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ILCA NZ Nationals - Day 4: Tom Saunders adds NZ Nationals to World title

by Nick Page 23 Jan 10:44 GMT 23 January 2022
Tom Saunders - NZ ILCA National Championships - Day 4, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Picton, January 23, 2022 © Christel Hopkins

The final day of the 2022 ILCA (Laser) Nationals at Queen Charlotte Yacht Club was another cracker, with the scheduled final two races completed to wrap up an extremely successful contest.

Today the breeze was back in the SE, so the racing was again on the far side of the sound, as it was on day 1. When the D flag was raised to release the fleet onto the water the race officer described the conditions on course as "a steady 15 knots". However, as we have all learnt over the last 4 days, steady is not a word applicable to wind in Queen Charlotte Sound! We got wind ranging from not much more than 5 knots up to well over 15 knots with some big shifts and oscillations, but race officer Peter Henderson again set excellent courses for the conditions and gave us two great races for all the fleets.

Favourite Tom Saunders continued to dominate the 41 boat ILCA 7 fleet, adding the 2022 New Zealand ILCA 7 championship to his recent ILCA World Championship win. He did not have it all his own way however, with George Gautrey taking out the first race of the day to finish just 4 points behind Tom in second overall. After getting a bit buried in the days first race Luke Cashmore's second in the final race was enough for him to secure 3rd place overall, just ahead of Luke Deegan with Eroni Leilua 5th. Eroni however left looking very happy after he picked up a new sail as a spot prize at the prize giving! Thomas Mulcahy in 6th overall was the winner of the U21 trophy.

Top Grand Master Andrew Dellabarca won the Masters overall, closely followed by leading Master Kris Decke and leading Apprentice Tim Pitcaithly. These three achieved consistently strong results all weekend, which gave them a significant lead on the rest of the masters fleet, several of whom achieved excellent individual race results but lacked the consistency of the leading three. Nick Page was the leading GGM in 18th overall.

Standout performance of the regatta was Caleb Armit's (Y) perfect 9 point score to win the ILCA 6 overall. He took todays variable conditions in his stride to add wins in both todays races to his scoresheet. George Lane (O) secured second overall with two top 3 races today, matched on the day by Dylan Forsyth (Y) who finished 3rd overall and second Youth. The women's title was closely fought right to the final finish, with Great Pilkington's two 4th places today securing her the woman's title, in her first year out of the youth ranks, and 4th overall ahead of Annabelle Rennie-Younger and Olivia Christie in 5th and 6th overall. Teaghan Denny was the leading Youth Girl ahead of Anna Martin and Gabriella Kenton-Smith.

Apprentice Phil Wild secured the ILCA 6 Masters title with a race to spare by winning the days first race. Ed Tam continued his usual super consistent regatta to secure 2nd overall and the Masters division victory ahead of top GM Werner Hennig in 3rd overall. GGM Pete Thomas bookended the regatta with a win in the last race to match his win in the opening race, securing 4th overall and the GGM trophy. Leading Masters woman was GM Helen Spencer with GGM Gill Waiting and GM Lucia Chagas second and 3rd of the women's masters.

Overall the 2022 nationals will be remembered as an outstanding success. A fantastic venue, enthusiastic club, large fleets, excellent but variable conditions, extremely close racing and fully deserving champions in every division make this one to remember. So thanks to QCYC for hosting the championship, all the volunteers for making it possible and of course Omicron for waiting until after the last race to require the move to Red from tonight!

Next year will be at Murrays Bay Sailing Club so we look forward to a resumption of the excellent competition there.

For full results click here

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