Race faces ‘sur­vival sail­ing’

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JES­SICA MAD­DOCK

About 40 boats are ex­pected to race on Lake Wanaka this week­end, in the lo­cal yacht club’s an­nual re­gatta. Wanaka Yacht Club pub­lic­ity of­fi­cer Roger North said the event, spon­sored by Mitre 10, was the largest on the club’s cal­en­dar and at­tracted sailors from Christchurch south, and oc­ca­sion­ally the North Is­land. Buoys would be used to in­di­cate the course, but the di­rec­tion the boats would take could not be an­nounced un­til just be­fore each race, as it de­pended on the wind. Eight races were planned across Fri­day night and Satur­day, and on Sun­day en­durance races would be held, around Mou Tapu Is­land for the larger boats and Ruby Is­land for smaller ves­sels. In a rhumb line - the straight­est route a ves­sel could take - the en­durance races were 25 kilo­me­tres and 6km but they were likely to be much longer in re­al­ity, North said. The Wanaka Lakes Coast­guard would be present through­out the re­gatta, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the Mou Tapu Is­land race, which could be­come ‘‘sur­vival sail­ing’’ de­pend­ing on the con­di­tions. In the other races, the yachts and dinghies would be sep­a­rated into four di­vi­sions of sim­i­lar boats, with a hand­i­cap sys­tem lev­el­ling the play­ing field. An­other di­vi­sion would pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for the skip­pers of Etchells to race. Th­ese nine-me­tre one-de­sign light­weight rac­ing ves­sels had be­come so pop­u­lar in Wanaka that the event now dou­bled as the na­tional fresh­wa­ter cham­pi­onships. De­fend­ing cham­pion Jeff Mercer, of Wanaka, skip­per of Grenade, was ex­pected to be up against about eight other Etchells. A tough com­pe­ti­tion was an­tic­i­pated. Races be­tween other pop­u­lar classes, Fly­ing Fif­teens and Noelex 22s, were also ex­pected to be hotly con­tested and the ju­nior dinghy sail­ing was al­ways a high­light, North said.

Photo: ANTONY HANSEN, WANAKA TV

Ready to race: Etchell yachts prac­tice on Lake Wanaka ahead of this week­end’s an­nual re­gatta.

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