/// 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.
The 14ft Javelin Skiffs are getting together on Lake Taupo for their New Zealand Championships this weekend. A new boat being built along with a date change reduced the fleet, but the racing was just as close as ever.
In the first race, the oldest boat Hot Gossip led for the first lap but could not defend the lead in shifty and gusty conditions, and Thumper took the victory. With the wind coming up to 25 knots, there were amazingly fast gennaker rides, and several capsizes.
Phlipnhel was doing fine with the replacement skipper Wade, leading around the top mark several times, but unfortunately broke their mast after a capsize, which took them out of the contest.
After the first three races on Friday, the four leading boats were within four points of each other, leaving the contest wide open.
The Saturday started well for Trailblazer with a win coming from third, catching the leading Thumper only at the last top mark. Flying Circus had a good race, beating Bax Contractors across the line, thereby putting the three Lee hulls in the first three places. Brilliant sunshine and warm water but cool breeze made for wonderful sailing conditions.
In Race Five, Bax Contractors had bad start, crossing the fleet astern on port, but after tacking and going left found a favourable shift, which saw them coming into the top mark second behind Thirty Something. Because they managed to stay inside until the anticipated shift came, they got to gybe and pass them, winning the race. Trailblazer and Hot Gossip would have been in touch but got knocked around the top mark. Hot Gossip managed a third place ahead of Trailblazer in the finish.
Due to big holes and shifts, the first beat of Race Six was very challenging. Hot Gossip went up the middle and caught some good lifts, with Bax Contractors following them and rounding the top mark in second place behind them. Trailblazer got buried, never reaching the definitive right hand shift and could not recover on the one-lap track, even though choosing the Lake side on the downwind looked famous for a while. Bax Contractors showed great boat speed on the light-wind run going lower and faster that all of their competition. Hot Gossip was struggling with taking on water, which saw Thirty Something and Full Frontal beating them to the line.
After six races, there are still only seven points between the first and fifth placed yacht. Sunday will see the final three races on this contest. The light wind forecast was welcome to Bax Contractors.
Preliminary Results after 6 (of 10) Races, 1 Discard R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total Net
1st Thirty Something Wade McGee Demian Dixon 5 1 1 6 2 2 17 11
2nd Bax Contractors Ben Bax Dylan Doug 3 2 4 4 1 1 15 11
3rd Trailblazer David Brown David Feek 2 5 2 1 4 5 19 14
4th Thumper Sara Watters Hamish Norton 1 6 10 2 6 3 28 18
5th Hot Gossip Antje Muller Kez Cameron 4 4 3 5 3 4 23 18
6th Flying Circus Andrew Howden Mark Gatti 7 10 5 3 5 10 40 30
7th Phlipnhel Wade Gatfield Craig Gilberd 6 3 10 10 10 10 49 39
8th Black Bart Mat McMillan Andy Chapman 10 10 10 7 10 10 57 47
9th The Unknown Doug Roberts Bill Mullins 10 10 10 10 10 10 60 50
Nerve-racking final day in the Javelin Nationals at Lake Taupo
If the racing has been close on the first two days, it only got closer through the final three races of the 2016 Javelin Nationals, sailed on Lake Taupo. Brilliant sunshine and a moderate wiring breeze provided a great stage for the epic battle to win the Ray Eade Cup.
In the morning, Thirty Something looked like they had their hands on the Cup as the light Northerly winds died out and the fleet was kept ashore. Black Bart used the spare time again to get in more time on the water brushing up on their roll tacks.
The lake breeze set in around lunchtime however, slowly building to around 12 knots, but with big holes and breeze lines across the course. Trailblazer came up to form in race 7, using their local knowledge to win ahead of Bax Contractors and Thirty Something. This closed the gap to the two leading boats and gave Trailblazer a realistic chance of competing for the title.
In Race 8 Thirty Something took the lead and won ahead of Bax Contractors with Trailblazer having to fight up through the fleet into third place. To come out on top, the Davids now had to win the last race with two boats in between them and the leading boats. Therefore they shut out those two at the start, and came around the top mark second behind Thumper and in front of Flying Circus.
Success seemed achievable when they caught up to the leader at the last mark rounding, but Bax Contractors fought hard up the last short beat to come in second behind Trailblazer but ahead of Thumper and Flying Circus, which secured their overall win.
The National Title along with the Ray Eade Trophy go to Ben Bax and Dylan Doug, the oldest skipper and the youngest crew in the fleet. Congratulations!
Winner of the John Long Memorial Trophy for second place went to David Brown and David Feek who narrowly beat Wade McGee and Demian Dixon.
Best Female Skipper was Sara Watters with Hamish Norton crewing who finished fourth. .
This year, the DFL trophy went to the fifth place holder Antje Muller and Kez Cameron.
Big thanks go to the Lake Taupo Yacht Club for hosting the event, and the officials and volunteers who made this exciting regatta possible.
The next competition will be the Sanders Cup Inter-provincial Trophy held in Whangarei over Easter.