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Canterbury Champs 2009

Consistent racing from Steve MacIntosh and Tony Park has earned them the 2009 Canterbury Champs crown. Points were close at the top, but they showed that outright pace isn't everything. They won the series over two Saturdays at Charteris Bay and NPCL.

28th November Charteris Bay Yacht Club

We always look forward to the flat water in Charteris Bay and once the breeze is in the sailing is always fantastic. The Charteris Bay Regatta Weekend is one of the season highlights for the R's. Charteris Bay hosts quite a few class championships over the weekend. This means we get to sail among much larger fleets of other boats than usual and makes for added fun on the start line and race course. We were starting 4th on the card, so there were a lot of other craft to navigate through.

Race start was delayed for one and a half hours until some NE breeze finally materialised and settled. Most of the fleet opted to drift across from NPCL to Charteris rather than drive, and drift they did.

Once there was some breeze, just foiling around (or mostly trying not to) before the starts and trying to avoid the many Optis, P's, Starlings, Lasers, Flying Fifteens, chase boats and some cats was challenging in itself.

Race 1:

Started in seriously subfoiling conditions, meaning the three boats opting to use foils were in their own race at the back. When the breeze really was light the foilers, even with the flap disconnected, were definitely disadvantaged. By the end of the first lap the breeze had filled just enough that Paul Roe and Dan (ring-in crew) Leech managed to barely get TheVirtual up on foils. They were then able to haul in all the other boats, bar More FM. Steve MacIntosh and Tony Park were lucky not to be pipped on the finish line by the fast closing foiler. Sean Milner and Andy Gallagher sailed their best race of the day for 3rd on L3.

Race 2:

Breeze: Barely foiling at the start and slowly building. TheVirtual was able to foil off the start and were never seen again. Dave Pairman and Tim Allan in the foiling Merde weren't quite as quick as they were having trouble both getting up and then staying on the foils. They had very close racing with Steve and Tony. By the finish of the Race Dan and Paul had put a lap on the fleet,  passing by the top mark to the finish as the second and third boats were hoisting their kites for the final lap. 

Race 3:

Not a lot of breeze over by the start area (which is sheltered from the NE), but just enough to foil again. The breeze built to 18- 20kts by the end of the race.  It was very gusty near Quail Island where the main part of the course is set.  TVL won comfortably with Merde second and More FM 3rd.

On the Weapon, James and Michael Collet sailed particularly well in the tricky conditions to record two 4th placings in Races 1 and 3, while Sean and Andy had a day to forget.

Both TheVirtual and Merde had added a layer of uni to their wands during the week, and the stiffer wand was a definite improvement. TheVirtual  also runs much more aggressive gearing which was helping to keep them on the foils in the more marginal conditions and made the boat much more stable downwind. Unfortunately at high speeds the wands are still bending too much so more uni is called for.

100m out while returning to shore Dan and Paul managed to hit the bottom while dropping the boat down off the foils. The end of the main foil hit mud and separated cleanly (luckily) from the vertical. The repair was pretty trivial as the pushrod and flap were undamaged. It could definitely have been a lot worse had that joint not failed. Looks like its time to go retractable like Merde.

5th December NPCL

Forecast was 25kts NE, with an outgoing tide. Fortunately it only got to just over 20kts, but the chop was definitely steep!

Due to the forecast the club chose to run the races toward Governors Bay, which means less chop, but the breeze was somewhat gustier.

Race 1

Racing was close at the front with L3 just managing to haul in MoreFM on the finish line, Chemical Weapon was not far behind in third. Merde and TheVirtual were both late for the start.  Merde ended up with a DNS and TheVirtual having bent their morse cable on the way down to the start were unable to foil properly and limped around for last place.

Race 2

Starting on time worked well for Merde who scarpered around for the win. Their modified (more uni again) wand was working well in the stronger conditions. L3 having a much better day was a safe second  and MoreFM sneaked in for third. 

Final Results after 5 races (no drops)

Sail Number Boat Crew Points
1 R565 More FM Steve MacIntosh and Tony Park 393.334
2 R607 TheVirtual Paul Roe and Dan Leech (Charteris Bay), Jess Hix (NPCL) 380
3 R603 L3 Sean Milner and Andy Gallagher 353.81
David Pairman and Tim Allan
Chemical Weapon
James and Michael Collet
Massive Attack
Kevin Holland and Doug Gale
Dan Folter and Michael Anderson


As always it comes down to finishing well in all races. With 4 different boats winning races in a variety of conditions, the most consistent team, in the oldest boat, were the deserved winners of a hard fought Canterbury Championship.

The foilers are getting their act together and often have impressive pace. Once they can consistently do this they really will be untouchable. Currently TheVirtual seems to have a speed edge over the other foilers and seems to fly earlier, more smoothly and point higher. Merde's string control system has better reliability and really does seem to be the way forward. Its certainly much easier to implement on the older boats and isn't prone to the compression problems (bent/broken cables) that L3 and TheVirtual have suffered. Really all it seems to need is more tweaking. 

The compression loads at high speed, especially with the much stiffer wands, are higher than we expected. So this week the TheVirtual guys have swapped the bellcrank and wand around to use a  tension based system.