Sailing away in Picton

Laser sailor Jack Bennett from the host club. Photo: Supplied.

Running the Marlborough/Nelson regional sailing champs was always going to be a big ask for the small, Picton-based, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club but, as always, they delivered.

On December 14-15, QCYC played host to three events – the 2019 Zephyr South Island championships, the 2019 Regional Open Skiff regatta and the 2019 A class South Island championships.

With 90 boats entered and 15 different types of yachts sailing in three different racing courses the pressure was firmly on the club’s volunteer base, who banded together to deliver a great event.

On day one the D flag was raised a little after 10am and all fleets, besides Optimist Rainbow, Green and Open skiff headed out to the outer harbour.

The A course featured Open Optimist, Starling, Splash, Laser, Zephyr, Finn, 420 and Europe class boats, who sailed in light winds (five knots northwesterly) which built throughout the day as three races were completed.

The B course catered for A class, Paper Tiger, Flying Dutchman, 29er, and Weta class boats who competed in 10 knots northwesterly winds, measuring over 15 knots at the end of the day. In the superb conditions spectators were treated to the sight of A-class yachts zooming past on their foils.

Meanwhile, in the inner harbour the junior sailors completed three races.

On Sunday the sailors again split over three courses, the Open skiff heading out with the rest of the fleets while Optimist Rainbow and Green Fleet had the inner harbour for themselves.

The first race started with a light breeze building to 15 knots which built to over 20 knots with gusts up to 30 knots. After race one for course A and race two for course B, further racing was cancelled for the day. There were several capsizes as the boats sailed back to port, but the QCYC safety craft got all sailors safely home.

The Zephyr South Island title was won convincingly by Greg Wright from WBBC while the A class South Island crown was claimed by Dave Shaw from Nelson who won all his races, including lapping some of the other competitors.

The Open Skiff title was taken by William Beg from NPCL, holding off QCYC sailor Fin Stichbury, who placed second.

In the Laser class Jack Bennet took victory over several other QCYC sailors while the Open Class was won by Cameron Doig in his Finn.

The 420 title went to the girls’ team of Eden Amos and Skye Baker while Ben Mangin (NYC) took the Starling crown in front of QCYC member River Hopkins.

In the 29er class the Nelson Team of Jones and Schneider took first place with the QCYC duo of Edwards and Overend second.

The Paper Tiger class saw a clear victory by Nigel Greenbank from QCYC while, in the Flying Dutchman, David Gibb and Craig Pettie were victorious over other Nelson teams.

The Optimist Open grade saw victory by Noah Malpot (NYC) with QCYC sailors Moss Hopkins and Louie Poletti hot on his heels.

The Optimist inner harbour event was won by Emily Preece (Green Fleet) and Harry Pitts (Rainbow Fleet).

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