Scott Leith 2010 Masters Radial World Champion

Scott Leith (Pupupke BC) became the 2010 Radial Apprentice Master World Champions crown at Hayling Island on the south coast of England.

Two other cubes came to Radial NZL's with Hamish Atkinson (Christchurch YC) 3rd in the Masters fleet and Jim Quinn (Tamaki YC) 4th in the Great Grand Masters. 

Scott dominated the Apprentice fleet with scores of 1,(2),2,1,1,1,2,(3),1,1. Although he won by the penultimate day, the final day's strong breeze attracted him out again, and without the worry of yellow flag penalties he let rip and won by a healthy margin in both races. Throughout the regatta he felt he wasn't always the fastest boat upwind, particularly against 2nd place Frances Jean-Christophe Ledet, but could always rely on his superior speed downwind to move him to the front.

The regatta was really a final chapter in Scott's year long campaign that started with 2nd place at last years worlds in Halifax - Canada, and included 5 or 6 day training weeks, an understanding wife, and a win at the NZ National champs. Training included sessions with the NZ Yachting Radial squad coached by Mark Howard or separately with coaching from Andrew Murdoch. Andrew placed 3rd in the same boat at the Laser Open World Champs at the same venue 2 weeks earlier.

In recent years NZ has had 3 world champions in the Master Apprentice Radial class. Mark Orams 2005 in Brazil. Mark Page 2007 in Spain. Mark Orams again 2008 Australia (to prove Brazil wasn't a fluke) and now Scott in 2010. In all cases they felt downwind speed was decisive.

Sailing conditions during the week at Hayling Island were quite. At all times the tide was a strong influence. Firstly in the channel between the Hayling Island sailing club in the Chichester harbour out to the race course in open water in the bay. And once on the course there was always some tidal stream, usually rotating through 180 degrees at slack water. When tide was against any significant wind the waves could become steep and at times 2 waver patterns created confused a sea.

On the first day the wind was solidly in the upper teens gusting to mid 20's. This created the most exciting day as the waves picked up and were a baptism of fire, especially for some of sailors from the UK and Europe who commonly sail on lakes. Even the judging boats were roped in as saftey boats to deal with the many capsizes. The 2nd and 3rd days were abandoned due to strong winds. And the lay day was changed to a race day - which is very uncommon at Masters World Champs. On the 3 days from the lay day through to the penultimate day, the breeze was light and from W to NW, making it more variable as it came off the land. The yellow flag judging also seemed more aggressive than past masters world champs. That variability showed up in the results, especially for many of the Kiwis who generally prefer a stronger more consistent breeze (more grunt less thinking).

One sailor who handled the variability was Hamish Atkinson (Christchurch YC) who came 3rd in the Radial Masters fleet in his first masters world champs. A very consistent 6,4,10,7,4,6,8,(32),3,(16) in the 55 boat fleet was just reward for the winter training he kept up in wintery conditions on Lyttelton Harbour. He started one training session in 4 degrees before the southerly wind chill and couldn't speak when he got off the water.

Our Wellington Worser Bay BC sailors also had cool winter training conditions and a difficult summer with days lost to high winds. But Edmund Tam, in the Radial Apprentice fleet, had a solid regatta with 7,4,(8),8,(14),2,8,4,5,4 to get 5th overall, only 3 points off 3rd. And Andrew Dellabarca pulled himself into the top 10 in the always competitive 39 boat Standard Apprentice fleet.  Another top 10 came from the quiet achiever Radial Grand Master, Bruce Jones.

Your correspondent Mike Knowsley (Tamaki YC) managed a 7th, 4 behind Hamish in the Radial Masters with a few races marred by errors. Apparently you learn more from your mistakes - but that's yet to be proven. In the same fleet Marcus Firth (Manly SC) was frustrated when the strong conditions on the first day aggravated a previous back injury and put him out of the regatta completely.

The only New Zealander who trained anywhere near as hard as Scott was Jim Quinn (Tamaki YC) in the Radial Great Grand Masters. He has to program days off from sailing or gym. So his cube for a 4th against 43 boats was not unexpected and a model of cool headed sailing. In the same fleet Dave Schmidt (Manly SC) took a different approach. He surprised everyone except himself with a 1st and 2nd on the windy first day, then had some more ordinary results, finishing with a 2nd on the final day for 9th overall. Sandy Grigg said 'I got what I deserved' - which really meant he hadn't practiced much. But that was a bit harsh as a 15th put him in the top 3rd and his worst scores all came on the light and shifty lottery days. 's Mike Pasco (Manly SC) finished with a 21st in the tough Standard Apprentice fleet. A creditable result given his almost complete lack of training and a more business focus trip meeting with his Rooster supplier Steve Cockerill (GBR) who was the convincing winner of the Radial Masters fleet.

Pupuke BC's Nick Page and Luuk van Battenburg both made the Standard Masters gold fleet and slugged it out on points for most of the week, before a frustrating last day for Luuk saw him slip back to 33rd behind Nick in 27th. The Standard Masters fleet is always big, this year with 84 boats.

After years unsuccessfully lobbying Laser International to introduce a Standard Great Grand Masters fleet,  Bob Blakey (Tamaki YC) finally just sailed down an age group with all his 56 mates in the Standard Grand Masters and then came 17th. Even more incredible given he had slipped a couple of places on the last day. His wife Sue, the birthday girl, was able to recount exactly where he went wrong.

New Zealand’s Final Results

Radial Apprentice
1st Scott Leith
5th Edmund Tam

Radial Master
3rd Hamish Atkinson
7th Michael Knowsley

Radial Grand Master
10th Bruce Jones

Radial Great Grand Master
4th Jim Quinn
9th David Schmidt
15th Sandy Grigg

Standard Apprentice
10th Andrew Dellabarca
21st Michael Pasco

Standard Grand Master
17th Robert Blakey
31st Ian Wallace

Standard Master
27th Nick Page
33rd Luuk Van Basten Batenburg