8th March 2010
Mercury Bay Boating Club hosted the pre Nationals 'Americas Cup Veterans regatta' on the 6 – 7 March.
There were 70 boats in the open fleet and 9 in the green fleet. Saturday's racing saw 3 excellent races in big seas with up to 30 knots of breeze but quite a solid direction. The big swell made starting difficult but made for some great rides down wind. Many sailors were commenting on how they needed to be careful coming of the top of a swell and finding another boat on the other side of the wave. The Optimists and support boats were disappearing out of side behind some of the big sets. Unfortunately seasickness saw some return to shore. Many sailors were experiencing the largest swells they had ever sailed in.
The swell’s easterly angle combined with the outgoing tide was a concern and going to cause larger waves at the entrance to the beach so 3 races were sailed and all sailors called back to shore. There were some very fast rides back in and the kids were full of stories about the ‘big one’ they caught.
On Sunday 2 races were sailed in similar conditions but slightly less swell. The races again were excellent and exciting. After dropping his black flag from Saturday, Jayvee Buchanan won the regatta adding to his long list of wins this season. Very close in 2nd Taylor Burn and 3rd on the same points, Olivia MacKay. William Linkhorn finished 4th and Trent Rippey 5th. There is once again a big group of sailors at the top of this fleet, all in with a good shot at the Nationals. I can see a very exciting Nationals regatta unfolding in Whitianga 2010.
The Green Fleet sailed a course close to the beach and out of the swell but still with plenty of breeze. 4 good races were sailed Saturday and 2 on the Sunday. Cole McHardie was 1st with Kerensa Jennings 2nd and Harry Mauntoh 3rd.
Gerald Martin, chief race officer for the nationals, ran the races for the PreNationals. Big thanks to Gerald again for his time. Gerald commented on how valuable the weekend was for him to get to know the area and especially to see it in the conditions over the weekend. Although the conditions were fairly rare for the venue it was a good reminder how in NZ we can learn to expect anything over the course of a week at the Nationals.
Thank you Mercury Bay Boating Club for hosting the regatta and to all their helpers.
Several clubs supplied gear and parents to run the courses, starting, finishing and safety boats, thank you to all of you for helping out.
Nigel Rippey. NZIODA President