Nuplex wins South Island Championships
Doug Gale (International Rope Braids) reports...
Friday: Travel to Queenstown was of a generally loose arrangement with crew making the trip generally as and when employers condescended to allow their underlings to ferret off into the gloaming. Arriving in their dribs and drabs the aforementioned members of the proletariat proceeded to skive any accommodation as such suited their personal inclination. Doug and Mitch took advantage of the trailer yacht parking area to pitch their tent (which was a distinct improvement on one of Doug's previous attempts to camp in the fort at the adventure playground at Kaiteriteri). Sean and Steve found comfort in a concrete bunker at the Frankton Motor camp. Officer of the Day (OD) Neville England and family tented right by the clubs rooms with Jess (TheVirtual) and Paula England (Laser) sharing a tent and chasing possums round with torches (one shudders to think what will happen when they discover other less sociopathic pursuits).
Paul decided to trade places with Mitch and opted for the the tent, while Mitch for some bizarre reason chose to sleep in the boot of Doug's car. The Nerde boys chose the more salubrious accommodation of the Pairman Family bach in Wanaka (which of course is only generally in the same part of the country as Queenstown).
Well, the 9 o'clock briefing eventually happened sometime before midday (this is good). Unfortunately the wind failed fill in to any significant amount (drat! this means those upstarts from Balclutha (Acid Rock - Stephen and Chris Preddy) will be annoyingly quick again (yes dear reader, despite all our advances in technology, we are sad to report, in under bugger all wind those damned dinosaurs from the tar pit with their increased testosterone -oops- I mean rocker levels run absolutely rampant over our bright shiny new toys. Imagine if they actually had sails as well!).
Ok from here on the report has to be bit generalised as I was doing the Christmas Turkey routine in the bottom of the boat trying to keep it level (god I hate crewing in this light shit!!) Everybody thought Mitch was sailing single handed as Doug was invisible to the general public. Meanwhile those lucky individuals crewing on the L3's got to loll around nonchalantly on the foredeck in various states of repose (Jess reading the paper). Anyway.........
Sean and Steve (Nuplex) took out the first race in comfortable style, while Paul and Jess (TheVirtual) finding their feet in their new boat had a bit of a yo yo effort passing and being passed by the fleet before recovering sufficiently to take out a comfortable second spot. By the second race TheVirtual had found a bit of a consistent theme and managed a comfortable win (by a country mile actually, but in keeping with R Class tradition these moments are generally covered in an understated fashion). Meanwhile back down the line, International Rope Braids was successfully fending off Liquid (Mike Rhodes and Rhyse Jones) and Acid Rock (who incidentally were still being damned annoying in their ability to be exactly where you didn't want them to be - usually in front) but couldn't fend off the superior tactics of the Nerde's (David Pairman and Tim Allan) who consistently managed third place.
A quick break for lunch followed in the vain hope the wind might fill in allowing the R's to truly show their pace (and Doug to get some respite from being the Christmas Turkey by untangling his cramped limbs) and show people why these boats really are good (and hopefully get rid of those pesky Acid Rock boys) but alas dear reader, this was not to be. In the words of Steve Mac Race 3 for the day turned out to be another exercise in "making boats drift fast" only slightly more shifty than the first two (which probably explains why Sean and Steve (Nuplex) fell over at least twice).
Meanwhile, back at the front...
Rope Braids started the race in a blinder and throughout the race were consistently sailing strongly. Paul and Jess reverting back to their race 1 strategy were covering all aspects of the field and rounding the top mark ready for the downwind run to the finish were in a comfortable position to easily take out Rope Braids for the win. In one of those cruel twists which make up the minute by minute drama of racing R classes, both Rope Braids and TheVirtual were left standing while the Nerdes brought favourable breezes to dribble up the middle to a win with TheVirtual a close second. Rope Braids eventually drifted over the line to third place with Mitch fighting to subdue an irate Christmas Turkey having a hissy fit in the bottom of the boat.
So Day one ended with TheVirtual with a comfortable lead and Sean disappearing into the depths of his boat with strange mutterings about extracting extra speed (fixing broken battens). In one of those sublime moments of stupidity by which one can chart the course of history, some bunch of fools decided it would be helpful to share tips with the Acid Rock boy's on how to make their boat sail even faster (as if they weren't enough of a pain in the butt already). Needless to say they promptly put all this advise to use the next day. As boats were brought ashore at the end of the day's sailing a light (light) breeze sprung up, allowing Mike Rhodes to put on an impressive display of single handed sailing - interspersed with taking some of the younger Opti sailors out for a blast.
Saturday night brought the usual demarcation between the old gits that want to sit around and talk absolute garbage, while the young gits stand around and talk absolute garbage. In a rare break from chasing possums, Jess was persuaded to drive Doug's wife's car into town to procure more rum for the clanger. Doug suffering from his day crouched in the bottom of the boat could only instruct Jess on the finer points of driving a modern car from the confines of the footwell as his geriatric bones wouldn't allow his body to unbend (for godsake don't tell Robina (Doug's wife) about the round-about). Needless to say this worked OK until Jess had to venture into a local supermarket in the pursuit of candles, where the accompaniment of the strange hunchbacked creature beside her drew at times some strange and uncomfortable stares.
As the evening drew to a close squadron members were forced into the the familiar ritual of seeking accommodation for the night. Mitch, not seeking a repetition of his previous night in the car boot enlisted Mike's help and disappeared into town, hoping some passing stranger might offer them a more comfortable bed for the night.
Sean and Dave took advantage of a generous offer from the (absent) owner of a trailer yacht and found comfortable lodgings in the forward berths. Needless to say both were up bright and early least they inadvertently found themselves sailing a totally different race the next morning.
In a tent close by, Paula and Jess unsure of the banging and crashing emanating from the aforementioned trailer yacht were forced into an impromptu and amusing rodent hunt trying to locate the source of the mysterious noises.
And so Sunday morning dawned.
By now people were starting to get the hang of the nine o'clock briefing thingy, so by about 10:30 Mitch and Mike had hitched a lift back from town slightly bleary eyed but otherwise conscious. Others also were starting to move, and in the great way of things we were eventually racing again slightly before midday.
The cunning plan, in a bid to try and reach the target of nine races for the regatta was to roll over starts as each class completed it's race. It wasn't a bad plan, unfortunately a) the wind decided it would blow even less than the previous day and starting the starlings and R's at the same time caused a minor bit of confusion.
Sean and Steve managed to claw back into the lead. Following implementing both their mods from the previous evening and the fact TheVirtual was trying a novel approach by consistently starting at least a minute after the gun in a misguided attempt to lull the opposition into a false sense of security.
Back down the line, the Nerdes showed superiority over Rope Braids and in an annoying finish where Acid Rock despite hitting the Committee Boat (read lovingly restored seriously major classic motor yacht) still managed to shaft both the Christmas Turkeys and the Nerdes.
The regatta finished with a final massed start (2 laps) with the Nerdes and Rope Braids both away to a good start. TheVirtual implementing a radically new tactic, allowed the entire fleet to start before sailing around everyone in a bid to find clear air. The Rope Braids campaign came to a screaming halt when the Christmas Turkey decided to launch the kite 10 secs before rounding the top mark. This enabled Rope Braids to now become securely entangled in the buoy and hence became the new top mark as legions of Opti's, P's, Lasers, Paper Tigers and others sailed past. The Rope Braids by now had managed to clear the buoy and proceeded to relaunch their brand new kite only to put a sizeable rip in it by catching the material in the self tacker car. If nothing else several of our aspiring sailors now have a better understanding of some of the earthier yachting colloquialisms. Eventually all the three top R's manage to finish a full leg ahead of the remainder of the fleet.
All in all, apart form a good basting for the Christmas Turkey, the
weekend was a generally relaxed and enjoyable excursion. It was good to
be able to interact positively with an interested and enthusiastic
bunch of young dinghy sailors. A big thank-you to the Wakatipu Yacht
club for their kind hospitality and Neville England for an running an
excellent regatta. In the words of Arnie Schwarzenegger... "We'll be
Back" (and actually we wouldn't mind if there was more wind, no really, please).
Congratulations to Sean and Steve on winning the 2007 South Island R Class Championships. And Stephen and Chris Preddy for an outstanding effort winning the handicap trophy against much newer boats.
|4||R600||International Rope Braids