Some well known sailors have joined the circuit in 2012. Best known is Mike Sanderson, former world sailor of the year, who has made a return to the class after many years away - purchasing twice NZ Champ boat Icebreaker and undertaking a minor upgrade to the rig and gear in the weeks prior to the event. Sanderson is a former National Champion in the class, when he launched and sailed Lambada in 1993.
Marsden Cove and Bream Bay is a favorite venue for the Elliott 5.9 fleet, and the Northland weather didn't disappoint with both days providing a variety of sailing conditions and some great conditions.
The class has always provided close racing but now with new boats joining the fleet the racing was extremely competitive with some of the mark roundings providing great entertainment to those observing the action.
The fleet sailed 10 races and heat wins were spread around four boats - wins went to regulars the Blurr (RAYC, Auckland) owned and sailed by Simon Manning and Andy Robertson with Hayden Whitburn on bow, veteran sailor Rob Ward and his team on Hobo (Onerahi), as well as two new crews in their second events - Animal Crackers (Auckland) skippered by Chris Maddock (with Booboo on board) and Ewok skippered by Craig Coulam (RAYC).
The new crew on Icebreaker, with Mike Sanderson at the helm, missed what would have been a first bullet when they (along with the Blurr) were adjudged OCS in heat 7.
Nathan Bonney of RAYC in Auckland sailed his first event on Brilliant with a crew from RAYC in Auckland.
In the final tally the Blurr took out the regatta with a very consistent Zoot Allures (Dave Cochran, Onerahi) second and Icebreaker third. The Blurr leads the 2012 series overall with just the 2012 North Island Champs in Turangi remaining.
Elliott 5.9; navigating the future of the class.
During the regatta the class voted to pass several new measurement and operating rules that had been proposed by the E5.9 Class Association. These changes were designed to improve the one-design nature of the class and preserve the value of existing boats, while also enabling new boats and standard components to be more easily constructed. There are several parties interested in building new boats and the association is working with them, and several suppliers to encourage the project to proceed.
The E5.9 is a great syndicate boat with many of the boats owned and campaigned by partnerships. This provides a committed crew and economical racing.
Elliott 5.9 Traveller Series; 'leave them wanting more'
After a period of consolidation and some experimentation with the scheduling, the E5.9 Association has focused on maintaining what isa proven formula with the popular Traveller Series.
The series comprises 5 weekend regattas (usually May to mid November) around the upper North Island and which are now carefully timed to avoid other key events such as SSANZ shorthaul racing, the big one-design nationals such as Y88's and and other major events. This means that many of the crews can (and do) race other boats, often teaming up with other E5.9 sailors.
These initiatives have seen the fleet experience a surge in interest and fleet sizes are returning to those of several years ago.
2013 Nationals a 30 Year milestone for the Class
2013 is a big year for the Elliott 5.9 as 30 years will have passed since the first three boats made such an impact at the 1983 NZ Trailer Yacht Nationals. The regatta will be sailed from March 21-24 in Auckland, as part of the BMW Auckland Regatta.
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 Lyttleton and Queenstown.
The Elliott 5.9 Class Association operates a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/elliott5.9) that contains news, details of events, boats for sale and many photos. Boats for sale are listed as well as gear layout shots.