Clockwork Racing co-skipper Steve Mair said years of planning went into their success at the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race, when they took out the overall title.
Clockwork finished on top of both the 38-boat fleet and division two on PHRF, with Laissez-faire ll second overall on handicap and Mr Kite third.
Wired, skippered by Rob Bassett and Angus Small, won all four legs on line and were 10th overall on handicap.
The fourth and final leg of 367 nautical miles from Napier to Auckland started with a beat but the fleet finally got what they had been longing for with extended reaching and downwind conditions ensuring some fast and fun sailing for the final leg.
“Right now, it’s a huge sense of achievement," Mair said. "Winning the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race is an awesome result for us, especially considering the very competitive nature of the fleet. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-skipper than Jamie [Logan] or been on a better boat for the event.
“Literally years of planning went into this race dating back to before buying the boat, formerly known as General Lee in Perth and then the huge amount of time and effort that’s gone in since. It has really paid off.
"We were pretty lucky a few times during the race, while others didn’t have the rub-of-the-green, but that’s sailing. Thanks heaps to Evolution Sails NZ for sponsoring the race and to the incredible Shorthanded Sailing Association of New Zealand for putting on such an epic event.”
A firm crowd favourite was Moving Violation, skippered by Ben Beasley and Nick Gardiner. The pair were not only the youngest skippers but were also on the smallest boat in the fleet but took out the final leg and overall PHRF win in division 4.
Beasley and Gardiner made some bold calls during the race, including heading halfway to Australia during the second leg that really paid off and it was this combination of bold calls and their can-do attitude that impressed fellow skippers. Many see a bright future for the pair not only in short-handed sailing but also in other sailing disciplines.
“When we crossed the finish line, it felt surreal and such a sense of achievement knowing we sailed in such an epic race and had really got the message out there for Lifeline," Beasley said. "We've raised nearly $9000 [for the charity] which is awesome”.
Blink had a sensational final leg to take out the PHRF leg win in division one, and second on line, which was a great result for the Wellington-based boat.
In division three, Waka (skippered by Sam Cremer and Brett Elliott) continued their exceptional performance on the final leg, taking their second PHRF win in a row.
The battle of the Elliott 1050s that had been dominated by Kick and Gale Force in the earlier legs was finally played out with an exceptional leg from Gale Force to claim second on PHRF in the division and the crown of first overall Elliott 1050, the culmination of an intense 12-month programme for skippers Ken Ormandy and Sam Tucker.
"The 2020 Evolution Sails Round North Island Yacht Race has been a massive success," race director Jon Henry said. "We have had a very competitive fleet, a mix of challenging conditions, and great comradery across our skippers, many of whom have made friends for life.
"It has been said that to complete this race is an accomplishment, and that is true, so to have 37 boats from a starting 38 finish here in Auckland is an excellent result for all involved. We look forward to hosting this event again in 2023.”