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ILCA NZ Nationals - Day 1: Two wins for Saunders and Armit on Opening Day in Picton

by Nick Page 20 Jan 11:03 GMT
NZ ILCA National Championships - Day 1, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Picton © Christel Hopkins

An excellent fleet of 92 ILCA sailors divided into three divisions; ILCA 7 (including Masters), ILCA 6 Open & Youth and ILCA 6 Masters contested the opening day of the 2022 ILCA Nationals at Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Picton.

Two races were completed today as scheduled in a fresh SE breeze. PRO Peter Henderson set a great start line and course, seeing all races completed without a general recall, with just a couple of over eager souls picking up OCS's on the day.

After basking in 30 degree temperatures for the last few days in Picton an overnight southerly change certainly chilled things down quite a bit today and caught out more than a few rather underdressed sailors. The club was very sheltered, with light puffy breezes in the bay. This made for a bit of a hike out to the racecourse area in the main sound, but once out in the channel we had solid breeze all day. It was a typically fairly shifty and gusty and certainly offered plenty of opportunity for those alert enough to make the most of the conditions, while causing quite a few swims for those who lost concentration.

In the ILCA 7 fleet the heavyweights had good days as expected, with reigning World Champion Tom Saunders leading after duelling it out the whole way with George Gautrey, who was on the podium at the 2019 worlds, closely followed by previous National Champion Luke Cashmore (U21). Samoan Olympic rep Eroni Leilua had a good third in the second race, recovering from a challenging first race. In the Masters, who raced in a combined fleet with the Open 7's, there was very close racing with Kris Decke (M), Andrew Dellabarca (GM), Tim Pitcaithly (AM) and Rob Woodward (M) all having consistently good days and mixing it with the open fleet sailors, with Kris leading the Masters by a single point after day 1.

In the ILCA 6 Open and Youth fleet reigning champion Caleb Armit (Y) again showed his class with 2 bullets, closely followed by George Lane (O) with two seconds. Annabelle Rennie Younger leads the Women, in 3rd place overall, just one point ahead of leading Youth girl Greta Pilkington.

In the ILCA 6 masters GGM Pete Thomas showed the cunning that comes with old age, finding the magic shift to take out the first race and deny defending champ Phil Wild (AM) a clean sweep for the day. Phil was as usual in a close tussle with leading Master Ed Tam all day and got so engrossed in that battle that they let Pete through for the win. So Phil leads from Ed with GM Roger Winton also having a solid day to sit 3rd overall, just ahead of Pete Thomas

So a good solid start to the championships with the favourites generally to the fore. The weather forecast for tomorrow is for lighter winds, so we may see some shuffling of the standings with a different set of conditions.

For the Day 1 results click here

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