Close racing in light winds to wrap up Oceanbridge regatta

By Yachting NZ

The tussle for medals came down to the wire on the final day of the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta as the inaugural event wrapped up in Auckland today.

The last three days have seen some 140 Olympic and youth class sailors across 10 fleets competing side-by-side off Murrays Bay Sailing Club, and while some of the fleets were dominated from day one, the top bunch in others came down to the final race this afternoon.

After an initial postponement this morning due to no wind, the afternoon saw a fluctuating North to North Easterly breeze fill in which made for challenging conditions on the race course.

Using the light winds to their advantage however was Wakatere Boating Clubs 420 dinghy class pair Ella Gladwell and Alice Haslett, who won their last race to take out the regatta after being locked on points at the top with fellow club members Robbie McCutcheon and Jonothan Weston yesterday.

Having only sailed together for a month and a half in the class which is recognized as a stepping stone to the Olympic 470, the girls say they were pleased to come away with a win.

"It feels good, were happy with how we went today. For us doing well came down to looking for pressure and playing the shifts which we managed to do well in the last race," Haslett explains.

The pair are already looking forward to their next competition, the 420 National Championships in Wellington.

Another fleet which to have a tight bunch at the top was the Laser Radial class.

While Murrays Bay sailor Josh Armit had a consistent string of results to take the overall lead, the real battle came in the points jostle for 2nd and 3rd between Scott Leith and Susannah Pyatt.

Also from Murrays Bay Sailing Club, Leith and Pyatt were separated by just one point in the final standings with the final race putting Leith into the silver medal slot.

"I was really happy to get the second, especially as it was mainly a light regatta. It was a bit sad to miss out on the win having won the regatta two times in a row, but Josh Armit was certainly worthy of it, and the race committee did incredibly well to get races away in trying conditions," Leith, who is also the yacht club commodore, explains.

From an event point of view, Leith says its been exciting to host the regatta at the newly finished reserve, which is part of the clubs revamped facilities.

"We easily fitted the 103 boats in and its been a fantastic venue. Hopefully it will get bigger and better in the future," he comments.

Across some of the other fleets, frontrunners had their their positions finalised before racing had even begun today.

Rio Olympic pairs Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech along with Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox were amidst the 49erFX and 470 fleets, using the regatta as a platform to ease back onto the race course after a well deserved break since Rio.

Both pairs won their fleets in convincing style as they shared the race course with up-and-coming Olympians and fellow New Zealand sailors.

Also taking a convincing lead was Thomas Saunders from Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, in the Laser Full Rig class, who started the day with a relaxed approach having built a "nice margin" on the lead in his fleet.

The day concluded with prizegiving held off Murrays Bay Yacht Clubs reserve overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, with Yachting New Zealand Chief Executive David Abercrombie present to award the medals.

The Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta is made possible only thanks to the contributions from principle sponsor Oceanbridge, and Yachting New Zealand sponsors Aon, HRG, Nespresso, Volvo and Zhik.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Yachting New Zealand

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