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12 October 2017

New Zealand IOM Nationals – Christchurch, 6-8 October 2017

Thirty six boats contested the NZ IOM Nationals held on Lake Rua, Christchurch, which was hosted by the Christchurch Model Yacht Club. This included two Aussie entries of Russell Gray from Qld and myself from WA. After an overnight flight via Auckland I arrived to a relatively clear day and after a quick nap headed down to the lake to undertake the measurement & registration for the event and have a quick sail. While the sun may have been shining it ended up being an extremely quick sail with the wind chill factor cold enough to freeze the nuts off a brass monkey leading to a prompt return to the warmth of the hotel room.

Travelling to NZ with boat box and rig box saw the need to rent one of the radio yachties most desired vehicles, the mighty Nissan Wingroad! It’s choice bro’. Fully loaded it was off to the regatta for a full day of racing.

Day one of the regatta saw the sun shining but an extremely light breeze blowing across the lake and with the seeding decided it was race time! After a relatively good start in my seeding race I was positioned well and with just a mark rounding followed by a short beat to the finish I felt that I was on a good thing sitting in second place only to be becalmed and run down by the fleet to finish 11th and start my regatta with what I thought might be my drop!

I was a bit disappointed but needed to work my way back into A fleet and start to ascend the ladder, this was short lived. Nearing the first windward mark my boat stopped dead in the water most likely hitting a bag or weed and by the time I was clear of the dreaded item I was last around the windward mark and only managed to fight back through the fleet to add a 28th to my scorecard. Things were now looking grim but at least the sun was shining. Russ pretended to feel my disappointment but I think he was having a good giggle on the inside?

By now, Ian Vickers had sailed two stella races with two race wins against my combined score of 39 points and I began to question why I had even made the effort to get here. Needless to say it wasn’t time for giving up and with the move to A fleet by race 3 the results improved with a 2, 5, 6 to finish the day and positioned in ninth overall.

The weather on day two was no better than that of day one, light, shifty and patchy but this time persistent rain throughout the day. Ian continued his sailing lesson notching up another three bullets with his worst a 6th from the five races sailed. Russell Gray found his way into A fleet and had some good results, while in the mean time I continued to make hard work of sailing the lake finishing up with some mediocre results for the day but moved up to 7th overall.

With the venue well water logged (as well as myself absolutely soaked through and freezing cold) I declined the free beer (yes true!) and attempted to head back to the hotel only to find the mighty Wingroad had a similar day and decided it wasn’t going anywhere. A jumpstart from my Kiwi mates and I was back on track sliding the Wingroad sideways across the soggy and muddy track out of the venue – you can take these things anywhere.

Who would have thought? Day 3, rain, not much wind and still bloody cold! No use packing shorts and thongs down this end of the country, while Hamilton they got a run, in Christchurch forget it. I underestimated the amount of clothing required on this trip but fortunately after spending much of the previous night drying out just about every piece of clothing I had I was ready for yet another day of persistent rain and wet gear.

What we did get is a bit more breeze, not much but it was better than the previous days. The results started to come good with top three placings in each of the races and as the time was moving toward midday I had jumped into 5th overall and starting to think about a podium finish. It was then I was told that there had been a meeting. Where was this meeting? I didn’t hear about it, see it or know anything about it. The outcome was that the next race was going to be the last race. I’m sure this type of thing has happened previously, the Aussie on the charge and it’s time to end the regatta – where did that happen Mr Jones?

Wet and soaked through, once again I could only think of dry clothes and a warm shower. No argument from me. By this time Russ had battled hard but found his way back into the B fleet and I’m pretty sure the fun part was done and dusted and he too was thinking about warmer environs. I’d worked out what I needed to do to grab the podium finish which saw the need for a boat to finish here ahead of another and behind two others but then that boat needed to be four places behind him and so forth, it was all just too hard. Policy set – sail fast and finish in the best position.

In what was my only convincing display of sailing in three days I managed to pull off a race win and finished the regatta 2nd overall while Russell finished a commendable 24th in his first overseas event.

It is without doubt (the scores reflect it) that Ian Vickers is just a cut above the rest. His sailing was impeccable, he quietly sailed out of trouble and remained consistent throughout the event. This bloke is good. Congratulations Ian!

Both Russ and I had a fantastic time, the hospitality provided by our Kiwi mates was second to none, they welcomed us from the time we arrived and couldn’t do enough to ensure that we had a great time. Indications are that at least twelve will be coming to Hobart for the Aussie nationals in February and I can only encourage more Aussies to make the trip across the Tasman to some of the NZ events (remember it’s really only another state of Australia!).

It’s now just a short stop at home to say ‘Hi’ to the wife before heading off to Dallas, TX for the US IOM Nationals being held on the 20th-22nd October.

Sean Wallis
President ARYA
AUS71 

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Lake Rua
Lake Rua
 The mighty Wingroad!
The mighty Wingroad!
Getting into the venue.
Getting into the venue.