A record number of boats lined up for last weekend’s RS: Feva national championships, further illustrating the growing popularity of the double-handed class.
The Feva is seen by many as a lower-cost and less technical option to help introduce young sailors to double-handed sailing and many clubs around the country have built Feva fleets.
As many as 46 boats entered last weekend’s national championships at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club and this number would have been higher if more boats were available.
Leo Brown and Louis Quere took out the national title, on top of being first youth boat, on the back of an impressive series of results. The young pair, who sail out of Akarana, won three of the five races possible, to finish ahead of Erin and Isla Kee (Kerikeri Cruising Club), with Morgan Lay and Keaton Lay (RAYC) third.
“We’re thrilled to have won the title,” Brown said. “We had such a great time together and were able to produce consistent results due to great boat speed in the windy conditions."
Winds of between 16 and 20 knots greeted the fleet on Saturday, with some gusts up to about 25 knots, which made for some exciting racing.
The race committee did well to get through five races on Saturday, the minimum required to find a national champion, aware that the forecast was for winds to build across the weekend.
Sunday’s racing was abandoned as gusts in excess of 35 knots buffeted the Hauraki Gulf.
The Kee sisters, who are planning on attending July’s RS Feva world championships in Italy, claimed the women’s title, finishing ahead of the Kohimarama Yacht Club combinations of Anna Waymouth and Alexis Heckler and Elbe White and Amelia Higson.
Teams travelled from as far afield as Noumea, Wanaka, Nelson and the Bay of Islands to compete at the nationals, which included a day of coaching and practice racing.
Many of those who competed at the nationals also participated in the Feva Inspire programme alongside the SailGP event held in Christchurch in March, when 37 crews competed.
“The Feva is such a great class for kids to get into double-handed sailing,” said Yachting New Zealand regional development manager Hayden Whitburn.
“You can sail with friends, siblings and parents can team up with their kids. The gennaker means it’s really fast, as we saw over the weekend.
“We were thrilled with the number of entries we got for the event and the Royal Akarana Yacht Club did a fantastic job pulling it all together.”
Whitburn is hopeful New Zealand will host the Feva world championships in the near future, especially as Kiwi sailors have enjoyed considerable success at this level.
Along with the Kee sisters, Callum Hyde and Callum Noyer, who took out the junior title last weekend, are also planning on travelling to Italy and a couple of other crews are still hopeful of attending.
Results and standings from the RS Feva national championships held at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club (46 boats):
1st: Leo Brown & Louis Quere (Royal Akarana Yacht Club) 1 (3) 1 1 2 - 5 points
2nd Erin Kee & Isla Kee (Kerikeri Cruising Club) 2 1 (4) 2 4 - 9 pts
3rd: Morgan Lay & Keaton Lay (RAYC) 4 (6) 3 4 1 - 12 pts
1st Erin Kee & Isla Kee (KCC) 2 1 (4) 2 4 - 9 pts
2nd: Anna Weymouth & Alexis Heckler (Kohimarama Yacht Club) 10 7 5 5 (36) - 27 pts
3rd: Elbe White & Amelia Higson (KYC) 11 10 9 (20) 12 - 42 pts
Open: David Ferris & Cameron Ferris (Bay of Islands Yacht Club / KCC) 3 4 (8) 3 6 - 16 pts
Junior: Callum Hyde & Callum Noyer (Maraetai Sailing Club) 6 8 7 6 (10) - 27 pts
Mixed: Mabel North & Sam Kee (KCC / Waiuku Yacht Club) 17 15 11 (28) 3 - 46 pts
Full results here.