What a weekend! Over 180 sailors from all over New Zealand descended on RAYC and the newly cleared Landing site for three days of epic racing. The Auckland Champs was a ranking regatta for the Optimist Open sailors hoping to be selected for travelling teams, so the pressure was on for both sailors and race committee.
Day one was the perfect start to the regatta with light breeze and beautiful sunshine. The following two days the breeze continued to build, getting right to the upper racing limit by Monday. The race committee did a fantastic job running two race courses safely and efficiently and getting all the scheduled races completed.
Our Green Fleet and Starling Development sailors had the perfect racing amphitheatre in Okahu Bay; protected on all sides and providing ideal viewing for parents and spectators on shore. How often can you have a bird’s eye view of your kids racing 300m away with a coffee in your hand?!
RAYC had a strong showing on the Open Starling course with two sailors Leo Brown and Louis Quere standing on the podium in 2nd and 3rd. These boys train together and have been out on the water most days in the last few weeks preparing for this event and the Starling Nationals this coming weekend. It was fantastic to see them race so well and finish within a point of each other! Well done – we are very excited to watch you both in Lyttleton.
George Zhou (RAYC) made the Optimist White fleet podium after a strong regatta with three race wins near consistent top-five results. For the majority of our Optimist Open sailors, this was their first regatta in Open Fleet and they did extremely well amidst a 75-strong start line in some tough conditions. Many of RAYC Green Fleet and Starling Development sailors were participating in their first regatta, and it was great to see so many of them out there having a go!
This event could not have happened without the huge amount of support we had from our incredibly driven band of volunteers, fellow Yacht Clubs, and of course, our event sponsors whose generosity enabled us to deliver this event safely and successfully. We were grateful to partner with Paul Neshausen (Barfoot & Thompson) as the naming rights sponsor of the event whose generosity and engagement made this regatta something really special.
New World Eastridge were also a key partner, keeping us all fed by supplying the food for volunteer lunches and post-sailing snacks. Special mention to Joe Spooner and the team at Kiwi Flush for supplying the portaloos, the Place Makers for donating their time every morning to cook some amazing Bacon Butties, and Ōrākei Local Board for their generous contribution towards the regatta. A special thank you to Doyles Sails and Harken for their continued support of the Yacht Club throughout the year, and especially their contributions to the Paul Neshausen Optimist & Starling Auckland Champs, and additionally NZ Sailing, and Burnsco Westhaven, who were all very generous with their support in the form of vouchers and spot prizes that put a smile on a lot of sailors faces!
Well done to all of the competitors and especially our team of Academy and RAYC sailors. We look forward to hosting more major events in the future and to having you racing here again soon.