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A BIG day on the water Day 2 ILCA (Laser) Nationals at Murrays Bay

by Nick Page 20 Jan 2023 22:31 GMT 21 January 2023
Luke Deegan leads Tom Saunders - NZ ILCA National Championships - Day 4, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Picton, January 23, 2022 © Christel Hopkins

Today was BIG. Three races, big shifts, big gusts, big waves, big opportunities, big winners; it was a tough but rewarding day at Murrays Bay for Day 2 of the ILCA Nationals.

Sailors arriving in the boat park were greeted with a light SW breeze and all looked set for a nice day on the water, and so it proved to be, although one suspects significantly more challenging that many expected as they headed out from the beach! By the 1pm start time for the first of today's three races the wind had freshened to about 8-10 knots, but it was shifting significantly from S to SW and there were big holes in the breeze. These conditions continued throughout the first race and into the second, but as the second race progressed the wind freshened significantly to around 15-18 knots, still very shifty and with occasional big gusts.

The wind against tide sea built to a really difficult chop, regularly filling the cockpit of even the top sailors, and the conditions became quite challenging, particularly for the less experienced and older sailors.

With five races now completed the discard came into play today, allowing many sailors to get rid of various indiscretions on the start line etc.

While many found today challenging a few excelled. In the 60 boat ILCA 6 Open fleet youth sailor George Pilkington found the lighter conditions in todays first race difficult, but then did a horizon job on the fleet in Race 4 and also won Race 5 to lead convincingly overall at the halfway stage go the regatta. He is followed overall by a trio of our top women sailors, all of whom had a consistent day.

Annabelle Rennie-Younger is second with Greta Pilkington and Olivia Christie tied on points, three back from Annabelle. Ethan Fong (Y) from Wakatere also had a really strong day, taking second in two races to be second youth boy, 3 points ahead of Zach Stibbe from Otago . Naomi Ferrissey had a tough first race but was strong in Races 4 and 5 with top 10 results to continue to be the leading youth girl, ahead of Maddie Rist and Daniella Wooldridge.

In the 40 boat combined ILCA 7 fleet the racing was extremely close all day, with three different winners for the three races meaning that so far every race has had a different winner. In Race 3 it was overnight leader Luke Cashmore who got the bullet, and a second and third in the other two races see him continue to lead overall.

After a tough reintroduction to the ILCA fleet in the first three races, Americas Cup skipper Dean Barker (M) showed his true mettle, winning Race 4 today and then holding off many of the young guns again to be 6th in todays last race and move up the standings overall. The third race of the day was won by Luke Deegan, who is second overall, closely followed by top U21 sailors Caleb Armit and Dylan Forsyth in 3rd and 4th. 5th overall and convincingly leading the masters is Scott Leith. Tim Pitcaithly is the leading AM in 9th overall while Grand Masters Andrew Dellabarca and Cris Brodie are having a really close battle for the GM crown, lying 10th and 11th overall. Nick Page is the leading GGM in 19th overall, having managed to stay upright all day.

In the ILCA 6 Masters fleet Master Phil Wild continued his domination, winning all three races to lead convincingly overall. Ed Tam (M) and Josh Edmund (AM) continued their close battle for second, with Ed winning the day to lie 2nd overall just a point ahead of Josh, with Tauranga's David Johnson (M) close on their heels. Werner Hennig leads the GM's while GGM Pete Thomas is keeping all the young bucks in sight in 8th overall and Georgina Woldridge leads the Master women.

Tomorrow we again have three races scheduled and similar SW winds are again forecast, although many will be hoping for slightly more forgiving conditions!

For full Results murraysbay.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2023-NZ-ILCA-7-6-4-National-Championships.pdf

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