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Leander 2010 - NPCL Lyttelton

Daily reports, Contest Summary and Final Results for the 60th R Class National Championship

Paul Roe and Dan Leech on TheVirtual sailed to swift victory during the R Class National Championship at Naval Point Club Lyttelton February 11-14.

The fleet at this year’s Leander may have been small – just 9 boats, all from Canterbury – but it allowed several young rookies to make their competitive R Class debut.  The fresh faces were the result of the Canterbury Squadron’s work to spread the R gospel, and by all accounts the sermon appears to have converted a new generation.

However the primary theme of 60th running of this venerable event came down to one word: hydrofoils.

Sailing with Leech in place of regular crew Jess Hix, who had a schedule conflict, Roe and his hydrofoiling L3-hull led from the first race. Gusty southerly conditions on Day 3 proved too much for
three-time defending champion Sean Milner, sailing with stand-in crew Paul MacGibbon and firmly in second after the first two days. In slipped class veterans Steve MacIntosh and Tony Park, milking years of experience to finish first in the final two races and take the runner-up slot with More FM.

Just two boats raced with foils for the majority of the series – the other was Merde, a Woof sailed by Dave Pairman and Tim Allan. (Milner decided after the first race that his new foils need more work before they’re ready for prime time.) But the speed and manoeuvrability reached by the foilers around the course was the topic of conversation each night at the bar, and the consensus is  that hydrofoils are here to stay.

Adding momentum to the foiling cause, Roe and Leech won four out of five races in the separately scored short-course Sprint Series – sometimes by as much as an entire leg.  “That foiling boats of such different hull vintages could be competitive shows that the new technology has the potential to resurrect older hulls rather than let them waste away in a garage,” Roe said.

The coveted and hard fought brown shirts, for the lowest placed boat to complete all races goes to VR sailed by Michael Snowdon and Ollie Davey.

R Class Sprint Series Super Cup report 

R609 - International Rope Braids - Kevin Holland and Doug GaleR565-92MoreFM-and-R607-TheVirtual-start-DSC07817.JPG

Day 1

The 60th Leander kicked off at Naval Point Club Lyttelton on Thursday. After two races, Paul Roe and Dan Leech on TheVirtual lead the nine-race series.

It's a low-key event this year, but what the fleet lacks in national representation it makes up in local numbers – thanks in large part to recent efforts by the Canterbury squadron to revive local interest in the class. This year's racers include a few Leander rookies, and at least one boat and sailor pulled out of retirement. Nine boats matched up today, with another 3 expected for the weekend races.

Adding to the good vibes in 2010, more boats are experimenting with hydrofoils at this year's Leander. In the same vein of experimentation, the class is trying out a Formula 1-style race format to keep the foilers and the conventional boats closer together during each race.

Squadron commodore James Collett provides race-by-race colour commentary from Day 1:

Invitation Race (7-8kts NE)

  1. R609 International Rope Braids
  2. R607 TheVirtual
  3. R603 L3

The invitation race started bang on 1130, very impressive for the R fleet, wind was sitting at around 7 knots, enough to get one person on the wire and drift around the course. Everyone opted for conventional foils, leaving the hydrofoils ashore. The light winds resulted in some very close racing throughout the morning all across the fleet. The L3's showed some dominance in the slight chop that had developed in the harbour, over the other older hulls. As the race progressed various tactics were called upon, with the fleet getting spread fairly well across the harbour. In the end the three L3s dominated the podium with International Rope Braids (Kevin Holland and Doug Gale) taking pole position followed by TheVirtual (Paul Roe and Dan Leech) and L3 (Sean Milner and Paul MacGibbon). Everyone finished including the two recently resurrected Acid Rock hulls VR and Stealth.

Race 1 (11-13kts NE)

  1. R607 TheVirtual
  2. R609 International Rope Braids
  3. R589 Merde

Over the lunch break the wind had begun to build to around 12 knots, resulting in some faster sailing. The three foiling boats at the contest decided now was the time to change over to the hydro foils resulting in a more eclectic selection of vessels then normal. The starters for race one included two L3's and a Woof hull on hydro foils and one L3, two Woofs, one Steve Mac special and two Acid Rock hulls sailing with conventional foils. From the start the foiling boats were dominant with TheVirtual pulling away early on never to be seen again (Till the start of the next race at least). The L3 had some problems and was forced to pull out of the race leaving enough time to go into shore, change over foils and get back for the start of race two. The middle of the fleet was fairly well spread out with everyone sailing as fast as they could and making the most of the conditions. The two Acid Rock hulls made use of the Grande Prix style racing, finishing the course after one lap resulting the a fair reduction in down time between races.

Race 2 (13-15kts NE)

  1. R607 TheVirtual
  2. R603 L3
  3. R589 Merde

By this stage the wind had build up to around 14 knots, giving everyone a chance to stretch their legs out on the wire. Due to some imaginative rig alterations, VR (Malcolm Snowdon and Ollie Davey) no longer had its prod, other then that, everyone survived the first race relatively unscathed. The start was another fine piece of race organisation with everyone getting off the line in a timely fashion. TheVirtual once again showed its dominance early on, pulling away from the rest of the fleet. The racing in the middle of the fleet was a bit closer this time, with Chemical Weapon (James and Michael Collett) finally leading More FM (Steve MacIntosh and Tony Park) around the course for the first time in many years. International Rope Braids were giving Merde (David Pairman and Tim Allan) a run for their money in a battle for 3rd place. A unfortunate gybing incident aboard International Rope Braids on the final down wind leg resulted in some close racing to the line between Chemical Weapon, More Fm and IRB. In the end everyone had a pretty mean days sailing with Lyttelton putting on some fine Canterbury sailing conditions for all of the out of towners. Thanks to Ross and his team for all their hard work throughout the day and putting on some good old fashion racing.

day 1 photos

Day 2

Two days into the 2010 Leander on Lyttelton Harbour, sees Paul Roe & Dan Leech on the hydrofoiling L3-hull, TheVirtual, holding their lock on first place for the R Class National Championship.

There's tight racing amongst the rest of the fleet, but leading the charge and lying in second overall are Sean Milner and Paul MacGibbon on the original L3, who opted to forego hydrofoils on Friday. Doug Gale's International Rope Braid – another traditionally-foiled L3, skippered by Kevin Holland – rounds out the top three.

Naval Point Club, under the direction of PRO Ross May, continues to provide fine race management. The fleet and race committee made the most of a Lyttelton northeasterly and sunny skies (both rare this season) on Friday to get in four races. After six races in the series – seven including the invitation race – the bodies may be growing weary but there's hardly a complaint from anyone. It's all good fun.

James Collett, commodore of the Canterbury R Class Squadron, provides this race-by-race summary of Friday.

A slowly building easterly allowed us to get 2 sets of back to back races away today. The first race started in a light 6-7kt NE and the last race finished in a nice 17kts.R607 - TheVirtual - Paul Roe and Dan Leech


 Race 3 (6-7kts NE)

  1. R603 L3
  2. R565 92 More FM
  3. R609 International Rope Braids

 The wind conditions were light at best, making for some fantastic drift racing over to the start line. We had full attendance at the start of the race with 9 boats present, two of which were on hydrofoils. By the time the race started the wind had built enough to allow for some good racing. Merde put on a fantastic display of hydro foiling in the light winds with the kite up just before the start. Due to the light conditions the hydro foiling boats were unable to get flying on the upwind legs resulting in a rather variant distribution of boats around the course throughout the race.
In the end L3 showed us all how it was done, with the More FM coming in second. Racing in the middle of the fleet was close and hard fought. The Acid Rock crews did well through out the race sticking close to the middle of the fleet for the majority of it.

Race 4 (9-10kts NE)

  1. R607 TheVirtual
  2. R603 L3
  3. R565 92 More FM

With the north eastly building throughout the morning the second race of the day was conducted in slightly more wind. The hydrofoils were working both up and down wind resulting in a fairly convincing display of speed by TheVirtual. The rest of the fleet was enthralled in some close, tactical racing. In the end it came down to some photo finishes between some of the boats, with Merde and More FM finishing within 2 seconds of each other. After the two back to back morning races everyone was ready for a rest, with a chance to stretch their legs and have some food.

  Race 5 (15-16kts NE)

  1. R607 TheVirtual
  2. R603 L3
  3. R609 International Rope Braids

The wind had built over lunchtime producing some nice pressure gusting up to 18 knots. The increased pressure resulted in some more full on afternoon racing, with everyone pulling out the stops and giving their all. The two hydro foiling boats showed some good speed with TheVirtual pulling away and winning by a comfortable margin. Positions in the middle of the fleet were hard fought with a number of spills occurring at some rather inopportune moments. In the end everyone finished the race within several minutes of one another with some of the trailing boats making use of the new Grande Prix style racing.


Race 6 (17-18kts NE)

  1. R607 TheVirtual
  2. R603 L3
  3. R609 International Rope Braids

 At the start of the fourth race of the day the wind had filled in nicely and a few people were beginning to show signs of fatigue after a long days racing. The start was closely fought by the majority of the boats, with the IRB boys pulling out some leg anchor tactics in order to slow their beast in primer down. There was some close racing between More FM, Chemical Weapon and Subwoofer in the middle of the fleet with More FM showing the young bucks how it is done. In the end More FM sailed the last leg with no kite and still managed to hold the other two off, once again proving that speed doesn't matter if you can't keep the boat upright. Quote of the day for me was from Michael on Chemical Weapon while the boat was airborne, seconds from going down the mine, "I'm Peaking". Thanks everyone for another great days sailing.

Day 3

The final day of regular racing in the 2010 Leander for the R Class national championship gave folks plenty to talk about. For one, it was a relatively ancient Macca hull with traditional foils and even more-ancient sailors that won the last two races of the regular series.

But the strong performance on Saturday by multiple-time R Class champion Steve MacIntosh and 60-something crew Tony Park on More FM could not steal the thunder of Paul Roe and Dan Leech who, sailing Roe's hydrofoiling L3 TheVirtual, won the 60th Leander by a solid margin. In doing so, Roe, in his early 40s, became the oldest first-time winner of the venerable trophy.

More to the point, Roe and Leech sailed every race with hydrofoils – even the 5-race, separately scored, short-course sprint series on Sunday, which they also won in convincing style – and lent considerable weight to the argument that hydrofoiling is the way of the future for the R Class.

Canterbury R Class Squadron Commodore James Collett provides a blow-by-blow account of the final two days:

After some excitement on shore – a gust lifted one boat off the ground and through the window of a car near the launching area, missing by mere millimetres the head of its owner (in the driver's seat and about to move the car away from the area) – and a postponement while southerly front passed through, we got on the water for a 1p.m. start in a gusty southerly.

Race 7 (5-25kts)

  1. R565 92 More FM
  2. R609 International Rope Braids
  3. R607 TheVirtual

The wind seemed to drop off somewhat once everyone launched and got to the start line, leaving a shifty, patchy selection of gusts across the harbour. The testing conditions proved very trying for many crews. There was some close racing up to the top mark with More FM rounding first, followed by Chemical Weapon. More FM managed to hold onto their lead, coming away with a solid first place.

Race 8 (7-28kts)

  1. R565 92 More FM
  2. R607 TheVirtual
  3. R589 Merde

The start of the final race for the day and the Leander saw the wind fill in and build again. Racing was once again very close in the middle of the fleet, with the Woof hulls being able to hang onto the pack of L3s for the first part of the race. More FM once again put in a solid effort coming away with another 1st. International Rope Braid showed some good speed downwind and looked pretty strong until an unfortunate incident involving Chemical Weapon's trapeze wires resulted in a swim.

Thanks to everyone who came along to the event. The Canterbury R Class squadron looks to be in a position for growth, with a number of new, young sailors getting into the class. Thanks to Ross and his team at Naval Point for hosting the event and putting on some good racing. Finally, thanks to our major sponsor Pub Charities for their contribution, as well as Barkers and Whitakers for supplying some spot prizes.

Thanks to Sutter Schumacher for the daily summaries.

Leander Trophy 2010 Final Results

Sail Boat Crew Invitation Race Race 1 Points Race 2 Points Race 3 Points Race 4 Points Race 5 Points Race 6 Points Race 7 Points Race 8 Points Total
1 R607 TheVirtual
Paul Roe and Dan Leech 2 1 100.000 1 100.000 5 50.000 1 100.000 1 100.000 1 100.000 3 66.667 2 80.000 696.667
2 R565 92 More FM
Steve MacIntosh and Tony Park 4 4 57.143 6 44.444 2 80.000 3 66.667 4 57.143 4 57.143 1 100.000 1 100.000 562.540
3 R603 L3
Sean Milner and Paul MacGibbon 3 DNF 16.667 2 80.000 1 100.000 2 80.000 2 80.000 2 80.000 6 44.444 4 57.143 538.254
4 R609 International Rope Braids Kevin Holland and Doug Gale 1 2 80.000 5 50.000 3 66.667 4 57.143 3 66.667 3 66.667 2 80.000 5 50.000 517.143
5 R589 Merde
David Pairman and Tim Allan 5 3 66.667 3 66.667 4 57.143 5 50.000 5 50.000 5 50.000 5 50.000 3 66.667 457.143
6 R582 Chemical Weapon
James and Michael Collett 6 5 50.000 4 57.143 6 44.444 6 44.444 7 40.000 7 40.000 4 57.143 6 44.444 377.619
7 R595 Subwoofer
Aaron Jeffries, Matt Bancroft and Jess Hix DNC 6 44.444 7 40.000 7 40.000 7 40.000 6 44.444 6 44.444 7 40.000 7 40.000 333.333
8 R554 VR * Malcolm Snowdon and Ollie Davey 7 7 40.000 8 36.364 8 36.364 8 36.364 8 36.364 8 36.364 8 36.364 8 36.364 294.545
9 R562 Stealth
Steve Bell and Richard Burrows 8 8 36.364 9 33.333 9 33.333 9 33.333 9 33.333 9 33.333 DNC