The ethos 'if you can sail a P Class you can sail anything' never rang truer for a number of sailors taking part in their regional Tanner Cup trials recently.
Both the Auckland and North Harbour trials were hit by strong winds which challenged the fleets.
The Auckland competition was held at the Kohimarama Yacht Club with racing for the 19-strong fleet on the first day in winds between 20-30 knots. It was a similar story on the second day with two races before the winds intensified and racing was called off.
Sean Kensington dominated the competition, winning all six races, to finish ahead of George Cole-Baker and Fred Burrage. Kelly Su won the girl's fleet, ahead of Anna Waymouth and Zoe Stone.
Kensington will be competing in his third Tanner Cup regatta which will be held at the Charteris Bay Yacht Club on January 4-5 and he will be joined in the Auckland team by Cole-Baker, Burrage, Marcel van der Voort and Levi Jenkins, all from the Kohimarama Yacht Club.
Their boats, along with those from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club and Wakatere Boating Club, are heading south in a 40-foot container following support by both the Auckland Yacht and Boating Association and Oceanbridge.
At the North Harbour trials at the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, many of the 16 sailors were trying to tame their yachts as opposed to beating their fellow competitor as blustery 18-30 knots south-westerly winds hit the course.
Adding to the challenge was a 0.5m chop and strong gusts which made life difficult for all sailors, particularly downwind, as many grappled with their relatively unfamiliar boats. Let’s just say all sailors got to experience a swim over the six-race series.
Nathan Soper exemplified the determination of everyone in the fleet, with the nine-year-old - who was sailing a P Class (in real wind) for the first time - managed to get around the track a couple of times and desperately tried a few more times in vein.
The near-survival conditions meant there was plenty of camaraderie both on and off the water and there were plenty of stories following race five when the biggest gusts of the weekend hit the course. It was also when the sailors were the most tired.
Four sailors showed out at the top of the fleet and it was Joe Leith who finished first, winning the regatta with a race to spare. He finished two points ahead of Nicola Hume, who won three of the six races and was first female, with Josh Hilder another point behind in third. Hilder's consistency was crucial, especially after he missed one race due to a dismasting.
With five spots of up grabs among North Harbour sailors to compete at next month's Tanner Cup in Christchurch, that trio was joined by Sam Clarke and Andrew Jenson - Sam Elworthy finished fifth but isn't travelling to Charteris Bay so the spot went to Jenson.
- Photo: Nicola Hume won three of the six races in the North Harbour trials.