You are here: Home Leander Trophy Leander 2008 - NPCL, Lyttelton Harbour

Leander 2008 - NPCL, Lyttelton Harbour

58th National R Class Championship, 2 - 6 February, 2008

Final Results and Entries, Photos (more photos to come as time permits over the next few days)

2008 Leander - Day 4 Report
(Tuesday, 5 February)

It was nearly the day that wasn’t. Had it been up to Chris Skinner, it would have certainly been the day that didn’t. Luckily for Sean Milner, winner of the 2008 R Class National Championships, it was the day that was.

Skinner and crew Chris Holland had led the entire 2008 R Class National Championships on Lyttelton Harbour, and going into the last day of racing, they needed only to finish ahead of defending champions Milner and Dan Leech on L3 in the remaining races to take the Leander Trophy back to Auckland.

With that in mind, the fleet hit the water on Tuesday in a dying southerly for the first of two remaining scheduled races. Naval Point Club Race Officer Ross May got the start off, but abandoned the race just as the leaders reached the top mark and the seven-knot breeze diminished to nothing. That was lucky for Skinner and Holland on Martin Hughes, as they thought they’d been over early at the start and, after re-crossing it, found themselves in a miserable 10th place. Meanwhile, Milner and Leech were battling for first with Paul MacIntosh and Kenny Fyfe on DesignSource.

The conditions seemed unlikely to change after the fleet returned to land for a lunch break. After nearly two hours ashore, there was talk of ending the series at just seven races – the sailing instructions said five races constituted a regatta. Clearly, Skinner and Holland would have been pleased as punch for that call to be made. But no sooner had a doubtful Race Officer May told the sailors he’d give the breeze until 4:30 to fill in, that the ever-predictable easterly started to make its way down the harbour. And with that, the boats were back on the race course.

Two races later, in a building easterly that peaked at 14 knots, Milner and Leech had sailed two flawless races, resulting in two bullets and the overall win. Skinner and Holland, meanwhile, floundered to fourth in race eight and managed a third in race nine. Those were their worst finishes of the regatta, breaking what had been until then a near-perfect 1-2-1-2-2-2-1 record. Milner and Leech won their second Leander Trophy together by more than 52 points over second-place Skinner and Holland.

Adding icing to Milner and Leech’s cake, three L3 hulls placed 1-2-3 in race eight. Until then, it had looked to the two L3 pioneers (Leech designed the L3, and Milner built the first one) as though the tried-and-true Woofs might dominate the top spots in this year’s event, particularly with Simon Ganly and Rod Chave’s consistent third-place performance on their Woof Dimension Polyant.

But after less than a season of attempting to master L3, the pieces came together for class legends MacIntosh and Fyfe on DesignSource, and Tim Bartlett and Dave Healy on Carbon Sequestration, who finished second and third respectively in the penultimate race with their new boats. For their part, Milner and Leech won that race by nearly an entire leg. “I think today’s performance shows that the L3s really are the leading edge of this development class,” Leech said.

As for Bartlett, a 40-year veteran of skiff sailing, he had plenty of love to show for the R Class. “I love coming to the Leander,” he told his fellow competitors at the prize-giving dinner. “You always come away having learned something new.”

The R Class, meanwhile, had plenty of love to show for the dedicated race committee. “This is one of the best-run regattas I’ve ever been to,” claimed Skinner, speaking for all 30 sailors in this year’s race. The Naval Point Club race committee was led by May, with support from his talented crew: Ken Camp, Robert Norris, Keith May, Burt Thurlow, Wayne Keen, Brendan Leech, Graeme Adams and Peter Withell.

The 2008 Leander Trophy would also not have been possible without the generous support of gold-level sponsor Pub Charity and silver sponsor Brent Cowan Plumbers. The R Class also wish to thank bronze sponsors ASB, International Rope Braid, Lyttelton Port Company, Ian Franklin Boatbuilders, Muffin Break, Ocean Blue Marine, P.J. Hobbs Industries, Subway, The Virtual and Pacifica Shipping.

- sutter schumacher


2008 Leander - Day 3 Report

(Monday, 4 February)

R608 - Carbon Sequestration - Tim Bartlet and Dave Healy on day 3Day three of the R Class National Championships on Lyttelton Harbour dawned under rainy skies and a chilly southerly. Not exactly inspiring conditions for racing small high-performance skiffs that fail to keep even the most experienced of crews out of the drink at one time or another.

But with four races to go in the nine-race no-drop series, a rainy day sleep-in was not an option. Naval Point Club Race Officer Ross May and his devoted committee pressed on with the show, and although several sailors could be heard muttering “winter sailing” under their breaths – never mind that it’s only early February – everyone bundled up as best they could and headed for the shifty, temperamental race course.

On the scoreboard, things look more or less the same after seven races: Aucklanders Chris Skinner and Chris Holland on Martin Hughes continue to wear the yellow leaders' t-shirts, narrowly leading the series over Cantabrians Sean Milner and Dan Leech on L3. Each boat scored a first and a second on the day, and they remain 24.364 points apart on high point scoring. Unfortunately for all four sailors, who are starting to feel the effects of three solid days of racing, there will be no rest for the weary on Tuesday for the final day of the Leander.

Showing the most consistent performance of the 15-boat fleet competing for this year’s Leander Trophy, Simon Ganly and Rod Chave on Auckland-based Dimension Polyant posted two more thirds, bringing their contest record to a solid 2-3-3-3-3-3-3.

At the other end of the spectrum, Christchurch sailors Dan Folter and Paul MacGibbon on Bully Hayes have moved up a place, to fifth, but continue to sport the traditional brown shirts for the last-place boat to have completed every race – a noble feat in this year’s contest. They trail the ever-upbeat Tim Bartlett and Dave Healy on Carbon Sequestration by just under 60 points.

R609 - Massive Attack - Kevin Holland and Doug Gale chases R582 Chemical Weapon James and Michael Collet on day3The final day of racing on Tuesday is slated to bring sun and a dying southerly in the 10 to 15-knot range for the final buoy race and a long harbour tour. Looking ahead to Waitangi Day, all boats will be shifting gears for the Super Cup Sprint Series, always a fun change for sailors and spectacular viewing for the general public. Sprint racing kicks off at 1 p.m. on the Lyttelton foreshore, near the Coastguard building.

The 2008 R Class National Championship would not be possible without the generous support of gold-level sponsor Pub Charity and silver sponsor Brent Cowan Plumbers. The R Class also wish to thank bronze sponsors ASB, International Rope Braid, Lyttelton Port Company, Ian Franklin Boatbuilders, Muffin Break, Ocean Blue Marine, P.J. Hobbs Industries, Subway, The Virtual and Pacifica Shipping.

- sutter schumacher


2008 Leander - Day 2 Report
(Sunday, 3 February)

Attrition was the name of the game on the second day of the R Class National Championships on Lyttelton Harbour. Of the 15 boats racing in the regatta, only 12 finished the first race on Sunday. By the third race of the day (race five in the series), just six boats managed to get aro
und the entire three-sausage course in one piece. Although weather charts indicate that the breezed peaked in the low 20-knot range, racers claim the breeze packed a much bigger punch.

Despite the challenges to both boats and bodies, the young guns on Martin Hughes continue to lead the nine-race series. Skipper Chris Skinner and crew Chris Holland hold a consistent 1-2-1-2-2 record and a 24.364-point lead over Sean Milner and Dan Leech on L3.

Although L3 finished first in race four by a healthy margin, led most of race five in similar fashion, and posted a 2-1-1 record for the day, the Christchurch-based defending champions have a tough road in front of them if they want to win the Leander Trophy again this year. Their ill-timed capsize during a jibe on the final leg of race five allowed Martin Hughes to close the gap to a matter of seconds across the finish line. Combined with L3’s eighth from day one in the no drop-race-series and the regatta’s use of high-point scoring – meaning that the difference between first and second is worth 20 points – Martin Hughes are looking pretty strong. But with four races remaining, at least one of them a harbour tour race, and the forecast calling for winds to diminish somewhat, the series could still swing either way.

Holding a firm grip on third with a consistent 2-3-3-3-3 record are Simon Ganly and Rod Chave on Dimension Polyant. Ganly and Chave are serving as a barrier between the top two boats and the rest of the fleet, though it appears their own chances of breaking into the top two are now slim.

Not coincidentally, the boats rounding out the top six in the series are also the only other ones that finished today’s rough and tumble third race. Former Interdominion and 12-ft Skiff champion Tim Bartlett, sailing with crew Dave Healy on Carbon Sequestration, was unable to finish better than fourth today, but that and a few unintentional swims didn’t appear to dampen his spirits as he flew across the tops of waves up and down the harbour with a huge grin on his face. Bartlett and Healy are in fourth with 260.952 points.

Behind Sequestration sit two Canterbury boats that revel in the classic Christchurch conditions they saw today. In fifth, though looking at several times like they might finally break their usual spell of third- and fourth-place finishes, are Dave Pairman and Tim Allen on Merde, with a record of 4-5-4-6-6. Meanwhile Dan Folter and Paul MacGibbon on Bully Hayes are in sixth, having put together their best Leander performance ever with a solid 5-6-5-7-5 record.

After a southerly front passes through Canterbury on Sunday night, Monday is forecasted to bring southwest winds up to 20 knots and another rough day for the Rs. After two solid days of racing, unfortunately it doesn’t look to be getting any easier.

- sutter schumacher

2008 Leander - Day 1 Report
(Saturday, 2 February)

Leander RiggingAfter two races, Chris Skinner and Chris Holland lead the 58th annual R Class National Championship for the Leander Trophy. Sailing Martin Hughes, the two Chrises from Auckland posted a first and second on the scoreboard and now lead with 180 points on high-point scoring.

Glassy conditions on Lyttelton Harbour Saturday morning forced Naval Point Club Race Officer Ross May to postpone the invitation race until later in the regatta. By midday, however, the easterly filled, and May and his crew rolled off back-to-back races. What the weather lacked in terms of breeze in the first half of the day, it made up for in spades in the second half, with gusts topping out at 20 knots – not usually gear-busting conditions, but on a day like today, knocking over several boats that had left the ramp rigged for softer breeze.

The varied conditions could not stop Martin Hughes, nor did they cause much trouble for fellow Aucklanders Simon Ganly and Rod Chave on Dimension Polyant who finished second and third in today’s races for a total of 146.67 points. Nipping at their heels are defending champions Sean Milner and Dan Leech on L3, who recovered from a broken trapeze wire tang and an ensuing eighth place in race one to finish first in race two by a healthy 2.5 minute margin. Milner and Leech are sitting in third with 136.34 points.

Christchurch sailors Paul Roe and Jess Hix on The Virtual were in excellent form on the water during both races, holding second place in race two for a time before a few unplanned swims pushed them back in the fleet. Also showing the sportsmanship and grit typical of R Class sailors, several Canterbury backmarkers completed the entire course even though they were scored DNF for not finishing within the time limit during race two.

“It’s great to see everyone giving everything they’ve got and not giving up,” Milner said back ashore.

R582 - Chemical Weapon - James and MichaeL Collet“It’s not an easy option to sail an R, by any means,” explained R Class Squadron Commodore Doug Gale. “There’s a certain kind of tenacity that comes out when you sail these boats, and I think that’s evident in the people who’ve come out for this year’s Leander. We’ve got some folks here who are brand-new to Rs and others who’ve been sailing these boats for over 30 years. But they’re all mixing it up together.”

With first-day kinks worked out, Sunday’s planned three races are expected to come with a strong 20+ knot northeasterly and more spectacular action in Lyttelton.

- sutter schumacher


Event Programme

Saturday 2nd February

0900 Registration and briefing
1130 Invitation Race
1400 Race 1 (possibly harbour)
sausage sizzle to follow at NPCL
1800 Inter-squadron discussion

Sunday 3rd February

1030 Race 2
1400 Races 3 & 4 back to back
sausage sizzle to follow at NPCL

Monday 4th February

1030 Race 5
1400 Races 6 & 7 back to back
sausage sizzle to follow at NPCL

Tuesday 5th February

1030 Race 8
1400 Race 9 & reserve if required, back to back
sausage sizzle to follow at NPCL
1630 Lion Trophy (Inter-squadron boat race)
1700 Prize giving (if completed)

Wednesday 6th February (Waitangi Day)

1030 Reserve(s) if required, back to back
1300 Supercup Sprint Series
1600 Supercup Prize giving