Thursday, 30 September 2010

Stack Interiors Winter Champs at Murrays Bay

Summer season warm up starts under blue skies

Murrays Bay. Image copyright Brian Haybittle.

by Zoe Hawkins

The pleasant spring conditions of the last few days were welcomed by young sailors preparing for the Stack Interiors Winter Champs, particularly those who have travelled from earthquake-stricken Canterbury to take part.

The Murrays Bay Sailing Club sailing regatta and its unique coaching warm up event gets ‘bigger and better’ every year as young sailors benefit from training with top New Zealand sailors, including young Olympians and world champions such as Andrew Browne, Chris Steele, Sara Winther, and Alex Maloney.

Sylvie from Murrays Bay. Image copyright Brian Haybittle.

The coaching days, attended by 140 sailors, are part of the build up to the Stack Interiors Winter Champs – an event which attracts 250 boats, and is designed to blow away the cobwebs of winter prior to the official start of the summer season, which for many is highly competitive.

Competitors in 2010 include a contingent of around a dozen sailors from Christchurch.

Charlotte from Murrays Bay; Petrina from Bay of Islands. Image copyright Brian Haybittle.

“It’s so nice to be somewhere that the ground isn’t shaking,” says Brian Haybittle, who has travelled to Auckland with his children, Patrick and Carmen, who are preparing to sail their Optimist dinghies in New Caledonia.

One competitor comes from one of the hardest hit parts of Christchurch and may soon learn that her home will be demolished, and all have been affected by the quake.

“Some of these young people have been through a lot. To come here to Auckland and have a good night’s sleep is probably the best thing,” says Brian.

Ali G from Queen Charlotte. Image copyright Brian Haybittle.

Weather for the coaching days has been as good as it gets and while a front is forecast to pass over Auckland on Thursday night and Friday, it will leave clear skies and light to moderate breezes for the weekend.

Racing takes place across up to 17 divisions. There will be more than 100 Optimist dinghies racing in the two Optimist divisions, and the traditional New Zealand P-Class and Starling Classes are also strongly represented. Other classes are the two-handed 420, 470, 49er, Javelin and 18ft Skiff classes, with Lasers, Laser Radials, Laser 4.7s Moths, RS:X and Techno boards also sailed.

Petrina in a P. Image copyright Brian Haybittle.

“Most of the preparation is in place to run a top notch regatta,” says Kim Admore of Yachting New Zealand. “All these boats will make a wonderful spectacle on the waters off Murrays Bay.”

Vodafone are providing a ticket for a lucky winner to sail on the massive record-breaking catamaran TeamVodafoneSailing, and other supporters of the event include principal sponsor and business interior design specialists Stack Interiors, sailing solutions specialist Harken, the Auckland Yachting and Boating Association and Yachting New Zealand.

Andrew from Dunedin. Image copyright Brian Haybittle.

Coaching took place on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 September, with racing starting on Friday 1 October for Juniors, and Saturday 2 October for Youth and Seniors.

Murrays Bay