2015 North Island Laser Champs Report

Napier again hosted the contest as part of their Summer regatta, with competitors welcomed by 27degree temperatures causing many of the Wellington contingent to remark on the contrast with spring in Wellington! There was a fantastic turnout with over 50 Lasers entered and it was great to see a strong youth contingent and competitors from as far afield as Picton, Christchurch and Whangarei.

Results for all classes

Saturday started with a nice 10 knot breeze and all fleets started on time at 11am. However half way through the first race things changed dramatically, with a 35 to 40 knot pressure line coming down from the shore causing some exciting moments for all and causing a fair degree of carnage with bent and broken yachts scattered around the bay. This resulted in the races being abandoned after the leaders finished and all boats being sent ashore. Unfortunately the winds did not moderate until late in the day so there was no more racing possible on Saturday.

Sunday however delivered fantastic conditions with a light sea breeze slowly building through the day and 4 quality races being completed.
In the 36 strong Radial fleet youth trumped experience with Josh Armit showing real class in winning two races in dominant style and backing that up with a 2nd and 5th to take the trophy ahead of Albert Stanley from Worser Bay and Alistair Gifford from QCYC who each managed a race win. There was a great turnout for the Youth girls fleet with strong top 10 performances from Ali Nightingale in 5thand Libby Porter in 8th the standouts. Leading Master was Ed Tam in 7th with GM Roger Winton sneaking into the top 10 to provide some balance to the youth domination.
In the Standards it was again a contest of youth vs experience with Master Andrew Dellabarca repeating last years victory in spite of a strong challenge from last years Radial winner, youth James Jennings who finished 2nd.  Third was Greg Wiltshire from Howick, holding up the Auckland masters end of the contest in what is becoming an annual North vs South challenge. It was interesting to see 3 of the new standard sails being used but all we could conclude from the results was that they seem very close in performance to the old model and there did not seem to be any consistent speed advantage in the conditions we experienced.
The strong turnout at this regatta bodes well for the Nationals at Muratai in January so we are looking forward to strong Youth and Masters fleets being joined by Open and overseas sailors in what should again provide a quality contest.
Nick Page