10 races were sailed in moderate to strong breeze with shifty and gusty conditions making for plenty of challenges. Some tidal effects also affected the racecourse, which was situated off the Russell township by class PRO, Paddy Simms.
With a couple of late withdrawals from the Opua boats, including top local crew Cut Lunch, the visitors dominated proceedings on day one. The Blurr (RAYC – Simon Manning, Andy Robertson and Hayden Whitburn) won three of the five races on day one to hold a reasonably comfortable lead. The next few boats had mixed up the positions with Brzo (Gillian Williams, Andrew Cooke and Nathan Williams) and national champion Slam Dunk (RAYC - Cam Horne, Stu Clarke and Andrew Clarke) each with one win.
Also from RAYC and sailing the borrowed Voodoo, Craig Coulam, Patrick Leach and Cody Banks were close behind in fourth. Inspection of the provisional results table over dinner and drinks back at the Opua Cruising Club showed that The Blurr had a reasonable points buffer after day one, while the next few places were close.
Things changed on the Sunday with Voodoo finding another gear, sailing fast and picking their way through the major shifts to take four out of five guns. This got them through to second overall. The other heat win on day two went to Brzo. The Blurr crew sailed conservatively, stayed away from the corners and kept close to the fleet to protect their overall lead – scoring a string of seconds and thirds. Other boats to feature close to the front at times were Hobo, Icebreaker and Frivolous Fish
In the final calculations, The Blurr won overall from Voodoo. Third was Brzo (Gillian Williams, Andrew Cooke and Nathan Williams). Current NZ Champion skipper, Cam Horne, who had helmed the E5.9 class entry to a win in the recent RAYC Champion of Champions regatta, was fourth on Slam Dunk.
As always Opua Cruising Club was a fantastic host and the event has become a popular annual venue for the class.
Several boats have changed hands recently in Opua and Auckland and there are three new crews buying boats in the Auckland area. This should see the closely fought North island circuit become even tighter.
Onerahi Sailing Club will host the next regatta in the series on July 28-29. Other events are set for Marsden Cove, Turangi (North Island Champs) and the class will sail their Auckland Champs as part of Sail Akarana in September.
The Elliott 5.9 Class and Association
Offering close racing and great social events built around a North Island weekend regatta circuit, the Elliott 5.9 class is the perfect 3-person syndicate boat. The class is relatively low maintenance and is sailed by a crew of 3. No rail meat - everyone has a job! There are active fleets in Opua, Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington, and New Plymouth with boats in other venues like Picton, Lyttleton and Queenstown.
The Elliott 5.9 Class Association operates a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/elliott5.9) that contains details of events, boats for sale and many photos. Boats for sale are listed as well as gear layout shots.