Wow, what a Nationals. 309 entries. 203 in Open fleet across 3 flights, 106 in Green fleet. Wakatere had a record 26 sailors in the Open fleet and 29 in the Green fleet.
After a slow start on day one, with the benefit of some perfect sailing breezes and a slick race committee with onboard local knowledge, 14 races were completed, which represented 42 open fleet starts ( ignoring any recalls).
Wakatere had some outstanding results from Markus Somerville ( 3rd) - off to represent NZ at the first Opti Worlds ever held in New Zealand in Napier late this year (http://www.optiworldsnz.org.nz/ ) , Tim Adair in 7th, Sam Barnett in 17th ( up from 115th last year).
Aidan Nicholas won the award for the highest placed rookie in his first Nationals with a 42nd.
Jonathon Weston secured 1st 11 year old with a 72nd.
Rory McCutcheon earned the Sportsmanship Trophy.
But it doesn't end there...Max Hayman showed his natural talent by coming out of "retirement" to secure a 44th! Airi Kawana ended up 89th in his first nationals, Levi de Lisle moved out of Green fleet at Christmas and storms up to 120th after three months of concentrated effort. Kate Stewart jumps up to 114th, Dan Finnemore finds a new "gear" in the last few races ( and possibly takes his feet off the gunwhale), whilst Marco Tyler-Rodrigue made a suprise last minute appearance.
Yes, Charlie Baillie Strong was proud of the effort put in by the sailors.
In the Green fleet it was three in the top 10 - James Grover Grey sailed a steady series to finish in 3rd, Jessica Berry used her base from Sunday morning sailing to propel herself to a 6th, whilst Jonathan Nicholas sailed a steady series to end up 8th. There was another three Wakatere sailors in the next 10, with Joe Pearson in 11th, Chamonix Stuart sailed an excellent series winding up 13th and Nelson Greenwood showed a spectacular rise up the fleet from completing his learn to sail last October to finish in 15th.
There were a range of steady performances from the Wakatere sailors showing the benefit of lots of time on the water during summer. Others seemed to extend their capabilities as the regatta continued.
All the meticulous planning worked out well; the 620 volunteer slots were filled and the whole thing worked like clockwork from the refuel crew at Bayswater to the Impressive rig tents, the massive Marquee, the bar crew, the superb Cafe, the spectactular video feed from the start tower to the massive TV screen in the Marquee, the impressive daily video from the Argentinian filmman, to the spot prizes, the Rock radio station, the wing masted Opti, Cool regatta tshirts, Easter Eggs, Anzac breakfast at the Devonport yacht club, Water taxis to the suppport boats, to Dean Barker presenting prizes.
So its been a heck of a lot of fun over summer, and now everyone is taking a well deserved break....well thats apart from the sailors who have earned slots in the teams travelling away - Markus going to the Worlds, and Sam Barnett going to the Asian Champs - well done and good sailing!