MEDIA RELEASE: Saturday 11 March
FRUSTRATING WINDLESS FIRST DAY OF YNZ OLYMPIC TRIALS
Mistrals and Tornados didn't even get their feet wet
Eastern Beach, Auckland: A gentle four knot breeze constantly hampered the
Race Committee's attempts to start the first day of the much-anticipated
Yachting New Zealand Olympic Selection Trials for Sydney 2000.
The Finns, Europes and 470s were only able to sail one race today, with the
Mistral and Tornado sailors not even getting their feet wet.
A 6-knot minimum for the Mistral and Tornado classes meant that all the Race
Committee could do was stare at their wind gauges and wait for the breeze. A
watched pot never boils, and so it proved today with the wind never reaching
more than 5 knots all day. Racing was eventually called off at 4pm with the
Mistrals and Tornados sailors not leaving the beach all the day.
As frustrating as it was not to be racing, there was an air of general
relief amongst the Mistral sailors. With pumping now standard in light wind
races, it would have been a tiring day on the boardsailing course.
And with nothing else to do except wait, any sign of the intense competition
between Bruce Kendall, Aaron McIntosh and Jon Paul Tobin were put aside to
help YNZ boardsailing coach Grant Beck clean the bottom of his coach boat.
It's a case of dj vu for Kendall & McIntosh, this regatta being a replay
of the Olympic selection battle in 1996 for Atlanta, won eventually by
McIntosh. This time around, Jon Paul Tobin joins the fray and poses a
genuine threat. All eyes will be on the Mistral course tomorrow to see which
of the three will grab the early lead.
Meanwhile there was slightly better news on the on the monotype course.
After a two hour wait for wind, a gentle 6 - 7 knots of breeze allowed the
Race Committee to start what were the only races of the day.
Abby Mason secured a confidence-boosting win in the Europes, followed home
by Sarah Macky and Sharon Ferris.
Macky, winner of the recent national champs and Royal SunAlliance regatta,
has put up a strong challenge to Mason's accustomed top spot amongst the
Kiwi Europe sailors. Final results on this course will be intensely
contested and are likely to go down to the wire.
Ian Baker from Timaru clinched the important first win of the Finn trial,
followed home by Team New Zealander and ex-Laser sailor Hamish Pepper.
Pepper, 10th at Atlanta in the Laser, is in the Finn to brush up on his
small boat skills, having become accustomed to a slightly larger rig for the
last 18 months! Wellington's Stuart Bannatyne was 3rd.
All of the 64 competitors in the fleet are intent on impressing the YNZ
Olympic Selectors who will be using this regatta as the basis for their
decision. A change to the YNZ Olympic Selection Policy means that winning
this regatta does not automatically imply selection.
Only one crew from each of the seven disciplines racing this week can get
their ticket to Sydney 2000. The sailors have spent a lifetime preparing for
this regatta, and for many this will be the end of the road.
The venue at Auckland's Eastern Beach has been specifically chosen for its
similarity to the conditions expected in Sydney in September. True to form,
today's light and shifty conditions left the sailors in no doubt that they
will have their work cut out for them this week.
With more light weather forecast for tomorrow, it will be another day of
waiting and watching for organisers and competitors alike. Racing is
scheduled in all classes.
Top 3 results in each class follow.
For full results check the YNZ website: http://www.yachtingnz.org.nz.
PROVISIONAL RESULTS: YNZ Olympic Selection Trials, Day 1
(No racing in Mistral men, Mistral women, Tornado classes)
EUROPE (after 1 race of 11)
1. NZL122 - Abby MASON; 1 (1pt)
2. NZL115 - Sarah MACKY; 2 (2pts)
3. NZL124 - Sharon FERRIS; 3 (3pts)
FINN (after 1 race of 11)
1. NZL242 - Ian BAKER; 1 (1pts)
2. NZL8 - Hamish PEPPER; 2 (2pts)
3. NZL19 - Stuart BANNATYNE; 3 (3pts)
470 Men & Women (sailed & scored as a single fleet)
1. NZL190 - Melinda HENSHAW & Jenny EGNOT; 1 (1pts)
2. NZL185 - Derek SCOTT / Matthew MINOPRIO; 2 (2pts)
3. NZL182 - Steven KEEN / Philip KEEN; 3 (3pts)