Helgaard Dannhauser new Zephyr Champion

Helgaard Dannhauser new Zephyr Champion

The 2019 Zephyr Nationals concluded today with Helgaard Dannhauser the new champion, from local sailor Mark Thomas and Paul Pearson from Manly.

55 boats contested the Tauranga event, with a stellar line-up that included at least a dozen sailors with particularly high credentials. Weigh-in saw most of the fleet nearly down to weight, the skippers not so much in some cases.Day 1 delivered a Westerly quarter breeze, which the locals promoted as prevailing and steady, and therefore "we were quite lucky". Mayhem ensued, as our reliable westerly threw 25 degree shifts at the fleet and some of the best laid plans went terribly pear-shaped.17 and 527 jagged wins out of the shambles, and the locals were heard to voice the mantra, that "This never happens here" , a number of times, back on the shore.

A BBQ at the club and some nice riffs by Llewelyn, dulled some of the pain-but wait, there's more. Day 2 saw a shifty South-east breeze fill in across the course. Last recorded time we had SE was the last Zephyr Nats in Tauranga and Captain Cook's visit in 1769. The locals knew that this breeze can reverse the order of an entire fleet, so the lottery winners on the day were 309, 190, 112. Lucky guys.

Day 3, Tuesday, shaped up as a more typical local day. A NE breeze moved left incremently, with some flicks to the right, just to make sure everyone was on their game. Nice sailing, with 216,510, 32 taking the gun.

Day 4 was different again. A NW breeze filled in across the course, unlike most forecast predictions. An initial advantage to the right-hand boats turned to custard, as a flick to the SW saw all the leeward boats come out shining. 608, 113, 527.

A forum was held on the last day of racing in order to try to help future-proof the boats. More coming on these discussions, and very positive feedback, moving forward. Of significant note, in 9 races, we had 9 different winners! 

Many congratulations to Helgard Dannhauser, a popular winner, and Mark Thomas who has broken his 4th place jinx. And Paul Pearson who sailed out of his skin in a tricky contest. "Bubbles" Wright represented the Wellington fleet and looked solid in the breezy first races, and finished in a creditable 4th. Special mention to Matt Mitchell, and Kieren Thomas for sailing out of their skins.

Tauranga turned it on. Bit of everything there. We didn't produce the current America's cup holder/skipper with even breezes and tides. Thank you helpers, and competitors.

Full results at www.yacht.org.nz or here

Posted: Wednesday 27 February 2019