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Leander 2004 - Auckland Sailing Club, Oraki Bay, Auckland

Leander 2003 5-8 February 2004 Auckland Sailing Club, Oraki Bay, Auckland

Cheesy opening line

The 54th Leander trophy was held in variable, tricky conditions testing both boat and crew thoroughly. Racing was held over Waitangi Weekend, 5-8 February 2004, at Auckland Sailing Club, Oraki Bay Auckland.

Leander Trophy Results and entries.

Foaar, I can taste the colby now. Let's try that again.

Sixteen boats in total made it to Auckland for the 54th Leander Trophy. From Christchurch we had a brand new boat, Davie Norris Boats, a Dan Leech design sailed by Sean Milner and Steve Fortune, and a couple of boats changing hands, Glen Taylor and Mitch Dean sailing the old Liquid, now For Sale, and Chappie and Nellie in 92MoreFM, the old Chemical Weapon. Some more stable partnerships saw the return of Subwoofer (Paul Roe and Ashton Smith), Meridian Energy (Dave Pairman and Tim Allen) and Bully Hayes (Dan Folter and Paul McGibbon).

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From Wellington we had the lonely Stagecoach, the defending champs of the Leander, but coming back after a long break from sailing.

From Auckland we saw a couple of new Woof design boats, Martin Hughes replacing the ageing Design Source for Paul Macintosh and Kenny Fyfe and Bax Contracting making its Leander debut with Nathan Bax and Roger Barnes. Ginge is never one to stand still, his boat Nuplex sporting some radical add-on ribs on the chines. These did not fit the R-Class rule, but this was allowed to slide, unless he did well of course! He was also experimenting with some horizontal wings on his rudder, a-la Liquid. Coming straight from success in the 12 foot interdominions was Signature Homes Skiff Racing sailed by Chris Skinner and Chris Holland. I'm running out of things to say here, so also from Auckland were; Dimension Polyant (Tim Bartlett, Simon Ganley), CRC ADOS (Leon Oliver, Martin Oliver), As Good As It Gets (Dave Andrews, Bevan Mark), MGS (Russell Davis, Glen Read) and Exonet (Sam Lewis-Roberts and crew).

Day 1

The forecast was for a 25knot SW in the morning, dying to 10 knots in the afternoon. It didn't look so strong from the shore, so we were a bit surprised by the 30 knot breeze we encountered once we sailed out. Seeing this, a few boats decided not to go out. At least one wished they didn't, For Sale breaking their mast tip on the fast ride down to the start.

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It was a boat-speed race up the first beat with Dimension Polyant, Stagecoach and Davie Norris Boats showing good initial pace in the breeze, Nuplex and Meridian Energy snapping at their heels. Davie Norris lead around the top mark, only to swim at the gybe and let Stagecoach through. This was a prelude to more carnage. Subwoofer and Bully Hayes struggling in the breeze, pulled out. Nuplex broke off their newly trialled rudder wings and had some mast problems but still carried on. Those who stayed enjoyed the wildest, fastest rides of the competition. The last run to the finish was the most exciting. Stagecoach held a small lead around the top, but nearing the gybe surprisingly dropped their kite and rounded up into a tack. The cautious tactics worked however, as behind them, first Davie Norris, then Dimension Polyant capsized during the gybe giving Stagecoach the win. Nuplex held on, but were too far back and finished second. In their swims, Davie Norris broke a tiller and Dimension a rudder, so two boats were all that could finish the invitation. That was not the only breakages to fix over lunch however, as Nuplex had a compressed mast and had to swap for a spare, and Davie Norris hit the shore coming in and broke their centreboard struts.

There was a hive of activity over lunch as repairs were made and some boats decided to reduce sail area, a risky choice considering the forecast for the wind to drop. it had dropped by the time we launched, but still at a quite manageable 20 knots.

Nuplex showed great speed off the line with their new mast in. They were hotly followed by Davie Norris, MGS, Stagecoach and Meridian. Nuplex showed that boat-speed is not everything as they sailed away on the wrong course, forgetting to round the wing mark. They finished well ahead, but it was all for nothing. There was a good battle behind them, MGS nudging ahead of Davie Norris for an unexpected win, Signature Home Skiff Racing sailing through the fleet for third, followed by Stagecoach, Exonet and Meridian dropping back after a couple of swims. They were followed by Bax Contractors, Martin Hughes suffering with their full rig in the blow to finish eighth but in good company with the guru in Dimension Polyant and Bulley Hayes, only ten boats finishing. Subwoofer having the misfortune of breaking their prod while chasing Signature homes into the bottom mark.

The wind had been threatening to drop out all day but had hung in there for the last race, pushing some tired bodies to their limit. This race saw a new winner. After a slow start, Signature Homes passed Nuplex to take the win, Dimension Polyant back up in third, followed by Bax Contractors and Stagecoach. Meridian, initially battling the frontrunner's broke their kite tackline, but determinedly fixed it (by Tim chewing through the spectra!) for their points for finishing.

That evening there were a lot of sore bodies, but it was great to see a lot of co-operation and lending of tools and materials and knowhow in fixing the broken boats. This included For Sale (mast tip) Davie Norris (center-case, tiller) Subwoofer (prod) Meridian (plate) and As Good As It Gets (mast stump). Thanks to Sam and Dave for the gear.

Day 2

This is more of what we expected of Auckland. A big high meant a day sitting around in hot, humid, windless conditions. It didn't really matter what time we called it off, as soon as we did the wind would come. Which pretty much is what happened.

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Overnight scores still stood, giving Chris Skinner and Chris Holland in Signature Homes the yellow jersey. In a surprise second were Russell Davis and Glen Read in MGS, followed by Sean Milner and Steve Fortune in Davie Norris Boats.

The forecast for the next day was for more of the windless conditions, so many sacrifices were made to the wind gods on the altars of Heineken and Coruba. Just as well it was going to ba a late start.

Day 3

The plan was for three back to back races in the afternoon. First up we had a long harbour course in a puffy, shifty, moderate SW breeze and strong tide. Oh goody. Off the start the fleet split, half the boats going hard left, the others hard right under North Head. It was touch and go for a short while as the wind oscillated a bit before a good breeze came in from the right and the left died completely. The fleet spread massively and there was little hope of catching the leaders. It became a tactical battle to best use the fleeting puffs and streaming tide. Nuplex and Martin Hughes played the game well, but again to no avail, both being OCS at the start. This left the win for Signature Homes, now starting to stretch their overall lead. Also benefiting from their misfortune was Subwoofer gaining a second, Stagecoach a third, the munchkins in CRC Ados scoring a fourth, Bax a fifth. All the other boats having gone left and suffered.

The next race was a shorter laid course. The wind was still puffy, but not quite the lottery of the first. Davie Norris got back in contention with a win, but Signature Homes tightened their grip on the trophy with a second, followed by Martin Hughes and Meridian Energy. For Sale had their best race with a sixth and even Chappie and Nellie in 92MoreFM finished.

By this stage we had had enough, and called it a day. We were one race short of a contest, so the wind gods needed to smile on the next day. Going into the last day, the super consistent sailing of Signature Homes had given them a comfortable lead in the contest. Back a bit in second was Davie Norris Boats, followed by Stagecoach. Martin Hughes and Nuplex were ruing their disqualifications having proved more than competitive on the water.

Day 4

No respite was given from the tricky conditions, Auckland putting on a puffy, shifty moderate SW breeze, unfathomable tide and threatening clouds. Off the start, most of the fleet headed left to get out of the tide, except for Davie Norris, spat out at the start, went right, got better pressure and lead at the top. They held out for one more leg, but were passed on the next upwind by Martin Hughes after they went chasing pressure again, but this time got nailed by the tide. This it stayed until the next exciting upwind. The wind started shifting in a diabolical manner, and Nuplex passed Davie Norris early in the beat as Davie Norris tried to follow the shifts and went in circles. The fun arrived at the end of the beat in the form of a rain squall. First Martin Hughes, then Davie Norris capsized, letting Nuplex to the front and Signature Homes into second. Ginge then well, pulled a Ginge as he went the wrong course again, forgot the wing mark, getting almost to the bottom before remembering and taking back up. This gave Signature Homes the win, Martin Hughes second, Bax Contractors coming through into third.

The wind had settled more in the south by now, so a new course was laid for the next two races. A further shift to the left before the start saw a pin biased start, and a couple of boats not quite making it over the pin against the tide. There was a classical oscillating breeze, with big gains for those who played the shifts the best. Doing just that was Nuplex, this time sailing the right course to take the win, Martin Hughes in second, the ever consistent Signature Homes taking third which was enough to guarantee them the contest.

But that was immaterial as there was one more race to sail. More of the same, big shifts, a dying breeze, loads of tide, what more could you ask for? 92MoreFM had the answer and headed in to the bar. Martin Hughes played it right for the win, Signature Homes asserting their dominance took second, Nuplex finished third, then did another lap just to make sure they did the right course. Davie Norris came back from a poor start to finish fourth, enough to hang on to second overall, Subwoofer finally hitting their stride finishing fifth.

Stagecoach had a miserable day, dropping from third overnight to ninth. Martin Hughes had the best day of anybody, a 1,2,2 enough to finish third overall, Nuplex competitive on the water, if only they did the right course, finished fourth. Bax Contractors a tad more consistent rounded out the top five. The munchkins in CRC Ados, a borrowed boat sailed well to take the handicap trophy.

Cheers to Ben for running a good contest in tricky conditions and congratulations to this years winner Auckland's Signature Homes Skiff Racing sailed by Chris Skinner and Chris Holland.

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