Winter racing is once more fully active at Mount Maunganui Yacht Club.
The season has so far seen some interesting conditions and a good number of yachts participating.
This year, the Mount Yacht Club has been encouraging participation in its two winter series, the Two Handed (held three weekly on Saturday) and the Open Series (held fortnightly on Sunday). Invitations have been delivered to yachts moored in both marinas inviting owners and skippers to enter into the racing. All new entrants are offered a $50 dining voucher at the MOSC and have their entry fees waived if they join the club.
Getting onto the water
The aim of the winter series is to provide opportunity for yacht owners to use their boats during a time of the year when most are left on the marina until the weather warms up. The series are run with Mark Foy starts which prevents the boat on boat tension normally associated with yacht racing. There are two divisions, the A division for boats of all sizes with full crews and an intention to use all the sails on board (i.e. spinnakers and gennakers, with the odd code zero thrown in). The B division doesn’t allow spinnakers and suits smaller or developing crews. Even without spinnakers, the racing is still interesting and challenging.
The two handed series has so far seen a dominating performance from Peter Linde on Protocol (Farr 38), having won all three races and being a clear favourite to take the trophy. Sunshine (Lotus 9.2) and River Rebel (Lambert 35) look likely to close out the podium places.
Sunshine is also looking solid in the B division of the open series, expecting to share one of the top places with Trendsetter (also a Lotus 9.2).
The club has attempted to encourage a multihull division, with several Tornados joining in but with some fairly gnarly days most have had to stay at home, with Lilli the Pink making the most appearances and taking home a bottle of some sort as a reward for stickability.
The good with the bad
Rascal Tom, a new boat this season has had some great results in the A division, spoiled only by the confusion over mark numbers and the occasional grounding. They could rightly consider themselves hard done by when leading race 4 but mixing up mark C1 with Mark 1, easy to do but the fault is with the Harbour Master not the race officer. Because the prizes at Mount Yacht Club are the traditional sailors rum not only has Gunn received a free meal, but has been getting his liquor cabinet restocked. Truxton, as expected with her new(ish) mainsail, has turned in a couple of great results, starting from the back of the fleet and taking line honours several times. Most of the other boats have had a turn at coming second, with the exception of Wizzard who has suffered at the hands of the handicappers, the weather or the bottom of the harbour. Not Negotiable made a late appearance with a new set of keel bolts and is enjoying a mid fleet battle with the other 35 footers, Pork Chop and River Rebel. With 3 races left for the season, the trophy is still up for grabs.
Winter Sailing can provide some of the best sailing conditions of the year, but also some of the worst. It has been a season of two halves. The first several races were started with light or nil winds which saw boats trading places without actually going anywhere but all races finished in a freshening breeze. The last month has seen consistently cold and blustery conditions, with one noticeable race encountering a strong northerly squall and torrential rain shortly after the start which shattered the fleet. Truxton and Wizzard were caught with kites up and struggled to keep the boats under control and missed the turning mark at number C17, while the early starters struggled to windward. Those skippers that looked ahead and started with smaller sails did well but when the squall passed they suffered and sail changes were call for…until the next squall arrived.
All thoughts are now turned towards completing the Winter Series, which has Prizegiving on 22 September. Thereafter, the Legends Regatta will be held at Labour Weekend.
If you are interested in finding out more about the winter sailing or Labour Weekend (or a free meal at MOSC) please contact the club through the website www.mmyc.org.nz