Father-Son Duo Wins New Zealand Sunburst National Championships
Father-Son Duo Wins New Zealand Sunburst National Championships
FATHER-SON DUO WINS NEW ZEALAND SUNBURST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Catch Up With Winner Andrew Wills, Who Sailed With His His 9-Year-Old Son Leo
North Sails Sales Expert Andrew Wills is a 2 time World Maxi title winner and an Etchells class World Champion, in which he has also won North American and European titles. Wills has also claimed over 30 national championships in various classes and has also successfully coached many Youth National and World champions who have become America’s Cup and Olympic winners. All of that is quite impressive, but now Andrew can say he is a National Champion in the Sunburst Class, alongside his 9-year-old son, Leo.The Sunburst Class was originally designed in the late 1960s in New Zealand, by John Balmain Brooke. It became an extremely popular class, as it was a great vessel to teach beginner sailors, and kids. Intended as a two-person boat, the Sunburst is easily sailed single-handed in light to moderate conditions. The Sunburst is usually rigged with a mainsail, jib, and a small spinnaker. The perfect boat for a parent-child duo…Leo had only recently completed his first learn to sail course prior to hopping in the 3.5 meter dinghy with his father. According to Yachting New Zealand, the father-son duo had never sailed the Sunburst together before, so Thursday after school, Andrew scooped Leo up for a shake down sail. At the top mark Leo made it absolutely clear to his father that they would not be flying the spinnaker, and Andrew listened to his son’s demand. Going into day one of racing, Andrew considered entering the non- spinnaker division, to ease Leo into the boat, but Bruce Yarton, the event organizer, stated that the two fleets would start together, so Andrew should pack the spinnaker, and only hoist it if Leo is ready. Bruce also gave Andrew some winning words of wisdom - “take some lollies, and give him one every time you hoist the spinnaker.” (Yachting NZL). Conditions over the three-day event saw light breeze and flat water, the perfect recipe for the Wills team, sailing on Starblaze. Being such a family friendly event, the Sunburst Nationals saw several family teams competing. The seven-race series saw five teams in total winning a race, and eight of the top nine teams were family teams, they also swept the podium. Andrew and Leo Wills won the event by four points.Andrew told Yachting New Zealand that he “doesn't really know where his sailing journey will take him as a parent but is keen to do more with his children, even if it means parting with a few more lollies.”
North Sails and the Sunburst Class -
Over the years North Sails has worked with quite a few teams refining our Sunburst designs. Each time just making the design a little better. What we have come up with is a very fast all round set of sails which is very easy to set up and trim. We also have the very best team making the sails with over 40 years of experience. Both Derek Scott and Rod Chave have been working for North Sails New Zealand for over 20 years and that proves they love and care about making the fastest sails they can.
Upcoming Regatta Repair Schedule
North Sails Certified Service Experts will repair your sails overnight. Our Service van is on-site at select events, offering regatta venue pick-up and drop-off. Tears happen, but they shouldn’t leave you without a key piece of race inventory. Look for our North Sails Certified Service Experts at the following regattas this season. *All pickups will be 4:30-5:30pm and drop offs will be 7:30-8:00am.
NYYC ANNUAL REGATTAJune 9-10 | Sail Newport, The Alofsin Piers
BLOCK ISLAND RACE WEEKJune 17-22 | Block Island Maritime Center
SAIL NEWPORT REGATTAJuly 8 | Sail Newport, The Alofsin Piers
ORC ECC / IC37 NATIONALSJuly 14-15 | The Alofsin Piers
12M WORLDSAugust 1-4 | IYRS Pier
SAFE HARBOR RACE WEEKENDAugust 11-13 | Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard Pickup
NYYC INVITATIONALSeptember 9-16 | New York Yacht Club Harbor Court
IC37 NORTH AMERICANSOctober 6-7 | Sail Newport, The Alofsin Piers
Talk To A Service Expert
North Sails-powered TP52 Crush is victorious in the 700 nautical mile Fremantle to Exmouth Race.
David Davenport’s North Sails powered TP52 Crush has added a third race record to their long list of achievements in 2023, with the latest line honors win taken in the Fremantle Exmouth Race and Rally along Australia’s iconic western coast. North Sails Expert Andrew Harry commended the team’s efforts in the complicated race, “it was a great race for a lot of our clients. It’s the first time that the boat has done this race, and they add another race record to their names.” “Previously this year, they set a new record for the Bunbury return, which is 180nm, and the Cape Naturaliste and Return race which is 210nm, so three race records this year for the team, and all have been standing for quite some time. They won IRC overall in the race as well, which is part of our Bluewater Pointscore and secured the overall win for them this year in the series, so it’s a great win for the guys.” There was another win for North Sails customers in the long-distance race, with Alan Stein winning both the Overall PHF and Division 1 titles in his Pogo 40 called Fat Bottom Girl. “North Sails Expert Kyle Dodds onboard with Alan for the race, as he used to work in the Perth loft and sail with him before moving over to Sydney.” Andrew highlighted the development the team has worked with Alan on recently, saying, “Just three months ago, we put new sails on the boat, including all new 3Di inventory, and it really has transformed the boat. Alan’s really loving the sailing, and in this race, he won PHF, and he was fourth across the line as well. He’s stoked and really happy with the boat’s progress!” Unfortunately for Andrew and the crew on Obsession, they weren’t able to finish the race to Exmouth. “It wasn't the greatest for us, we got 100 nautical miles in and in a bare headed change, the breeze increased to about 35kts and we destroyed our headfoil, so therefore it gave the rig a bit of a shake, so we had to turn around. But the team and I all made our way up to Exmouth so we’re all here to support the rest of the fleet as they come in!” commented Andrew. “The first six hours of the race was really fresh, with easterly breezes between 18 to 38 knots, giving the fleet great power reaching conditions straight up the coast. As they got further north, there were a lot of shutdowns in the breeze, and it got a little trickier and more complex tactically. There was some great sailing going on out there, and everyone had fun with a big smile on their face as they arrived, so all in all, a successful race!” “It’s a great race. It's only the third time it’s been run, so over the last 30 years, it’s typically a long-distance race with a 1500nm around Bali, but as things changed over the past few years, it got moved to the beautiful Exmouth.” See full results from the 2023 Fremantle to Exmouth Race and Rally here.
Fun For Sailors Of All Ages
The Dutch Shoe Marathon is almost a 5-mile race, a long-distance race in the world of 8-foot dinghies. The race starts in between San Diego and Southwestern Yacht Clubs and finishes at the Coronado Yacht Club. Every year almost 200 jr and sr. sailors come to race this fun race. For most of the Jr. sailors ,this will be a challenging and difficult race to complete. We asked rockstar coach Jon Rogers and last year's winner Ronan Servais for some tips.
How do you help prepare competitors for a race like the Dutch Shoe?
It's a long race. The first thing I do is to remember that it is as much an experience as it is a race. I triple check everything during the week before to try and ensure nothing breaks. I also check the weather forecast and tide so that I know what point of sail I will be on mostly on.
Why do you like the T6 mainsail?
The T6 is a good sail to cover all the conditions that we experience. It is especially good in events that have lots of boats and the related disrupted wind and chop that come with that. The T5 is a great sail, especially for smaller kids, but once the conditions get chopped up, the T-6 has a little more power to deal with it.
What is your advice for fuelling up for such a long journey?
I always remind competitors to bring a good amount of food, snacks and something good to drink. It can be a long race and all those little “pick me ups” help keep the mind focused. I tell kids to always bring something sweet that they really like. For me, it’s a frozen Snicker bar. Previous 2022 Dutch Shoe Winner Ronan Servais shares his tips on how to prepare for the race and what he likes most about the North T6 mainsail.
How do you prepare for a race like the Dutch Shoe? It's a long race!
It's a long race, so I get my snacks, fill up my water bottle and make sure my boat is ready to go. Last year my Dad and I reviewed my boat checklist the week before, which included a trip to North Sails, to inspect and pick up my new T6. I also suggest trying to get a good night's sleep and eat a big, healthy breakfast.
Why do you like the T6 mainsail?
I like the T6 mainsail because I go really fast with it. I have two hiking straps in my sabot so I can hike out farther and handle the power of the T6.
Do you bring any snacks with you for such a long journey?
Yes. I like cookies, candy bars and root beer.
What are your sabot sailing goals in 2023?
My sabot sailing goals for 2023 are to move up to Sabot A Fleet, and get a podium finish in an A fleet regatta. I’d also like to compete in the Dick Sweet Team Race for the first time with my SDYC teammates.
What are your future goals in sailing?
I’d like to learn to sail the C420 very well and then win a regatta in the Class.
Stop by the Dutch Shoe Marathon this year at San Diego Yacht Club where you can enter to win a North Sails Pace SUP. Must be present to win. The winner will be drawn and announced at the awards ceremony on July 21st, 2023 at Coronado Yacht Club. Don’t forget, order now and save 15% on Sabot sails plus have your new sail delivered before the Shoe!