Sail Auckland concludes
Sail Auckland 2011 is over with gold medals going to Tom Ashley and Kate Ellingham in the RS:X, Andrew Murdoch and Sara Winther in the Laser and Radial, Nick Rogers and Chris Grube (GBR) in the 470, Dan Slater in the Finn and Marcus Hansen and Aaron Hume-Merry in the 49er.
“The regatta has been a huge success,” commented Jez Fanstone, Olympic Programme Manager for Yachting New Zealand. “Takapuna Boating Club has hosted a great event, with plenty of close racing in all fleets. It’s great to have all the Olympic classes sailing from the same venue and there have been so many people down to watch the racing and join in on the action at the Club.”
Mike Bullot and Andrew Murdoch went head to head again today with Murdoch getting the upper hand in the final race of the series, clawing back a point on Bullot in the standings. Going into the medal race just one point separated the two NZL Sailing Team sailors meaning that for each, getting home before the other would almost certainly secure the title.
Josh Junior took the win in the medal race, but it was Murdoch – New Zealand’s 2008 Olympic representative, and the recently crowned 2011 National Champion that snuck home in 7th in front of Bullot in 9th to take the win at Sail Auckland and the domestic double crown.
Australia was well represented in the Laser medal race with four sailors. One medal went their way with Tom Burton securing the bronze.
Tom Ashley tops the podium once again with a win in the Men’s RS:X. Ashley was second home in today’s medal race behind Dorian van Rijsselberge who in winning the final double-points race secured the silver medal.
Jon-Paul Tobin was presented the bronze medal finishing on equal points with Antonio Cozzolino, but coming off better on count-back.
Kate Ellingham from the NZL Sailing Team was the winner in the Women’s fleet, her closest rival Natalia Kosinska retiring after day three with an injury. Ellingham won the medal race and took out the event with a 12 point winning margin from Justina Sellers who won silver.Jazmine Lynch was third.
In the largest fleet of the regatta Olympic campaigner Sara Winther took victory over New Zealand’s best and other international competition in the Radial rig Laser including top youth, masters and women sailors. Michael Cate was second and Nicholas Croft was third.
“Happy enough – to beat all the boys,” said Winther with a wry smile ashore after the medal race in which she placed second.
“I just planned to sail my own race,” describes Wither on her plan going into the final race. “To have a clean race and see where things were at, at the top mark. It went well, I was fourth or fifth by the bottom mark and then caught right back up and ended up
second by a boat length overall, so it was good.”
Winther will now enjoy a short break before resuming training towards the first of the European Regattas which for her will be Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She leaves New Zealand in mid-March.
Double Olympic medallist for Great Britain Nick Rogers, sailing with Chris Grube was simply too good for the kiwis on the 470 course taking out today’s medal race and the regatta by a massive 17 point margin. The Britons won seven out of eleven races and were top two in all but one race.
Competition was tight among the chasing pack which featured NZL Sailing Team women’s crew Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, and men’s crew Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders.
Aleh and Powrie found form over the second half of the regatta, putting up a tough challenge for Rogers and Grube in the medal race, crossing the finish just behind them to secure the silver medal. Snow-Hansen and Saunders held onto third for the bronze medal.
Dan Slater took out the Finn class, applying local knowledge to beat Rafael Trujillo of Spain who took the silver. Slater was solid throughout the four days of racing at Sail Auckland 2011 winning seven out of ten races in the class where seven boats were competing. Up and comer in the Finn, Matt Coutts came home in third place.
Clear winners in the 49er skiff were Marcus Hansen and Aaron Hume-Merry who, bar one DNF, made a clean sweep of winning 15 races from 16 starts. Chris Burgess and Rowan Swanson were 2nd.
The final day produced some shuffling among the placings in both Paralympics classes where racing has been staged off Westhaven Marina. Visiting internationals took the top spot in both the SKUD18 and the 2.4 metre.
In the SKUD18 two-person boat Wei Qiang Tan Jovin and Desiree Lim of Singapore were the winners with kiwis Annabelle Tye and Andrew May beating out fellow kiwis Tim Dempsey and Jan Aepl on count back for the silver.
In the 2.4 metre Michael Leydon of Australia came through for victory over Megan Pascoe of Great Britain. Overnight leader, Paul Francis of New Zealand was third.
There was a tough battle for the 29er top spot with Jack Simpson and Logan Beck picking up their game as the regatta went on and sneaking home on the final day to finish the regatta just one point ahead of Matthew Spray and Tyler Russell.
Alex Munro and Brad Moss took out the 420 division ahead of Sam Mackay and Oscar Rorvick.