By Jonathan Kline.
The weekend featured a broad wind range, making the series a challenging one for all competitors. On Day 1 the fleet started in 5 to 8 knots of wind but by mid-afternoon winds of 20 plus knots were fanning the bay. Day 2 featured sustained winds of over 20 knots for 3 of the 4 races, with the wind abating during the last race. The varying wind speeds as well as the fact that it was an offshore wind put the sailors to the test. Wind shifts caused by the land, gusts and lulls all made for thrilling, close racing. “To have light air racing in race 1 and high wind wipeouts in race 3 is just what we hoped for,” said Elliott Association President, Stu Clarke. “We want the challenge of varied conditions and tactical sailing – and Mercury Bay delivered!”
The boats were staged at the Whitianga Marina, and MBBC would like to thank Mr. Dave Munday, Marina Manager and the entire Marina Society for supporting this event, now in its third year in Whitianga. Skippers and crew travelled from as far away as the Bay of Islands to participate in this event, though the bulk of the fleet hail from the Auckland area.
MBBC veteran Race Officer Philip Hart and his mark boat team were able to send off 6 races on the Saturday and 4 races on the Sunday, a 10-race series, which is exactly what the association had hoped for. Bust start lines, tight mark rounding’s and close finishes occurred in every race.
Phil Hart noted after racing, “It is a real challenge to host sailors of this calibre – courses need to be right, timing and scoring perfect, rule enforcement a high priority. MBBC with its experienced race management team delivered the goods once again.”
Podium finishers – 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
Photo credit: Noah Kline.