STARTING THE ONE DESIGN SEASON WITH SUCCESS
Etchells and Young 88 National Titles Claimed by North Clients
Hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, North-powered teams had a great event in windy conditions, finishing with a clean sweep on the podium. Defending champion and Sales Manager of North Sails New Zealand, Andrew Wills (Willzy), helmed the winning boat Cruel Jane with One Design Manager, Derek Scott, on the bow.
“It had been a long time since Derek and I sailed together,’’ Willzy explains, “but it was an absolute pleasure. We have been friends since we were teenagers and have worked together for about 15 years.’’
Sailing with them as the mainsheet and kite trimmer was Anatole Masfen who has also been sailing with Willzy for many years. As well as having a good crew dynamic, the three sailors are experienced Etchells sailors but only sailed the boat twice this year in the lead up to the Nationals, which Willzy said made him feel a little nervous as some of the other teams were well prepared and were sailing fast.
“The standard and depth of the New Zealand fleet have really improved as of late, which is great to see,’’ Willzy explains. “Alongside Fifteen + and Alliance who finished second and fourth overall respectively, we chose two newly designed headsails (MAL & GT) for the event. They were fast out of the box which meant we had a great first day, winning three of the four races which set us up well for the last day which brought a little more breeze, but nice flat water. Racing was tight with everyone keeping a close eye on the competition and their points. Special mention to Jannet Airey – this was her first nationals as Race Officer and the courses were faultless.’’
Harken Young 88 Nationals
After a postponed Harken Young 88 Nationals, the regatta successfully went ahead at the end of November with 16 boats on the line raring to go. Racing between St Heliers and Rangitoto, congratulations to North powered team Raging Hormones who took home the National title after eight races.
Sailing as tactician with owner Zane Gifford helming, Andrew Wills raced with fellow North expert Matt Kelway on the bow: “It was awesome to see so many teams out for the Nationals as it has been such a disruptive year for sailing in general,’’ says Kelway. “The racecourse was tricky with shifty conditions and a decent breeze on the final day. The key to the event this year was consistency; you had to be quick but also patient with the wind shifts and just find little moments to fight your way back in each race. The new sails complimented the existing inventory and were able to change modes really well through the range. I hope to see the class numbers up for the remaining Sprint Series and of course the Nationals next year.’’
“We had a new 3Di genoa and Radian mainsail for this event, both of which seemed fast from the get-go,’’ Willzy comments. “The fleet size is increasing again which was good to see. Our strong point was consistency and being able to dig out of bad situations. I also felt very confident with our boat handling, crew work, and physicality which really helped, especially on the last day when the breeze built. The wind was oscillating so it was key to stay in phase, both upwind and downwind. Being able to foot off, fast, to the next header seemed really important.
It was great to do well against such strong competition and equally, to see so many of our customers sailing fast and achieving strong results. I know many of them are very passionate about sailing their boats and have put lots of time in, so seeing them being rewarded for their efforts was brilliant.’’
Sailing onboard Nick Gillies’ Waka Huia, One Design expert Matt Steven comments on the level of competition within the event: “This regatta was probably the most competitive in recent history for the 88’s. The 16 teams brought very mixed results, so consistency was the winning formula. On Waka Huia with a full North inventory, we put the boat in too many tight spots on the first day, and as a result, did multiple penalty turns. On day two, we got the boat sailing in a really nice groove and placed really well, clawing ourselves back up the leaderboard. Raging Hormones were a class act and well-deserved winners.”
To discuss inventory options for either the Etchells or Young 88, visit the class page and talk to a local expert.