It was a “lesson” two years in the making but Mark Orams, widely known as the Sailing Professor, on Sunday finally dethroned his good mate Rod Dawson as the Zephyr national champion.
Orams, a Professor of Sport and Recreation at the Auckland University Technology and the institution’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, claimed the title at Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington - defeating 2021 winner Dawson after last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Greg Wright finished third with Amanda Hargreaves the first female (21st overall).
“This is the first time I’ve won the nationals, so needless to say, I’m pretty happy, especially after finishing second to Rod back in 2021 when we last raced a nationals,” Orams told Live Sail Die.
“I wasn’t nervous coming into the regatta and wasn’t concerned with the end result – the goal was to sail to the best of my ability and I achieved that, so I’m happy.”
Orams, who won six of the eight races with Dawson claiming the other two, was impressed with the level of competition in the 62-boat fleet.
“It was tough,” he told Live Sail Die. “We give it everything we’ve got, and with most of us getting on in years, you definitely get tired after racing in 20+ knots for three days. I’m 60 now, and I definitely feel it through every tack and gybe!
“What’s great to see are the sailors out there in their 70s. This is such an awesome class. We all look after each other with not one ego in sight.
“Everyone helps each other, gives advice, training, and moral support – if you’re looking for a class where you can tinker with the boat, not worry about finding crew, and have some epic racing, then I wholeheartedly recommend the Zephyr.”
Results and standings from the 2023 Zephyr National Championships hosted by Worser Bay Boating Club:
1st: Mark Orams 1 1 (3) 1 1 1 2 1 – 8 pts
2nd: Rod Dawson (2) 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 – 12 pts
3rd: Greg Wright 3 (10) 2 4 4 4 5 4 – 26 pts
4th: Mike Drummond 4 4 (5) 5 3 3 4 3 – 26 pts
5th: Murray Thom 7 3 (63 DNF) 3 5 5 3 6 – 32 pts