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Sean Herbert wins 2021 WASZP Nationals at Wakatere BC

by Elise Beavis/WASZP New Zealand 21 Apr 15:49 BST 22 April 2021
Ready to launch at Wakatere BC - 2021 WASZP Nationals © Wakatere BC

When the 2021 WASZP Nationals was being initially planned, it was anticipated that the best WASZP sailors in the world would be descending on NZ from around the world to participate in the second most exciting monohull foiling event of the year.

Following on the AC36, the 2021 NZ WASZP Nationals and 2021 WASZP Games were expected to continue the foiling hype in large fleet, highly competitive small boat racing in the same waters as the America’s Cup.

Unfortunately not all dreams come true, with Covid19 wrecking havoc around the world, towards the end of last winter we unfortunately had to pull the pin on the 2021 WASZP Games. With no quarantine free travel into New Zealand, the entrants for the nationals were limited to those already in NZ.

Over the National Championship racing and Sunday Slalom 27 boats made it onto the water making it our second largest Nationals fleet ever. With 16 of these sailors being youth (under 19) it shows that the WASZP is an attractive boat to our youth sailors as a primary or secondary boat to sail. Stella Bilger (second girl and 13th overall) is a great example of this who loves sailing WASZP but also sails a 29er.

The four-day regatta was won by Sean Herbert (20yrs), a three times winner of the National Starling Championship.

With some amazing sailing conditions on Thursday, the race officer Paul Davies took the opportunity to get ahead of schedule and run a 4th race. Conditions on Friday were similar with another lovely offshore breeze resulting in flat water and easy foiling conditions resulting in another three races to be run.

Unfortunately as the first boats were launching on Saturday the call was made to return to shore due to wind speeds on the course averaging over 25 knots and gusting over 30. After a beach clean, pizza lunch and waiting ashore in the hope the wind would ease, racing was called off just before 4 pm bringing an end to the 2021 Nationals.

Despite the very strong youth contingent, the three podium spots went to sailors in the open division: • 1st Sean Herbert • 2nd Sam Street • 3rd Alex Mitchell-Barker

Mattias Coutts was the first youth sailor finishing 4th overall. 5th and 6th also went to youth sailors Jake Pye and Seb Menzies.

After missing last nationals, early adopter of the class Jon Bilger was back with a 10th place finish and first master.

For the slalom, flights of four boats races with the top two progressing to the next round. The top eight then sailed a three race series to determine the overall winner. With another, but less stable offshore, the wind was very up and down with some high speed reaches at times and displacement sailing at other times.

In his first ever slalom event Seb Menzies (2019 NZ and 2020 Australian WASZP Nationals winner) took a narrow win. Second to fourth all finished on 10 points with Mattias second and Jake Pye third. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers, particularly to Ed Crook who brought everything together and to Penny Harrison for organising the food and running the onshore program.

Full results: click here

Calling all wannabe female WASZP sailors

If you are wondering how to break into the foiling world and the opportunities that it brings, contact Elise Beavis by completing this form registering your interest or get more information from this story on the Yachting NZ website

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