2021 Catalyst NZ Laser Nationals - Day 1

A solid workout
The 2021 Catalyst Laser Nationals got underway at Worser Bay BC today, with an excellent fleet of 95 Laser and Radial sailors completing 3 races in 3 separate divisions; Standard (including Masters), Radial and Radial Masters. 
All the fancy weather websites predicted a calm morning with a nice light northerly breeze developing in the afternoon.  It sort of worked out, the morning was calm, and the locals called the 20 knot northerly that came in at lunchtime champagne sailing but most of the rest of the fleet called the 3 races in a solid Wellington northerly very hard work.  The breeze was quite gusty and shifty, clocking more to the north as the afternoon progressed. With an outgoing tide and shifts off the land most beats favoured the shore side of the course, while the messy waves proved tricky for most on the runs.
In the Standards, where the Open and Masters sailed as a combined fleet, the standout performance was Sam Meech, our 2021 Olympic rep, who got off the start line cleanly every race and dictated from there to win all 3 races. Local club icon George Gautrey, also a member of the NZL squad, chased Sam hard all day but in the end had to settle for a string of 2nd ‘s. While those 2 stood out there were great battles behind them with Luke Deegan, Luke Cashmore, Eroni Leilua (who will represent Samoa at the Tokyo Olympics) and leading Master Andrew Dellabarca trading the minor placing all day. Tim Pitcaithly from Nelson is the leading Apprentice while local GM Owen Anderson had a strong day to lead the Grand Masters is spite of managing a quick downwind dip in the 3rd race.
In the Radial fleet youth Thomas Mulcahy had an exceptional day to lead by 2 points overall from last years youth champion Caleb Armit.  To complete the leading trio Manly’s Matthew Rist is not far back in 3rd. In the Women’s it could not be closer with Annabelle Rennie Younger and Olivia Christie tied on points in 6th and 7th overall. Greta Pilkington is the leading youth girl in 11th overall.
In the Radial, Apprentice Phil Wild leads overall, but only by a single point from leading Women’s Master Jenny Armstrong, who got off to a fantastic start with a bullet in the first race of the day and showed great consistency with a second and a third in the other 2 races. Pete Thomas leads the GM’s while John Pitman is the leading GGM.
While the weather sites tried to lull us all with light wind predictions today tomorrow is a different story, with 30 knots forecast, so we will hope that they end up erring in the opposite direction tomorrow and that conditions allow racing as scheduled.
Nick Page