/// Report by Craig Gilberd, Photos courtesy of Howick Sailing Club ///
Over the last Friday and weekend of March, Howick Sailing Club hosted
the Javelin National Championships, with the conditions being a choppy 15 to 25
knots for all 9 races, but still warm and sunny.
A very competitive fleet of 7 boats coming from as far away as Northland,
Palmerston North and Gisborne fronted up and, with many boats having past
National Championship winners on board, a close series was predicted.
All eyes were on “The Heavies” (Peter Precey and his new crew Hamish Hey)
with their near new one-off hull design, which boasted a radical layout and the
latest high-tech fully-adjustable 12-footer styled rig. Interest was in whether
their 205kg combined crew weight would give them a decided advantage in the
Their main opposition was expected to be “The Oldies” (Phil McNeill and Craig Gilberd – both over 60) on board Phlipnhel, the winners of 3 of the last 4 Nationals and the current South Pacific Champions. They had on their side: age, experience sailing together and Phil’s own designed hull, mast and dacron sails.
Three races were sailed on the Friday, over short 2-lap windward leeward courses, and this resulted in close racing, with places swapping upwind and down. The Oldies managed to hold on for 3 wins, with their boat handling advantage (and no capsizes) making the difference in the windy conditions. Places behind them were well spread over the next 3 boats.
Saturday dawned with slightly more wind expected and the Javelins were joined by the A class cats and the Zephyrs for their local Championships.
By this time “The Heavies” (Peter and Hamish) were getting their boat
tuning sorted and were showing impressive height and speed and so led around
the top mark from Phil and Craig. A full-on kite run was experienced by all,
with nosedives always on the cards. Peter and Hamish attempted to gybe in a gust
to cross in front of the Oldies but a large wave pattern caught them out and
over they went. Phil and Craig won their 4th race in a row with the
next 3 boats being close overall.
Race 5 was even closer up the first beat with the top 5 boats crossing
tacks, with Peter and Hamish leading from the chasing “Oldies”. Unfortunately,
Phil and Craig suffered terminal boat and crew damage up the next beat and had
to retire from the series, leaving Peter and Hamish to fight off the closely
following pack. But wins in races 5 and 6 kept the pack at bay and gave them a
good points buffer.
“The Shankses” (Ross and Colin Shanks) on Riders on the Storm were fighting for 2nd overall after race 5 but in race 6 they broke their jib traveller car and, even though they tried a different setup, could not continue on the last day.
The pack was led by “The Davids” (David Brown and David Feek) on Trailblazer who won race 7 to keep it interesting.
There were only 2 races to be sailed on the Sunday and the breeze
moderated for race 8 which resulted in a very close race and one that “The
Flyweights” (Antje Muller and Kez Cameron) were on the way to winning until the
close-by keeler fleet raced through the Javelin course, resulting in a capsize
for them and another win and overall championship title for “The Heavies”.
Race 9 was another win to Peter and Hamish with “The Davids” sealing 2nd overall with a second place and 3rd in this race securing “The Flyweights” 3rd place overall.
The win by Peter and Hamish (1st Nationals for Peter and 4th
for Hamish) was a just reward for a lot of hard work, tuning and training by the
team and, even though the heaviest crew won the series, their high tech
approach and overall package gives the rest of the fleet something to digest
over the winter.
Next year’s Nationals and South Pacific Championships in Noosa,
Queensland should be exciting!!
Thanks to the Howick Sailing Club for their amazing hospitality,
catering and brilliant race management.
The Javelin fleet look forward to taking up the club’s invitation to return in the future.
This year’s edition of the Interprovincial Challenge offered a variety of conditions making for a very close contest where seven boats had top three finishes.
When Northland chose to hold
their fifth consecuitve defence on Lake Taupo, the Horowhenua Sailing Club
offered to host the contest in Motuoapa. Being unable to sail on their home
waters, the Club was looking forward to creating a fun setting and good
sailing, harking back to the 1981 Sanders Cup held at the Manawatu Sailing Club
in Foxton where the Kingham Trophy was actually sailed at Lake Horowhenua.
Phil McNeil won the invitation race back then, but Lake Taupo did not favour him this time. A wet and overcast day made sailing tricky. The invitation race, set as a triangle course just off Motuoapa marina, was sailed in moderate breeze. Wade McGee and Demian Dixon on FDSM led around the top mark ahead of Phlipnhel. Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd nearly caught the Wellingtonians on the finish line but FDSM narrowly kept their lead, winning the beautiful Kingham Trophy.
At the 95th edition of the historic Sanders Memorial Cup, the competition was very close with six of the eight challengers having won this interprovincial contest before.
Crucial preparations involved
an awesome dinner and a late evening at the House up the hill. It has been said
that many secrets were spilled that night.
In the first two races of the Sanders Cup, the surprise entry from Auckland showed that the oldest boat in the competition had not lost any of its speed during its stint overseas. Bungholio won the first race and were comfortably leading the second one when their rudder broke. Chance had it that Northland lost their crew to injury, so Rob jumped ship and sailed the remainder of the contest with Phil.
Canterbury benefited from
Auckland’s disaster and took a race win after coming third in the first race,
putting them in the lead after the first day.
On the second day, race wins went to Wellington and North Harbour, which meant the fleet was very close together on points before the final two races. Wellington was the exception, sporting a comfortable lead, as they were the only team who consistently scored in the top three.
A win in the sixth race confirmed the success for Wade and Demian, wrestling the trophy from Northland to go back to Wellington with all the silverware on offer.
It was an emotional win for FDSM, as the crew had lost their first Javelin, that they had lovingly rebuilt and optimised over years, in a car accident 18 months ago.
The competitors appreciate the tough racing, while ashore there is a lively exchange of experience and knowledge. This extends to mutual assistance when gear fails, as in the case of the sailing sailmaker taking the batten ends of his spare sail to replace the bent ones on the OA.
Something would be missing without some more lighthearted awards. Craig Gilberd got awarded the Dog Trophy by Head Brother Colin Shanks for sustaining an injury while trying to get back into the boat after a capsize.
The famous DFL trophy is earned by the skipper with the highest score who finished all races.
Huge thanks are due to the
hosts David and Margaret Feek who provided the venue and amazing hospitality.
The fleet appreciate the efforts of the Horowhenua Sailing Club and the Race
Management Team under Tony Brown who together did a superb job delivering a
great regatta and fair sailing.
The Sanders Cup Association
is continuing their enthusiastic support of the Javelin Skiffs as the Class
that this exceptional trophy should be competed for, considering the amount of
regions as well as the range of crew and skipper age, weight and gender that
were represented at this event.
At the Taupo Regatta on 9/10 March the fleet will come together again before the National Championships that will be held 29-31 March in Howick, Auckland. For the latest international news and photos please visit the Facebook page and find out more about the Class on http://www.javelins.org