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Leander 2006 - NPCL, Lyttelton Harbour

Naval Point Club Lyttelton hosted the 56th running of the R Class Skiff National Championship from 9-12th March 2006. Previous winners from Wellington and Auckland raced for the coveted Leander Trophy. Canterbury is the ancestral home of the R Class and the local fleet is keen to wrest the trophy from the Auckland Squadron.

The Leander culminated in an Action Sprint Series on Sunday afternoon (1:30pm).

R Class Skiff Leander Trophy 2006 entries

What a contest. We had everything from light southerlies, strong blustery southerlies, shifty (NW influenced) North Easterly and good old solid Lyttelton NE, making for an exciting contest. The conditions were varied enough that wins were spread among three boats.

Due to a hectic sailing schedule (Inter-dominions and 18 footers in Australia) the Auckland and Wellington squadrons were down on numbers, but not quality. Top boats with gun crews from each province ensuring a hard fought contest.

It's great to see the resurgence of interest from youth sailors with Jess Hix, Mike Rhodes and Jamie White competing in all races and Chris Carlaw and Joshua and Daniel Hughes sailing on Friday afternoon and the weekend.

Day 1

Neill Wood (Stagecoach) deserves special mention for confusing AM and PM and greeted the guys with "what @#$@#$ time of day do you call this" when they rang from Wellington airport at 6:15am to see where he was. Neill went on to miss 2 more flights, got grounded due to hail and still made it in time for Race 1, much to the amusement of everyone (except Hoggy).

The blustery SW Invitation Race was won in fine form by heavy weather specialists from Auckland, Simon Ganley and Rod Chave sailing Dimension Polyant. Race 1, a lighter afternoon race had locals Sean Milner and Dan Leech (Nuplex Davie Norris) off to a good start with the first of their 4 back to back wins. Race 2 was abandoned due to too little breeze.

Leander 2006 Results Day 1

Day 2 - Canterbury to the fore

Canterbury's best day! Nuplex Davie Norris Boats winning 3 races, Meridian Energy's Dave Pairman and Tim Allan with 2 seconds and a third. Aucklander's Paul MacIntosh sailing with Kenny Fyfe on Martin Huges sailed well to be tied for second with Meridian after 4 races.

Some great performances from Canterbury's International Rope Braids sailed by Steve MacIntosh and Doug Gale elevated them to 4th overall and some smart tactics from Subwoofer's Jess Hix helped them to 6th overall by the end of the day. With 5 Canterbury boats in the top six and Nuplex Davie Norris over 100pts clear things were looking good for the locals.

Last (wo)man standing, Subwoofer gybes for the finish,  Jess Hix and Paul Roe
Action Sprints - Subwoofer gybes amidst the carnage, Jess Hix and Paul Roe - Photo: Heather McDonald

Doug's day out or The Big NW day (NOT!)

The day started somewhat subdued, no doubt due to the after effects of the "WonderBar" the previous evening, with a slight easterly. People carefully avoided direct eye contact, each contemplating the promised misery forecasted with the predicted 20-30 knot "Great White" Nor Wester (read screams of R(sic) F....k as crews plunge into the briny thru either:

a) Collapsing to windward in a lull

b) Collapsing to windward in a sudden swirling change of wind direction

c) Being blown over to Leeward in a total grandmother of a gust

d) Any combination of the above

the end result is always the same - mind numbing draining use of energy righting the boat and getting back into race mode. Anyway, we digress........)

The morning race got away to the usual business like start in the kind light easterly. Nothing spectacular, but hey....lets get some points on the board before the afternoon "festivities". Nuplex Davie Norris, Martin Hughes and Meridian Energy all battled it out in the "first division" while the rest of us manouvred for our own respective moral victories.There were good performances all round, but mention must go to the Crack-R boys, having driven from Timaru to compete in their first Leander, in what would be the oldest boat on the water by a country mile. But as we have said elsewhere on this illustrious site, having a boat that is carbon everything is certainly great, but ultimately is not substitue for having the basic guts to get out there and do it - well done guys!

So that was it - Nuplex Davie Norris first, Martin Hughes second and Maridian Energy third with everybody over the finish line by about 11:30, and so we turn towards the club house for great lunches provided by Sydenham and Montana Bakeries (thanks guys).

The two afternoon races were scheduled for a 2:00pm start, however rather than sit there and watch the weather turn to custard around us, a proposal to bring the race program forward with a 1:30pm start was agreed to as "the go".

The first afternoon race started again without any real drama with the Easterly holding in albeit starting to shift around a little. A nice run to the top mark, again the leading positions were fought between Meridian Energy, Nuplex Davie Norris and Martin Hughes Leander 2006 Results Day 2

Day 3 - Custard for Canterbury

Saturday again saw stronger weather conditions with things starting to go awry for Canterbury during the morning race and steadily deteriorated as the day progressed.

Martin Hughes won Race 5 with top Wellington crew and previous Lyttelton (2003) winners Steve Hogg and Neill Wood sailing Stagecoach second with Dimension Polyant coming in third.

Nuplex Davie Norris Boats managed to tear their kite badly, severely limiting their speed downwind. Suffice to say, Canterbury's dominance was starting to crumble.

After lunch the breeze was still in and Dimension Polyant were again in their element winning the next two races. Canterbury suffered a rash of retirements in Race 6 with Subwoofer ripping their main in half, International Rope Braids finally breaking their tiller after Steve inadvertently sat on it during the morning race, and Liquid (Mitch Dean and Tony Park) had a trapeze shackle fail.

More FM's Rick Chapman also manged to break a tiller in Race 7, with Nellie claiming "Chappie sat on it". Nuplex Davie Norris's jib block pulled off the deck resulting in their worst performance (7th) in the contest, as they couldn't point and the boat was filling with water.

Only a good performance by Bully Hayes (Danny Folter and Paul MacGibbon) who achieved a 5th place, combined with the consistently solid performances by Meridian Energy were keeping the Canterbury campaign afloat.

Things were now very close at the top with Martin Hughes leading Nuplex Davie Norris by under 6 points. Meridian was a safe third.

Leander 2006 Results Day 3

Day 4 - Martin Hughes crowned Leander 2006 winners

Another moderate SW greeted the crews in the final race. Nuplex Davie Norris had a 20 second lead at the final mark, but Martin Hughes was carrying more breeze down from the gate and closing rapidly. As Sean and Dan gybed for the line metres from the finish the kite out-haul popped out of the cleat allowing Paul MacIntosh and Kenny Fyfe through for the win and the Leander Trophy.
Nuplex Davie Norris and Martin Hughes
Nuplex Davie Norris leads Leander Winners Martin Hughes - Photo: Ross May

Congratulations to Martin Hughes' Paul MacIntosh and Kenny Fyfe for taking out their 5th Leander together. Kenny has now won 7 Leanders and Paul 10. Runners up were Sean Milner and Dan Leech on Nuplex Davie Norris. Meridian Energy sailed by David Pairman and Tim Allan were third overall.

Leander 2006 Final Results after Day 4

Bulley Hayes and Stagecoach battle to the finish
Action Sprints - Bulley Hayes, Dan Leech and Paul MacGibbon tussle with Stagecoach, Steve Hogg and Neill Wood - Photo: Heather McDonald

Special mention to the Crack R crew, Mike Rhodes and Jamie White from Timaru who finished every race, bar 1, in by far the oldest boat.

Thanks to Ross May and his team for again running a fantastic contest, all the onshore folk and the Canterbury Squadron team for organising such a great contest and

please support the Leander and Supercup Action Sprints Sponsors.

Action Sprints Report

The action sprints were run in wild SW conditions with Dan and Sean on Nuplex Davie Norris taking out the coveted short course trophy in spectacular form from Stagecoach, Steve Hogg and Neill Wood.

Photos: thanks to Heather McDonald for sending these through