handicap honours in the first race of the Open Multihull division today, and she went on to win the next four races, making it a clean sweep. Results were extremely consistent in this division: Dan Slater’s Line 7 finished second in all races, and This Way Up finished third in all races.

Capricorn flies in the BMW Auckland Regatta. Image copyright Ivor Wilkins.

Dirty Deeds was by far the best sailed Open 8.5m boats today, with four wins over the line, two of which she also secured the handicap victory. Jon Bilger sailing said that his boat’s performance – including a win and two second placings - was very good overall, despite being hampered by an unfortunately timed crash tack off the start of Race 3, and a broken jib shackle in a later race. “We are a family cruising boat and we’re just happy to be up there with the racing boats,” he says of the boat that has impressed throughout summer racing for its speed.

The Mumm 36 Whatever, and the new canting keeler Overload, dominated B Division’s line honours positions today, and in C Division the conditions obviously suited Farr 1020s. Azure, Fantail and Max Headroom were dominant, with Mike and Sheryl Lanigan’s Share Delight securing a bullet in Race 3. Azure leads so far on PHRF and Fantail on line.

D division, for sports-style keelboats was reigned by the Ross 8.5m keeler Cool Change, and the Melges 24 sailed by a gun crew including young New Zealand Olympic representative Peter Burling. Both boats secured two line and handicap doubles, and, with the exception of a third place in the final race for Cool Change, taking a complete set of firsts and seconds on both line and handicap between them. Cool Change leads the division on PHRF.

In the event’s only one-design racing, the Young 88 division, Panama Jack, crewed by the youth team that won the Warren Jones Match racing Regatta in Perth last month, performed consistently through the five races, but Triple 88 leads on handicap and line, with Sweeny Todd and Sister Moonshine also in the top four.

BMW Auckland Regatta is also the third and final regatta in the IRC National Championships Series. Jim Farmer’s Georgia One entered racing with a lead over her close rivals Power Play, Psycho Circus and Hard Labour, and today took out line honours in all five races. But the Farr 1020 Hard Labour, which is by far the smallest boat in this division is sailed by a very consistent crew with excellent local knowledge, was able to secure three wins on IRC, and both Hard Labour and Georgia One go into tomorrow with nine points. IRC results may be minutes apart on line but can come down to seconds in the final calculations, and the IRC national title is one of the most sought after in New Zealand keelboat racing.

The race course centres centre off Eastern Beach in the Tamaki Strait. Two windward leeward and a harbour course will be held tomorrow.

The BMW Auckland Regatta is organised by the Auckland Regatta Trust, a joint initiative between the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, in order to foster and promote amateur sailing in the region.

The event is sponsored by BMW, KPMG, Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council, and is further supported by North Sails, BSP Design, Mount Gay Rum, Whiting Power Systems - Yanmar Marine, OKI and Fullers.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Bucklands Beach Yacht Club

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