2013 Elliott 5.9 Traveler Series, Opua Regatta
The fleet of 15 boats (a record for the series in recent years) that contested the 2013 Elliott 5.9 Traveler Series opener sailed out of Opua was evidence of the strong interest in the class, with the Traveler Series format proving a big hit with the sailors.
The annual Opua event always generates a good fleet as there is a strong local club fleet including Chris Hornell (owner of TP52 Kia Kaha) who races his E5.9 Cut Lunch with his family. Although there were a couple of last minute withdrawals, overall class numbers are increasing strongly and as a result the racing is becoming closer and more challenging at each event.
The 2013 Opua regatta featured a few new combinations, some new crews who have joined the class and the usual suspects. 2013 National Champions Simon Manning and Andy Robertson were sailing their old workhorse Voodoo for the first time since 2011. Joining them for the regatta was Daryl Wislang (WBBC, Wellington), ex Camper VO70 bowman.
Mike Sanderson Stratis-Icebreaker was joined by regular crew Will Tiller and also had Matt Steven on the boat for the first time. Brzo, which is a big improver in recent times, was sailed by Class President Nathan WIlliams, Gill Williams and Phil "Fizzle" Houghton. Class Measurer Dave Cochran was sailing the legendary and always fast Zoot Allures.
Former national champion boat Lambada has been purchased by 1993 Champion Brent Mullen who was attracted to the class. Sailing with Kevin Peet and Simon Kidd, the experienced team made a very welcome addition to the racing.
Saturday saw the fleet tow out on the shared towlines and class race officer Paddy Simms get 5 races away in challenging conditions. Positions changed regularly with many boats leading parts of races, and there were pleanty of close finishes. Although a storm was forecast by early evening, the breeze was mostly moderate with only the odd strong squall appearing.
Late in the afternoon, as the rain set in, and with the prospect of a fine Sunday, Paddy sent the fleet home.
The Opua Cruising Club has always proven a great host for the annual event and once again put on a warm and welcoming evening at the club.
Overnight the storm passed through and clear skies greeted the fleet on the tow out to the open waters between Russell and Paihia. Unfortunately the breeze never rose above a couple of knots, and with major swings in direction and a strong tide running, it proved impossible to get a start away and racing was abandoned early afternoon.
The team on Voodoo were the beneficiaries of the abandonment, sitting on a 1 point lead ahead of Stratis Icebreaker and Brzo. Animal Crackers (Chris Maddock) followed up a Nationals runner-up placing with a strong 4th with Shapeshifter (Brett Elliott and Nick Bastow) 5th and Slam Dunk (Stu Clarke) 6th.
The spot prize of a new E5.9 spinnaker, donated by Willis Sails, was won by Mike Sanderson.
The next event is in July 26-27, hosted by Onerahi Yacht Club and sailed from Marsden Cove Marina. The class is expecting at least 3 new owners or returning boats to join the racing.
In a new development for 2013, each regatta and the overall series will be available on http://www.racetrack.co.nz
.The Elliott 5.9 Class and Class 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, Nelson and Queenstown.
The E5.9 Class Association welcomes enquiries and will work with interested sailors and owners to get them into the fleet. Charter boats are occasionally available and there is a restricted supply of second hand boats for sale.
The Association has undertaken several new initiatives including rule changes designed to improve the competitiveness and longevity of the boats and the supply of standard components as well as commencing a project looking at restarting hull/deck production. It operates a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/elliott5.9
) that contains news, details of events, boats for sale and many photos including gear layout shots.
- E5.9 Association