March 10 & 11 saw eight of the North Island’s best Finn sailors make the quadrennial trek to Lyttleton to take on the ever expanding and healthy South Island fleet. The program promised to be gruelling with 15 races scheduled over 5 days to complete both regattas.
Ably managed by Phil Folter and the Naval Point team both regattas were finished on schedule with only one sailor managing to commit the cardinal sin of hitting Phil’s Y88 used as the committee boat. You know who you are, and yes the standard reparation gift is eagerly awaited (no, not a pot of Epiglass’ finest either).
Day 1 of the South Islands saw the start delayed due to the late arrival of the easterly sea breeze. Finally at 1500 the wind filled in allowing 3 races to be completed in a building 8-18knt breeze. Results saw Karl Purdie narrowly lead Ray Hall and Mark Perrow, each sailor taking a race win. Mark’s performance having been significantly lifted by the recent purchase of one of Jake Lilley’s boats and a new north M1 sail. These early races also featured the emergence of new South Island Finn talent in the form of Brendon Hogg (Christchurch) and Andrew Miller (Timaru). The scene was thus set for the coming week on this first day with each race being a game of inches and good starts being vital. The overall standard of the entire fleet was noted to have markedly improved with everyone having their turn at the sharp end of the fleet.
Day 2 and the fleet was shifted to the western Quail Island course area for two light air (6-10knt) races followed by a more challenging effort in 15-20knts. Karl and David Hoogenboom (stylishly renowned light air flyer, who vehemently denies the Adelaide OK Dinghy contest ironing episode btw Gouch) had the best of the first two races with Mark and Ray each picking up an OCS handing the overall win to Purdie. Race 3 gave the heavies a chance to stretch their legs with Ray winning from Mark with Karl 3rd. The top 3 boats finishing within 5 seconds of each other. Only 5 boats finished all races this day in the top ten and comprised Karl, Dave, Hans Van der Waal, Brendon Hogg and Andrew Miller. Of these 3 were South Island Finns underlining the big step up in both South Island fleet numbers and resultant skill level. Overall results were Karl 1st, Ray 2nd and Mark a scant 0.5 points (due to a dead heat in race 3, day 1 with Christchurch champion Denis Mowbray) behind in 3rd. David Hoogenboom performed to his usual high standard taking out 4th with Counties and All Black rugby legend Alan “Dawsie” Dawson finishing 8th ahead of Finn legend Maurice Duncan in 10th.
Following a day’s measurement and registration the Finn fleet fronted on Thursday for day 1 of what promised to be a close and hard fought National contest. Delayed ashore again waiting for the usually dependable easterly sea breeze to fill in racing finally got underway at 1430 hours for three 6-10knot races. Each race was intense and closely followed by the jury boat as every inch was fought for. The race 2 final gybe mark being contested by 4 boats for first place, all overlapped. Most consistent performer was Karl who on this day ultimately built what was to prove to be a small but significant point gap over Mark and Ray. Mark ended the day 2nd with Ray in 3rd. David,Brendon and Mike Pearson being the only other sailors to place all races in the top ten. Racing was tight with the entire fleet finishing within 5 minutes of the leader.
Finn starts were approximately ten minutes behind the 420’s also holding their nationals at Naval Point. This gap had to be lengthened as the leading Finns were passing the 420 tail enders. Yes a Finn is faster around a windward leeward trapezoid course than a 420.
Day 2 saw the emergence of stronger southerly winds that built from 15-25 knts for the first two races to 20-30+knts for the final Worser Bay Epic of the day. Ray at last being able to give that tall 6’+, 106kg frame a good stretch deservedly won the first two races from Karl with Mark third in each. Karl managed to exact some revenge in the final Wellington type howler to retain the overall point lead going into the final days racing from Ray in second with Mark now in third. The 30+knt downhill runs providing plenty of thrills, spills and talking points in the yacht club later. Finn spirit was magnificently displayed by legend (70+ yrs) Kees Tabak who although choosing not to race helped his fellow mates off and then welcomed them back to the difficult onshore wind ramp. Being drenched head to toe in the process. Karl especially was appreciative of the P Class dad style help given when leaving the ramp.
Day 3 saw 3 sailors close on points and each with a realistic chance of lifting the prestigious national championship. Russell Coutts may have won an Olympic gold in the Finn but he never managed to win a national title. The first race of the day was key to the top 3 sailors and eventually finished with Karl very narrowly finishing ahead of Ray and Mark in that order. The race saw multiple lead changes with tight covering and match racing tactics employed. The ever present jury boat presided giving out penalties when merited and was a welcome addition to the racing. Always on hand to explain his decisions later ashore in the yacht club Ross May performed an awesome and much appreciated job.
Going into the second race of the day the championship was effectively between Ray and Karl. The race started in 10-15knts but soon after 5knt holes and 20 degree shifts littered the course making this quite possibly the most challenging race of the week. The much vaunted left side failed to pay and early regatta leaders were deep in the pack around the first mark. Karl kept a close cover on Ray losing the lead on the 3rd beat with both still deep potentially meaning the result would yet go down to the final race. Finally they broke free on the final two downwind legs to cross the line in 3rd (Karl) and 5th (Ray) places. This result was enough for Karl to win without having to race a final time. With Mark and David in 4th and 3rd places respectively places 2-4 were also sewn up. Final top 4 places comprising the Riccarton Cottage Team of Karl, Ray, Mark and then David (who all thank Lonestar for the steaks at night and Joes Garage for savoury mince and eggs each morning).
Winner of race 2 was local hero Brendon Hogg who sailed magnificently to leave the fleet in his wake, reading the wind shifts to perfection and showing good downwind speed. Chris Wells Christchurch fleet captain had the race of his series to finish a comprehensive second showing that once his back is healed he will again be a major force to be reckoned with.
The final race was contested without Ray, Dave and Mark present as they rushed to pack up and get to Blenheim for an early mornings ferry crossing. Karl won his final race with Mike Pearson of Christchurch finally sailing to his ability to take a well-deserved second. Third went to Denis Mowbray with Chris taking 4th. Overall top South Islander was Brendon Hogg who in his first season in the Finn finished in a well-deserved 5th place. Much interest will be taken in his performance at the upcoming World Master’s Championship along with Mark Perrow. We all wish them the very best.
Twenty tired but well satisfied Finn sailors later convened at the yacht club for prize giving well pleased with the 15 40-60min races completed over both regattas in 5 days. The fleet once again wishes to sincerely thank Naval Point Yacht Club for running exemplary contests, being extremely hospitable hosts and providing outstanding facilities. Communication between the race management team, jurors and sailors could not be faulted.
Review of the final results table showed that although the top 4 sailors were from the North Island the next 8 places were taken by South Islanders. A fact recognised at the class AGM where it was decided to hold future nationals 1 year in 3 in each of the North and South Islands with the remaining regatta held in either of the islands but not in Christchurch or Auckland. The results also do not accurately show the intensity and closeness of the racing. Every race was closely contested between the top half dozen boats with a single key decision often determining the outcome. Interestingly after many years of having no Finn representation sailors from our capital city have now lifted the trophy 5 out of the past 6 years with Josh Junior winning twice and Karl Purdie now three times. The class is a sign of the times with many centreboard national champions and Olympians no longer originating from Auckland. Thought should perhaps be given to moving the Sailing NZ Regatta from Auckland on occasion to other less traffic congested, parking friendly regional yacht clubs which have regatta venues and facilities equal to or better than Auckland yacht clubs. Wellington and Christchurch each have international airports and shipping ports able to cope with international competitors. What a great boost to Olympic and regional yachting that would be.
Eyes now turn to the Auckland Championship to be hosted by Tamaki Yacht Club on 7 & 8 April where the Craig Monk Memorial overall season’s points trophy will be decided.
The Finn is a 4.5m single handed sailing dinghy which has been selected for Olympic competition since 1952. It represents the pinnacle of sailing’s combined strength and cardiovascular fitness requirements. Suited most ideally for men of 85-110kg and 1.8 – 2m in height this boat is not for the faint hearted. In combination with its extensive tuning requirements this boat is truly the most Olympic of all sailing classes. Notwithstanding this the backbone of the class nationally and internationally is its base of 40+ year old members (masters) who each year hold a World Masters Championship where in excess of 200-300 sailors gather, making it one of the largest one design regattas in the world. Contact your local Finn sailor today to be introduced to this class and become a part of the legend.
Top 4 Place Getters Statistics
|Helm||Boat Type||Mast||Sails||Height||Weight||Age Category|
|Karl Purdie||Devoti Classic||Concept||Doyle NZ- LM & MH||1.81m||93.4kg||Grand Master|
|Ray Hall||Devoti Finntastica||Hit||North UK (MH)/WB (LM)||1.93m||106kg||Grand Master|
|Mark Perrow||Devoti Classic||Wilke||North UK LM & MH||1.88m||106kg||Master|
|Dave Hoogenboom||Devoti Classic||Wilke||Doyle NZ- LM & MH||1.82m||87kg||Great Grand Master|
South Island Champs Results
|Rank||Sail No||Helm Name||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||Total||Nett|
|2||2||Ray Hall||2||4||1||(19 OCS)||4||1||31||12|
|3||4||Mark Perrow||3||1||3.5||(19 OCS)||3||2||31.5||12.5|
|5||11||Hans van der Wal||5||6||6||-7||5||6||35||28|
|11||265||Mike Pearson||4||7||7||(19 DNC)||19 DNC||19 DNC||75||56|
|13||19||Denis Mowbray||8||8||3.5||(19 DNC)||19 DNC||19 DNC||76.5||57.5|
|14||18||Gerard Lelieveld||(19 DNC)||19 DNC||19 DNC||2||7||13||79||60|
National Champs Results
|Rank||Sail No||Helm Name||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||R7||R8||R9||Total||Nett|
|2||2||Ray Hall||3||4||3||1||1||2||2||5||(21 DNC)||42||21|
|3||4||Mark Perrow||6||1||2||3||3||3||4||4||(21 DNC)||47||26|
|4||10||David Hoogenboom||5||5||4||6||8||4||3||6||(21 DNC)||62||41|
|5||5||Brendon Hogg||8||3||7||10||(21 DNF)||6||5||1||6||67||46|
|6||265||Mike Pearson||4||8||9||-11||11 ARB||5||7||8||2||65||54|
|7||11||Hans van der Wal||-12||9||6||5||9||7||9||7||7||71||59|
|10||19||Denis Mowbray||15||10||5||9||7||(21 DNF)||12||11||3||93||72|
|11||20||Chris Wells||(21 DNC)||21 DNC||21 DNC||7||10||9||6||2||4||101||80|
|12||30||Andrew Miller||9||13||8||12||12||(21 DNF)||8||9||9||101||80|
|15||23||Alan Dawson||10||11||12||19||13||(21 DNF)||15||15||13||129||108|
|16||28||Nick O'Neill||16||14||15||13||17||(21 DNF)||19||14||10||139||118|
|17||193||Gerrit Bearda||13||16||16||14||15||(21 DNF)||16||18||21 DNS||150||129|
|18||213||Maurice Duncan||(21 DNC)||21 DNC||21 DNC||17||14||21 DNF||17||12||14||158||137|
|19||44||Peter Delaney||17||15||17||18||18||(21 DNS)||18||19||21 DNS||164||143|
|20||44||Kees Tabak||(21 DNF)||18||21 DNF||21 DNC||21 DNC||21 DNC||20||21 DNC||21 DNS||185||164|