2016 Windsurfing Nationals; A wonderful week of windsurfing.

by Words by Brian Haybittle, Photos by Fenella Bowater

Murrays Bay Sailing Club (MBSC) hosted the Windsurfing Nationals over ANZAC weekend. 34 Sailors raced in the RS:X, Techno,  Kona and Raceboard classes. It is the first time in recent history that centreboard windsurfers had sailed in one regatta.

A pre regatta, three day, live in, youth training clinic was organised by MBSC. 12 sailors attended. Justina Sellers, Patrick and Brian Haybittle ran morning drills followed by afternoon practice races. Kelly Haybittle ensured all were feed and watered. The evenings had some great talks.

Three Olympic Medalists (two gold, one bronze) and a future hopeful gave an inspiring talk on the first night. The sailors had another 80 club members and sailors of all ages join them. Kiwis Aaron McIntosh and Tom Ashely were joined by Netherland sailors Dorian van Rijsselberghe and Kiran Badloe. Topics included, how they started, pathways, goal setting, working hard but having some fun along the way. Don’t be scared to do a bit of destination sailing to clock up the hours.

The second evening international judge and MBSC member John Bullot gave an entertaining chat on the rules of sailing and the differences appendix B Windsurfing brings to these rules. Then some very humorous mock arbitration/protests from the days practice races.

Saturday the regatta started in a light but building Northerly. Most fleets managed planing by the end of the day. There was a big spread in abilities from serious Olympic hopefuls, past Olympic training partners and ISAF youth world sailors mixed with green fleet sailors. Llyod Perratt only two weeks on a Techno and Olly Maidment only 11 years old. All were given a chance with the inclusion in the sailing instructions the ability, after the 20 minute race cut-off, to score positions on the racecourse.

In the evening there was a traditional MBSC long table BBQ dinner. Many took the time to play pool, table tennis or jam on the guitars.

Sunday initially saw lighter than forecast wind and some heavy shores that cut visibility. Once the weather improved the AP flag was dropped and D flag raised. The sailors headed out in the light but building westerly. The races 4 & 5 were held in shifty but light conditions. After a short break that coincided with the wind shifting to the south and the wind increasing to 14-20 knots the course was reset and lengthened. Perfect for almost all to lift centreboards and start finning upwind.

ANZAC day Monday was started at 1pm as a mark of respect. Two races were sailed in near perfect windsurfing conditions. 16-22 knot southerly with an outgoing tide. The day started in fairly smooth conditions. The left side had plenty of breeze and chop. The right side was smoother making for tactical racing. Most underestimated the breeze when looking from the sheltered bay.

Highlights of the regatta included:

  • Seeing young sailors getting to meet some of the legends such as Bruce Trotter, Ian Young and Stu Warman as well as NED sailor Kiran Badloe.
  • Watching the 3 way battle between NED Olympic hopeful Kiran Badloe, Legend Bruce Trotter and next olympic contender Antonio Cozzolino.  
  • Seeing the precision and attention to detail of Bruce Trotter rigging. The stillness and accuracy of his sailing out on the water racing. His top mark roundings were a lesson in consistency. 
  • Being at the top mark seeing a fleet of Raceboards heading upwind in very close formation.
  • Watching young gun and super fit Kiran Badloe in the windiest race finning the big 3.7m Starboard Phantom upwind. It appeared that only the fin was in the water. 
  • Young Techno sailors blasting around with big grins. Some even stayed out an extra hour after racing honing around jumping waves on the last day.
  • Watching the under 21 mens sailors Alex Hart and Patrick Haybittle match racing for 3 days on the 9.5m RS:Xs. They were never more than a point apart on the scoreboard and swapped the lead until Alex Hart’s experience in the breeze won out on the last day. 
  • Seeing Stu Warman and his Maraetai fleet (a mix of youth and seniors) come cope, enjoy and sail in a different Auckland venue.
  • Seeing the improvement of the youth sailors over the one week period.
  • The new MBSC being used to it’s full potential by the windsurf community.
  • The Master Raceboard sailors showing that windsurfing can be a sport for life.

At the final prize giving three guest speakers from within the group spoke on their windsurfing. NED RS:X sailor Kiran Badloe talked on his recent training in NZ with Dorian van Rijsselberghe and plans heading up to RIO 2016. Young Techno sailor Max Van der Salm recapped the Techno Worlds in Sardinia. Master sailor Bruce Trotter gave a very informative talk on the history of NZ windsurfing.

Bruce likened himself to Forest Gump. He had been to and seen all the major events in NZ windsurfing. From building his first board in a back of a farm in Warkworth. Unsure if it was a chicken coop or an old pigsty lean-to. The continued shaping, glassing and making of boards by himself, then brother and mates gave the skills that eventually may have been the beginnings of companies Styrotech, High Modulus and Core Composites. He was around when Grant Beck and friends sailed across Cook Strait. And again saw Grant threw a sail at the end of the Olympic trials that accidentally smashed the race officers caravan window. Then the start of a famous coach Grant Beck / sailor Bruce Kendall partnership that ended in many medals. Trotter also raced alongside Barbara Kendall at an ISAF Youth Worlds.

In the short term there are Techno sailors looking to travel to Lake Garda, Italy for the Open Worlds. Kona sailors heading to the Malmo, Sweden for the under 23 Worlds. A keen bunch of Masters heading to Brisbane, Australia for the Raceboard Worlds in November. Also the NZL RS:X youth trials are in October with the exciting news that the ISAF Youth Worlds may happen off the Auckland East Coast Bays, NZ. Yet to be confirmed. Although NZ has no Olympic sailors competing in this cycle yet, Natalia Kosinska is still attempting for selection. There are plenty of Kiwis about to coaching on the world stage. Aaron McIntosh Coaching NED, Tom Ashlely coaching CHN and JP Tobin coaching BRA.

The windsurfers would like to thank MBSC for the use of the club and support boats. The RS:X and Techno Association for having the vision to invite the Raceboard and Kona classes to their nationals. Race Officer John Jennings and all the on and off water volunteers. John Bullot for overseeing arbitration. And most importantly to those competitors that turned up. 

Also thanks for the continued support of windsurfing and sailing from the sponsors Burnsco, Madloop Windsurfing School, Pharmasol and Watersports. 


RS:X 9.5m men       Alex Hart

RS:X 8.5m youth     Lauren MacKenzie

Techno under 17 boy              Max Van der Salm (Overall)

Techno under 17 girl               Veerle ten Have

Techno under 15 boy              Lloyd Perratt

Techno under 15 girl               Audrey Perratt

Techno green                           Olly Maidment

Kona Open                              Stuart Warman

Kona Green                             Daan Tiisink

Raceboard Senior     Kiran Badloe NED (Overall)

Raceboard Master    Bruce Trotter (NZ Champ)

Raceboard Vet         Tim Wood

For full results visit: www.murraysbay.org



28 Apr 2016
29 Apr 2016