Tuesday, 13 October 2009

WMRT: 11th Place for WAKA Racing in Bermuda

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club terrace. Image copyright Charles Anderson/Bermuda Gold Cup.

by Garth Ellingham

Lighter breezes were a welcome change on the 4th day of the Gold Cup as we set out for the repechage stage. The competition was no easier than we had previously imagined so the task at hand was not a simple one. Six teams, one round robin with the top two progressing through to the quarter finals.

We started off against Torvar Mirsky where we were deemed over the line at the start, forcing us to re start and fight from behind. A few freak puffs in light conditions gave us the lead again at the top mark but not as much momentum, giving him the opportunity to roll us. He regained the lead and we didn’t get a sniff in as he dominated the race from there. We then won our race against 5th ranked Damian Iehl after sealing a good start and the early lead. We didn’t let this one slip away, capitalising on our early advantage by extending our lead in the second lap.

Next up was local man and Gold Cup veteran Blythe Walker. Down speed off the line we had a fight on our hands. We made little gains up the first beat rounding the mark 1 length behind. Downwind he maintained the small lead until the second beat where we managed to gain the right hand side and starboard advantage. We held him off at the top and rounded the mark, after a big luff by a boat length. We made a small error by letting him gybe first and then the waves we hit after didn’t help.

A very close finish was inevitable but another error on our behalf didn’t help the cause and he crossed the line ahead by half a boat length. Disappointing for sure but an area highlighted for us as something to work on. The last race was against Dave Perry another match racing veteran. A great start towards the favoured side sealed the race for us and we extended our lead throughout. Unfortunately only two wins in this round didn’t quite get us through to the next, knocking us out of the competition in a solid 11th place out of 24.

This draws our tour to an end for Waka Racing. We were satisfied with the result but a little gutted with missing out on the top 8. Waka sailed well this regatta, being the first time in Bermuda and in boats that were difficult to manoeuvre. We adapted really well to the old, slow and unorthodox characteristics of the IODs and managed some really good wins against tough competition.

The team is now looking forward to heading back to the comfort of home. After 6 months of travelling and sailing we are excited about getting back to Mum’s meals and a good bed! Thank You for all your support over the trip and we will send a full summary report when we get back.

We would also like to thank Stefan of Widex, Pacific Sports Community Trust, Ian of Tax Management NZ, Ross Munro of Line 7, RNZYS, Simon from Frontend Design and the WAKA racing supporters club for all their help and generosity.


The Waka Boys:
Phil Robertson
Garth Ellingham
James Williamson
Sam Bell

WAKA Racing
World Match Racing Tour

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