Sorry guys I've been asleep at the wheel.......what great regatta considering the headaches I got the fortnight before Labour weekend and few extra grey hairs.
On the club day 6th October (2 weeks before the National regatta) we notice there was more than normal amount of weed on our keels, it was decided to drain the pond and flush for a couple of days hopefully this would get rid of the weed. We where restricted to only several days as the height of the tides where dropping, on Thursday we shut the gate and opened the 3 top-up pipes from the second pond.
The following weekend the weed had not cleared but became worst, Sunday and Monday club members dragged netted 2 truck loads of weed out of the pond, we where not getting on top of it.
Monday evening the committee started to look at alternative venues for the Nationals, but decided the second pond was the best alternative sailing water as the other venues would have created logistical problems, we even had the commodore at Hamilton ready to apply for an emergency permit to hold the regatta on Hamilton lake.
At one stage we thought we were on top of the weed as Tuesday and Wednesday where overcast and the Filamentous algae growth slowdown and it looked it might be sailable, the council supplied 2 large pumps to raise the water level to its normally sailing level, the seawater fill is about 700 mm below this level so it is topped up from the second pond.
Thursday afternoon the sun came out and you see the algae grow before your eyes.
Saturday of Labour week, Angela Dalton and Daniel Newman where invited to open the regatta, we were lucky with the wind direction from the south west as it blew up the length of the second lake for the 3 days of the regatta.
The feedback from the skippers 6 Australian, 1 Brazilian and the 24 Kiwis was very compliment the American missed his connecting flight at LA which was very pleasing after the issues that occurred in the build-up.
Here's a writeup of the regatta.
Skipper’s Eye View of the 2018 IOM National Championships
A huge WELL DONE to John Beavis and the many people who worked with him to pull off a great regatta on Wattle Farm this year. To this skipper’s eyes, the practice day and three days’ racing were slick, calm and fun which is proof that the underlying organisation was well set up and able to accommodate the thirty thoroughbred racers who lined up for the championship. These included six Aussies and Claudio Vaz with his wife from Brazil.
The regatta started with a warm welcome from numerous NMMS members for the registration, a well-stocked fridge and some warm up racing and went on through the next three days with a well drilled Race Committee handling the Simple Heat Racing System management and results competently. Aussie Anne Walker came to experience SHRS in action and it was a special treat to have her involvement and personality for the regatta.
SHRS seemed to run smoothly. Skippers moved from heat to heat with very few errors. The ANZAM software allowed the Race Committee to allocate heats immediately for the next race, and the race pace was not affected by a valid protest that was held at the end of the day. We completed twelve qualifying rounds by lunchtime on Day 2, and the decision was made to switch to the final rounds for the rest of the regatta in case the wind was awkward on Day 3. It wasn’t, and we raced another eleven rounds in the finals. The fact that skippers get one heat off in every race combined with not needing to change rigs meant a more relaxed mood prevailed for three days.
Socially as well, the club hit the sweet spot. One club member gave up her time to go shopping or sightseeing with any of the skipper’s partners. A substantial lunch weighed the table down each day and drinks and food were appreciated to tell the tall stories and wind down after each day’s sailing. And, for Sunday evening, a superb meal was enjoyed by many at the local Golf Club.
Impressive resilience was shown by the NMMS team in the face of Nature’s efforts to clog the main lake. The team accepted that their hard work leading up to the regatta had amounted to nought. They picked themselves up and made the most of the new lake to get three full day’s racing in, despite the wind swirling and surging through, over, around and along the stand of trees bordering the lake.
And it was that cussed wind that ruled the racing. At one start, I could not find a slot in the front rank of starters, so flipped round to have another go. Five, four, three, two, one, boom!! The other 14 starters slid away from the line, leaving me, less than a metre behind, pointed in the opposite direction, with saggy sails and mirror flat water.
Like most others, I coped with changing places many times in each race, holding my breath as boats caught up or sailed away with a puff that neatly avoided my own boat. My best finish was a first. This was all the luckier because I was last by a mile at the top mark before the last run and final beat to the finish. Just for once, I was the one who creamed up from behind and got the puff that neatly avoided everyone else.
One regular outcome of boats coming up from behind was four or more in line abreast approaching each gate buoy. The judges and observers were well occupied, keeping account of who had to give way, who got through without collision and who had to do penalties. They were also well entertained by the constant chorus of calls for water and protests. Some bad grace emerged, but mostly it was good mannered, because the skippers were all so competent, and possibly because they knew they were being watched by the judges and observers.
Phil took centre stage in one race, having relinquished a high placing on the last run to the fleet of boats that surged up from behind. No less than six boats lined up for the starboard gate buoy as the wind died, each just overlapped on the next boat as the first one came within four boats length. Phil picked up a puff and slid from behind into no-man’s land towards the mark. For a second it looked like a scene out of the Battle of Trafalgar. There was an immediate howl from the six skippers of “Don’t go there 23”, “No room 23” and a quiet “23 does not have right of way” from the judge. Phil being Phil spotted a gap and plunged into it despite the calls, or possibly because of them. No one could hit NZL23 and she popped out in front unscathed.
Talking of Phil, he highlighted the wonderful relationship that developed over the three days between the Kiwis and Aussies. At the prize giving, he brought out a monster trophy for the best performing nation. On realising the seeex Aussies had gained less points than the equivalent ranked Kiwi team, Phil put the trophy away and brought out a tiny silver cup to present to Sean Wallis. This “Inter-Dominion Cup” is now established and to be contested at the respective Nationals.
Congratulations definitely go to the 2018 IOM National Champion, Ian Vickers, who showed us how to get away from consistently accurate starts, how to read the wind well, and how to use opportunities when they presented themselves, all in Ian’s wonderful sportsmanlike manner. Well done Ian.
THANK YOU NMMS for a great time in Auckland.