We don’t do light - Final Day at the Woodridge Homes NZ National Laser Champs

Wellington again turned it on for the final day of the 2016 Woodridge Homes NZ Laser Nationals at Muritai Yacht Club in Wellington.

A light breeze greeted the 92 sailors as they arrived at the club and some of us were led to believe that the local Masters “we don’t do Light” was a Wellington myth. However true to Wellington form by start time it had built to 20 knots, again from the NW, and we ended up with the freshest day of the contest with gusts at times touching 30 knots and plenty of shifts and variation in pressure for those smart enough to take advantage. The outgoing tide ensured that conditions were not too rough and all fleets completed 2 races to complete their full complement of races for the contest.

In the Open Standard fleet Andrew McKenzie again took command from the start of each race to record two wins and an emphatic overall victory, winning 8 of the 10 races. Visiting Chinese sailors Ning Zhao and Jinfu Zhou were 2nd and 3rd in both todays races and overall with Matthew Kempkers from Auckland 4th.

The Radial Open contest was only decided in the final race and provided the highlight for the host club with club youth star George Gautrey, fresh from his second in the ISAF worlds youths, scoring a 1/2 today to secure victory over reigning World Apprentice Master champion Scott Leith, who also scored a 1/2 today but ended up 3 points behind George. Third was Chinese visitor Jianan Wu who was extremely  consistent and only 2 points behind Scott. The leading woman was Susannah Pyatt in 6th  and Worser Bay youth sailor Olivia Christie had an exceptionally strong regatta to finish 9th overall and first youth girl, out sailing many more experienced competitors despite the testing conditions.

After a really close contest visiting French sailor Juliette Bone claimed victory in the 4.7 division over Worser Bay sailor Amy Anderson.

Local talent was again to the fore in the Masters Divisions, with many of the sailors using the regatta to start to prepare for the Laser sailing at the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland.

The Standard Masters division saw local Andrew Dellabarca securing an extremely well deserved victory with a 2/3 scoreline today to defeat the reigning champion, Apprentice Kris Decke from Whangarei by 5 points. Grand Masters Peter Kempkers, who had a great day winning both Masters races, and Murray Thom were 3rd and 4th respectively.

In the Radial Masters Ed Tam from Worser Bay won comfortably overall. He had a 3/1 record today to win clearly from Master Hamish Atkinson from Christchurch. First Grand Master was Roger Winton from Whangarei and after an intense battle of the Grand Masters Eastbourne’s Garth Cheyne took out the division from Bob Blakey and Gus Fry in 6th, 7th and 8th overall.

So we have concluded a wonderfully successful contest with testing conditions and every division well contested. Next year’s contest will be in Taupo which is sure to provide a whole new set of challenges for sailors. The top 5 in each division were;

Nick Page
NZLA Chairman

Top 5 in each fleet at the end of todays racing;

Open Standard
1. Andrew McKenzie, Auckland
2. Ning Zhao, China
3 Jinfu Zhou, China.
4. Matt Kempkers, Auckland
5. James Jennings, Auckland

Open Radial
1. George Gautrey, Eastbourne
2. Scott Leith, Auckland
3. Jianan Wu, China
4. Josh Armit, Auckland
5. Alastair Gifford, Auckland

Standard Masters
1. Andrew Dellabarca, Wellington
2. Kris Decke, Whangarei
3. Peter Kempkers, Auckland
4. Murray Thom, Auckland
5. Rob Woodward, Wellington

Radial Masters
1. Ed Tam, Worser Bay
2. Hamish Atkinson, Christchurch
3. Greg Wilshire, Auckland
4. Roger Winton, Whangarei
5. Mike Knowsley, Auckland

Full Results