11 boats contested the 2012 Elliott 5.9 Auckland Champs regatta, part of the Sail Akarana Series (RAYC, Auckland) and the 2012 E5.9 Traveller Series.
The Elliott 5.9 class is experiencing very strong growth in the upper North Island and the regatta was notable for the debut of three new Auckland-based crews. Top RAYC Flying 15 sailor Craig Coulam has purchased a boat and put together a strong crew of Phil Quinn and Pat Leach. Chris Maddock, who recently purchased Animal Crackers from Whangarei , sailed with National Y88 Champion skipper ‘The Butcher ‘ Grant Turnbull in his crew. And Miles Addy and his crew returned to E5.9 racing in a borrowed Brilliant, another boat new to Auckland.
Day one was blown out by a strong Northerly which built during the day and made launching impossible. The Okahu Bay jetty was damaged by the large waves in the early evening. One of the features of Sail Akarana is the free BBQ and crews took advantage of the RAYC hospitality and watched the All Blacks in action.
Sunday saw clearing rain and a light Easterly which eventually became a building North Easterly. 6 races were sailed in light to moderate breeze with shifty conditions making for plenty of challenges. Some tidal effects also affected the racecourse, which was situated between in the area between North Head, Bean Rock and Okahu Bay.
While some of the usual suspects missed the event (including top crews Zoot Allures, Hobo, many of the new boats featured strongly all day with many new crews getting to grips with things. Ewok (RAYC – Craig Coulam), Animal Crackers and Blownaway (Bill Caunce) all had some good races while Opua boat Frivolous Fish showed the benefit of participating in the Class Training days with some good results.
The Blurr (RAYC – Simon Manning, Andy Robertson and Hayden Whitburn) won five of the six races on the Sunday to take out the event from Brzo (RNZYS – Gillian Williams, Andrew Cooke and Nathan Williams) which won the other race. Nick Bastow took an impressive third place in his second regatta with Shapeshifter (RNZYS).
The Sail Akarana concept of sprint racing is exactly what the E5.9 Class excels at with up to 6 races regularly sailed each day in E5.9 Traveller Series events. This ensures close and excellent ‘bang for buck’ racing.
The Blurr leads the 2012 Traveller Series with two events remaining. Onerahi Sailing Club will host the next regatta at Marsden Cove Marina on October 27-28. A big fleet is expected with numbers now returning to those last seen several years ago.
The final event for 2012 is at Turangi (North Island Champs) in November. The class will sail their 2013 Nationals as part of Auckland’s BMW Regatta in March 2013.
Offering close racing and great social events built around a North Island weekend regatta circuit, the Elliott 5.9 class is the perfect 3-person syndicate boat. The class is relatively low maintenance and is sailed by a crew of 3. No rail meat – everyone has a job! There are active fleets in Opua, Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington, and New Plymouth with boats in other venues like Lyttleton and Queenstown.
The Elliott 5.9 Class Association operates a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/elliott5.9) that contains news, details of events, boats for sale and many photos. Boats for sale are listed as well as gear layout shots.
The Association is also considering several new initiatives including rule changes designed to improve the competitiveness and longevity of the boats, the supply of standard components as well as restarting hull/deck production.[btn_dark target=”http://rayc.co.nz/gallery/sail-akarana-september-2012/”]Photos[/btn_dark]