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Brilliant sailing marks Mud House Wines Women's Keelboat Regatta

by Duncan Mackenzie 15 Sep 2019 17:59 PDT 16 September 2019
Div 1 start - Mud House Wines Women's Keelboat Regatta, September 2019 © Karmyn Ingram

Over a hundred sailors delivered some stunning performances on the water over the weekend during the third Mud House Women’s Regatta hosted by the Waikawa Boating Club. Racing in a wide range of conditions the best women sailors in the country clashed in the four race event. A best-ever turnout of seventeen boats saw crews from all parts of the country put their skills to the test.

With over 60% of the sailors visiting from other parts of the country the social programme was also an important facet of the weekend. Sailors were treated to a wine tasting with regatta sponsors Mud House Wines hosting the crews at a superb venue in scenic Kumutoto Bay.

Racing got underway late on Saturday due to a lack of wind however the programmed two races were completed before crews returned to shore. The regatta dinner on Saturday evening featured an interview with top New Zealand sailor Jo Aleh MNZM. Winner of multiple World Championships and Olympic medals (Gold in London and Silver in Rio), Jo spoke of the challenges facing aspiring young athletes in their quest to be the best.

Sunday dawned much dryer than Saturday with extremely light winds testing the capabilities of crews in these conditions. As the breeze filled in later in the day Race Officer Viv Butcher was able to set a tight and testing windward-leeward course as the final act of the regatta. With crew ranging from relative racing novices to current and former national champions the racing featured high spots for many.

Close racing in Division 2 saw a fine double from Lyttleton skipper Karen Selway with her Young 88 ‘Abracadabra’. Selway sailed a near perfect regatta, taking line honours in all four races as well as winning three of the four races on handicap. The Division 2 podium was rounded out by Waikawa boat ‘Freaky’, the Farr 727 helmed by experienced ocean sailor Jill Bethell with Waikawa’s Nicky Jenkins sailing the Hanse 385 ‘On Appro’ taking third place.

Division 1 delivered some fine racing from many of the best women in the country. Regatta guest Jo Aleh took to the water aboard ‘Satellite Spy’ helmed by Carla Bennet and contributed to a perfect 4 from 4 for line honours to the Ross 40. Current national women’s keelboat champion Sally Garrett brought her crack crew from Auckland and despite stepping aboard less than 24 hours before the regatta began, Garrett and her crew sailed an immaculate regatta, winning 4 races from 4 on handicap aboard the David and Jo Grigg owned Beneteau 36.7 ‘Global’. Showing exceptional ability to multi-task, regatta co-ordinator Juliet Abbott helmed the Young Rocket ‘Oldsmobile’ to second place in the regatta, the racing so close that the final result was decided on countback with ‘Satellite Spy’ taking third, one point clear of New Year regatta champion ‘Kaimai Flyer’.

With dates for the 2020 event already set and visiting crews already committing to the event, the regatta looks to have a strong future. Regatta spokesperson Duncan Mackenzie said “the event is rapidly becoming a ‘must do’ on the calendar of top women sailors nationwide. We’re looking forward to growing the event alongside our foundation sponsors Mud House Wines”.

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