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New Zealand O'pen Skiff Season starts off with a bang

by New Zealand O'pen Skiff Association 29 Sep 2023 11:37 BST

New Zealand O'pen Skiff sailors kicked off their regatta season this weekend in style at the Northland O'pen Cup in the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands Yacht Club launched into overdrive to move the event to their home club less than 24 hours before the scheduled start, as a change in venue was required. The hard work paid off as sailors, families, supporters, and club members pulled together for an amazing weekend filled with competitive fleet racing, adventure races, food, skiff acrobatics, and fun.

With young O'pen Skiff alumni playing a huge role in running the event from photography to coaching, the spirit of family, friendship, and connection was alive at this three-day event.

Coaches Andy Child and Aevril Hibbard led the coaching clinic on Saturday, 23rd September, under windy and wavy conditions. The clinic had something for everyone with Gold, Silver and Development fleets all honing their skills.

A big push for the NZ O'pen Skiff Class is to create a fun and rewarding experience for kids new to racing through the development fleet program which was an integral part of the weekend events. These sailors are the future of the class!

Points racing started on Sunday. The Gold and Silver Fleets completed four races on the SailGP Course with a reaching start/finish in a 12+ knot shifty southerly. The Development fleet enjoyed short course racing (7 races!!) behind the protection of the hills inside the bay.

After points racing concluded for the day, sailors were towed up the Waitangi Estuary to gorgeous Haruru Falls where they re-rigged their boats for an "anything goes" two-up Adventure Race down the river. Armed with paddles, kicking feet and raucous voices, experienced sailors teamed up with newer sailors to make new friends and learn a thing or two about boat handling and unconventional tactics!

That evening sailors and families told stories about the day's adventures over Nachos and drinks.

On the second day of points racing, the Gold and Silver fleets got in one final race on "The Pretzel" course under a dying southerly. While waiting for wind, the sailors put on a display of skiff acrobatics for the race committee. Points racing shifted to fun racing as the Bridge of Doom arrived and all fleets came together (along with some alumni helms!) for a few fun races. Everyone arrived back on shore with smiles.

Congratulations to all the competitors and supporters for an amazing weekend of O'pen Skiff fun and competition! See what's next (no bailing required!).

Overall Results:

Gold Fleet

  • 1st Ewan Brazle (Manly Sailing Club)
  • 2nd Oliver Tiedemann (Manly Sailing Club)
  • 3rd Hugo Smith (Manly Sailing Club/RAYC)
  • 1st Girl - Valentina Gladiadis (Manly Sailing Club)

Silver Fleet

  • 1st Henry Meldrum (BOIYC)
  • 2nd Finn Manson (BOIYC)
  • 3rd Patrick Kell (BOIYC)
  • 1st Girl - Paige McLachlan-Roberts (BBYC)

Development Fleet

  • 1st Oscar Gumbley (Thames Sailing Club)
  • 2nd Mostyn Bridson (Taipa Sailing Club)
  • 3rd Jackson Leigh (Whangarei Cruising Club)
  • 1st Girl - Frankie Barker (Napier Sailing Club)

Sportsmanship Award - Max Jameson (Napier Sailing Club)

Full results here.

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