Once a year, the Javelin class invite anyone who wishes to join on first come, first in basis, running casual sprint races and offering a great social atmosphere for the whole family.
This year's instalment had an ideal setting, with The Bach in Rotoiti offering the good old Kiwi bach with a lawn by the water big enough for rigging a few boats and good sailing waters right by the beach.
Trailblazer (David Brown and Antje Muller) and Riders on the Storm (Ross and Colin Shanks) had a good battle for overall honours, with Trailblazer finishing two points ahead over the nine races. But the social element is emphasised and crews often switched around to make things interesting.
The first day started in a northerly of 6-8 knots and Riders on the Storm found a good shift with pressure on the left hand side of the course after the start of the first race and led around the top mark, with Trailblazer trailing them after a disappointing attempt to come over the right.
When the Shanks headed off to the right on the next beat, Trailblazer yelled out to them not to go that way. Taking their own advice, Brown and Muller went to the left and ended up leading around the top mark and winning the race.
Fi Charman and Roger Whitlock from Tauranga had trouble with their gennaker on Night Nurse and only just managed to rescue their third place with Jake Millar and Kez on Hot Gossip charging under their gennaker. This was the first race on a Javelin for 11-year-old Millar from Gisborne who quickly adjusted to skiff sailing.
The Shankses led the second race start to finish as Trailblazer struggled with the fickle breeze on the downwind runs. Hot Gossip was getting into the groove finishing third ahead of Mat Macmillan and Andy on Black Bart.
The two leading boats were late for the third start so Night Nurse sneaked across the fleet with a solid port tack start. Riders on the Storm still managed to win the race, but Trailblazer had to fight hard to stay ahead of Hot Gossip.
Crews were swapped around before the fourth race, with Muller getting a ride on Night Nurse and Charman sailing with Brown. Colin let his son sail with Andy and joined Macmillan on Black Bart.
Muller got too excited about getting back on a classic and called the start one minute early. She then struggled to hoist the gennaker and asked Whitlock to pull out of the race to change the retrieval line setup (which she managed to get right after the second attempt).
On Black Bart, the visiting crew misjudged the line due to the fixed bowsprit, which meant Macmillan had to turn around to avoid a premature start. For Riders on the Storm and Trailblazer, the new crews did not change their performance, seeing them finish in first and second place again. Black Bart had a great race finishing within a boat length of the A-Division boats.
Sunshine and a light breeze enticed the sailors out of bed on Sunday,
The Shankses competed in the first race three-up, sporting three generations of sailors on one Javelin. Even though minor, the added weight seemed to have slowed them down enough for Trailblazer to score two wins.
In the second race, Hot Gossip rounded the first mark first and managed to defend second against Riders on the Storm. For the next two races, the skippers of Trailblazer and Black Bart swapped. It took the new combinations a bit to gel, and the Shankses sailed ahead to get the gun. Millar beat Brown, the current North Island champion.
In the next race he fought back with a vengeance, finishing second ahead of Riders on the Storm and Hot Gossip. Macmillan sailed Trailblazer to a win, showing great improvement in his light-weather racing.
A final race was started but not finished because Trailblazer had jumped the gun but Muller decided to race on, believing it had been Shanks who was over the line. In the most pressure of the weekend, the gennaker run home was good fun.
This regatta is one of the social highlights of the Javelin season with a wonderful setting, original kiwi bach accommodation, and maximum convenience of staying right by the lake with the boats rigged on the front lawn next to launching ramp.
Many thanks to race officer Peter Millar and the Gisborne Rescue Boat Trust for organising another memorable sailing weekend.
Next up, the fleet is getting together for the Napier Summer Regatta on November 25-26. You can find the notice of race on the club website.
Two Javelins are planning to be there on the Friday beforehand for a little tuning session. Visit our Facebook page if you would like to join in.