New Zealand crews dominated the first international regatta for the 29er fleet at last weekend's Barkers 29er national championships at the Murrays Bay Sailing Club.
Brayden Hamilton and Seb Menzies showed their class in the youth boy's fleet, winning four of the seven races to finish seven points ahead of Jake Pye and Mattias Coutts. George Lee Rush and Josh Schon were another point behind in third.
Lucy Leith and Lizzie Shapland comfortably took out the youth girl's title, ahead of Amelia Angus and Carrington Brady, with Stella Bilger and Rebecca Morgan third.
Five crews from Australia made the trek over the Tasman, with Tyler Dransfield and Jamie Stodart the highest placed in 10th. Zoe Dransfield combined with local Sam Street to finish as the top mixed crew in the 39-boat fleet.
The final day of the three-day regatta was abandoned as the storm affecting the top of the North Island intensified. Race officials planned for this, squeezing five races into the opening day, and they sent the fleet back to shore as they identified 40-knot winds and heavy rain over Tiritiri Matangi as they started the sequence for race eight on the second day.
"It was tough racing out there," Hamilton told Live Sail Die. "The competition was really close but it was nice to come away with it in the end.
"We had a few bad starts to start off the regatta but managed to get going a bit after that. We just tried to keep it as clean as we could.
"It was awesome to have some international competition. It was cool to see where we stack up against them after not seeing them in 18 months."
Lucy Leith and Lizzie Shapland receive their trophy from Dean Barker. Banner photo: Brayden Hamilton and Seb Menzies.
The next major regatta for the 29er fleet will be October's NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Championships, when the top boy's and girl's crews in each youth class will be selected for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team. The signs are promising the 2021 youth sailing world championships in Oman will take place after last year's youth worlds were cancelled due to Covid-19.
It will be the main target for Leith and Shapland, who sailed consistently well throughout the national championships. The pair recorded six top-10 finishes and also won the final race to finish fifth overall.
"The fleet has got really good and quite big over the last year so it was good competition at this nationals," Shapland said.
Results and standings from the Barkers 2021 NZ 29er National Championships at the Murrays Bay Sailing Club:
1st: Brayden Hamilton / Seb Menzies (WBC/MBSC) 3 2 1 1 1 1 (4) - 9 points
2nd: Jake Pye / Mattias Coutts (MSC) 1 1 5 2 2 (8) 5 - 16 pts
3rd: George Lee Rush / Josh Schon (WBC) 2 3 2 (6) 5 2 3 - 17 pts
1st: Lucy Leith / Lizzie Shapland (MBSC) 7 9 7 (13) 8 3 1 35 pts
2nd: Amelia Angus / Carrington Brady (WBC) 10 19 (24) 20 10 12 7 - 78 pts
3rd: Stella Bilger / Rebecca Morgan (KYC) 15 21 (39 UFD) 10 19 14 22 - 101 pts
1st: Zoe Dransfield / Sam Street (MHYC/MBSC) (28) 23 18 9 6 11 15 - 82 pts
2nd: Daniel Sanz / Nuria Ferres (PCSC/RNZYS) 32 (40 DNC) 40 DNC 34 30 31 32 - 199 pts
3rd: Greg Hunter / Jorga Marshall (RAYC) (38.0) 35 31 32 34 34 35 - 201 pts