Wednesday, 20 March 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Mercury Bay alive with sail during New Year’s Day Race

Mercury Bay Boating Club’s annual New Year’s Day Race took place on Tuesday last week with a slight twist as there were two fleets. Fleet 1 had nine local keelers pitted against four visiting yachts from Auckland and Tauranga. Fleet 2 was made up of five smaller yachts, four Hobie 16 catamarans and a Laser. They were racing a shorter course better suited to these exciting little boats.

The boats in Fleet 1 were truly diverse. Among the local yachts there were seven reasonably normal mono hulls as well as an immaculately restored Dragon, a 29ft keelboat (raced in the Olympic Games from 1948 to 1972), and Windborne, a 62f gaff rigged schooner, possibly the most distinctive and recognised yacht in Whitianga.

The visiting yachts were two mono hull keelers and two wide and very quick trimarans.

The Bay turned on lovely sailing conditions throughout the race - from the start buoy opposite the Mercury Boating Club to the Windy Buoy, back to the start buoy, to Simpson’s Beach, back to the start buoy, to Cooks Beach and back to the start (finish) buoy. Kuihi, one of the trimarans (from Tauranga), skippered by Mark Carter, took line honours in a time of one hour, 36 minutes and 12 seconds.

H2Go (Paul Dimock) was the first of the locals home just under seven minutes behind Kuihi, followed by Pterodactyl (Carl Reinsfield).

The club’s spectacular handicap trophy went to Pterodactyl.

Fleet 2 started 30 minutes after Fleet 1. Their course was from the start buoy to the Windy Buoy, back to the start buoy and two triangles formed by the start buoy, the Windy Buoy and an offset mark.

Youth sailing coaches Jonathan Kline and Chris Devenoges ultimately claimed handicap honours on Hobie Wan Kenobie (a Hobie 16), followed by Wild Cry, a Hobie 16 with Gary Carse and Russell Chaney, another youth sailing coach, on board.

What a picture the two fleets made on Tuesday. Mercury Bay was alive with sail while Shakespeare Cliff, Tower Rock, Centre Island and Devils Point stood proudly and formed the perfect backdrop. 

Picture: Three of the Fleet 1 yachts and one Fleet 2 Hobie 16 catamaran. (Photo by Helen Hart)

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.