2020 Mitre 10 NZ Laser Nationals - Results & Reports



Reports from Nick Page

Final Day 4 - Tricky to the End

Well we certainly could not complain about lack of variety on the final day of the 2020 Mitre 10 Mega NZ Laser Nationals. In 4 hours we had everything from 20+ knot gusty easterlies through to an abandoned race due to a complete lack of wind, with some racing in between! Racing was scheduled to start an hour earlier today at midday, and the fleet sailed out in a pretty strong, gusty, shifty, easterly blowing off the nearby shore with a nasty steep wind against tide chop, although the forecast would have had us believe that it should have been a light southerly. The Standards battened down the hatches and strapped on the cunninghams and started in full pressure, which held for their first circuit. On the second beat the pressure started to easy and by the bottom of the run had disappeared almost completely. Much to the relief of the leaders PRO Jamie Sutherland made the call to finish the Standards at the bottom gate before it became a lottery. The Open and Masters Radials following after the standards encountered the change in conditions earlier in their races, with the Masters being finished at the top of their second beat. We then waited an hour or so before a weak SW sea breeze came in. The Standards started but sailed into a massive hole, causing their race to be abandoned and with the 3pm deadline on the last day that was it for them. The breeze did sort itself out a little and time allowed the  Radials and Radial Masters to complete their 8 race series with races in a very light and tricky seas breeze to complete a really successful contest, if not one in the "normal" New Plymouth conditions.

In the Standards the stronger winds caused a bit of a shake up in the fleet and many "what might have been" comments through the fleet in the after race musings but it was Luke Cashmore (U21), who managed a solid 5th in the final race, although this ended up as his discard, who in the end came out the convincing victor after a really impressively series in the difficult conditions. Second overall was U21 Harrison Baker, who also had a discard in his final race result but had done enough to hold off Apprentice Masters World Champ Dave Ridley, who won the final race for a well deserved podium finish. Visitors Yvan Beaufils and Jin Hwan Lee rounded out the top 5. Andrew Dellabarca was the top Master and Rohan Lord the top GM after 2nd in the breeze. John Pitman, who was leading the entire fleet prior to the final race being abandoned, not only did a fantastic job as contest organiser but also cleaned up the GGM prize.

In the Radials Courtney Reynolds-Smith (Open Women) completed a dream run by taking the title barely a year after moving into the Laser Radial after successful stints in the 420 and 470. She was the model of consistency in a strong fleet and held her nerve for the final day in spite of the range and difficulty of the conditions to top the table from multi World Masters Champion Scott Leith. Third and top Youth was Thomas Mulcahy, who got the better of Caleb Armit for the Youth title in spite of Caleb winning the first race yesterday. Sara Winther was happy with her 4th overall after only deciding at the last minute to enter but was swearing to be back all guns firing next year to give Courtney a run for her money. Top Youth Girl was Emily Overend from Queen Charlotte although in the end Josefine Siemann (YG) closed the gap with a bullet in the last race, although the sometimes 4.7 sailor had found the windy condition of race 7 a challenge.

In the Master Radial Phil Wild (AM) continued his impressive domination to take out race 7 and did not need to sail race 8. Neither Ed Tam (M) nor Roger Winton (GM), second and third going into the final day, had a great day but both did enough to hold onto their overall spots and to take home the cubes for their respective age groups. The honour of winning the last race went to Charlie Grey (GM) who cleaned up in the the light to end up 6th overall behind Hamilton duo Werner Hennig and Scott McDougall.

So its all over for another year and a huge thanks to NPYC for hosting us and delivering a great contest, blue skies and enough variety to keep everyone on their toes until the end. New champions have been crowned in almost every division, showing a pleasing depth to the fleet. Many of the Masters are heading for the World in Geelong in March so this will have provided them with a good warm up. So congratulations to Luke, Courtney and Phil for their fleet victories and to thanks to everyone involved in organising, running and competing and of course to our main sponsor Mitre 10 Mega.

Standard Fleet Mitre 10 Mega NZ Laser Nationals

Day 3 - Light and Tricky

Two more races were completed in a tricky breeze today to keep the contest bang on schedule. The sea breeze took a long time to get established today, with the breeze initially coming in from the NW before finally shifting to the SW later in the afternoon. It barely made 8 knots during the racing and was very patchy, only getting some oomph for the sail in after racing. The water was pretty flat all day, with a small chop and very little swell. Results generally followed the pattern of the last 2 days, unsurprising given the similar conditions, with the leaders in all fleets continuing their consistent form.

In the Standards Luke Cashmore and Harrison Baker shared the honours today with a 1st and 2nd each, putting Luke in a strong position overall with a 9 point lead, a 2nd as his current discard and only 2 races to go. Harrison lies is second. 5 points back French visitor Ivan Beaufils is third, tied on points with Albert Stanley fourth. Dave Ridley (AM) got among the young guns again in race 6 with a 4th place and is in sixth place overall to lead the masters from past champion Andrew Dellabarca (M). After his stellar race win in the breeze yesterday Rohan Lord held onto the top Grand Master spot but had a forgettable day with a UFD in race 5, along with a few friends, followed by an unfortunate downwind swim in race 6 when he got excited in an 8 knot puff. John Pitman again had a solid day to lead the GGM division, although going to the wrong top mark in race 6 hardly helped his cause.

In the Radials Courtney Reynolds-Smith continued her super impressive form with a 2nd and 3rd to consolidate her overall lead. Scott Leith scored a bullet in race 6 to keep the pressure on Courtney while Thomas Mulcahy (Y) was again pretty consistent to hold onto the leading Youth spot and 3rd overall. Sara Winther scored the other race win today and is 4th overall with Caleb Armit (Y) 5th after struggling to find his best form in todays tricky conditions. Other notable performances today were Matthew Rist with two top 5 placings to be the second best Radial sailor on the day and and Josephine Siemann, who's 2nd in race 5 keeps the pressure on Queen Charlottes Emily Overend for the top Youth Girls slot.

In the Masters Radial Phil Wild (AM) continued to steamroller the fleet with another two bullets to leave the opposition little chance of overhauling him on the last day. Behind Phil defending champ Ed Tam (M)  and semi professional GM Roger Winton, fresh from competing in the Aussie Nationals, again slugged it out with Ed continuing to hold second spot overall ahead of Roger. The whole Radial Masters fleet were given a lesson by the GGM's in race 6, with Garth Cheyne and octogenarian Sandy Grigg leading for much of the race, with Garth pipped at the post by Phil but holding on to second to catapult him up the leader board. Showing true GGM form Sandy had however forgotten to sign on so copped the penalty for that to give his younger opponents a sporting chance!

So with the final day tomorrow again forecast to again have fairly light breezes it is sure to again tax the race management team and provide challenges for all.  The leaders will be looking to hold their nerve and lock in a keeper to take the titles home and we will all be looking at another interesting day on the water to wrap up the 2020 Mitre 10 Mega NZ Laser Nationals. 

Radial Fleet Mitre 10 Mega NZ Laser Nationals

Day 2 - A bit more breeze

Another blue sky day with a sea breeze again provided great racing for all fleets on day 2 of the Mitre 10 NZ Laser Nationals in New Plymouth. The sea breeze came in earlier and built more that yesterday, so while it was only around a 8 knots for race 3 it freshened to a great hiking breeze for race 4 and nice lumpy seas which provided good downwind surfing conditions for those skilled enough to take advantage, although a few also managed a quick dip after misjudging the waves.  The course was positioned a bit further to the East today and the tide did not cause the same problems for the starts so racing progressed on schedule all day. Results in the first race pretty much followed yesterdays form but the extra breeze for race 4 saw some new faces at or near the front of some fleets and a bit of a shake up of placing throughout.

In the Standards Luke Cashmore was a model of consistency with a 1st and 2nd today to open up a healthy 12 point gap on the field at the half way point of the contest. Harrison Baker and two of our overseas visitors, Korean Jin Lee and French student Yves Beaufils, who is in New Zealand for the year to study, all had consistent days to lie second, third and fourth overall. In the fresher conditions in the second race Pupuke Grand Master Rohan Lord had a blinder, leading pretty much from start to finish to tighten up the top of the masters fleet leaderboard. He is 7 points adrift of World Apprentice Masters champion Dave Ridley and tied with Master Andrew Dellabarca so the race for masters title remains close.
It was generally a similar story in the Radials, with form in the days first race following pretty closely yesterdays results but overnight leader Caleb Armit suffered a DSQ after a protest, which has really opened up the contest. The top of the leader board was given a further shake up in the second race when World Masters Radial Champion Scott Leith found the conditions much more to his liking, winning from top women's sailor Sara Winther and Thomas Mulcahy (Y), who's two thirds today move him well up the leaderboard. So leading the contest at the half way point is Courtney Reynolds-Smith, who had another impressively strong day with a first and fourth. She is followed by Scott and Thomas who are tied points 4 behind Courtney. Emily Overend found the windier conditions in the second race tougher but still has a great lead in the Youth Womens division, although Josephine Siemann (YW) managed to just get the better of her in race 3.
In the Masters Radial Phil Wild (AM) continued his impressive domination of fleet with another two bullets. The battle behind him was close with both defending champ Master Ed Tam and GM Roger Winton adding 5 points for the day and lie second and third overall. Scott McDougall (GM) struggled to repeat his form of yesterday to slip to 4th overall. Jeff Booth continues to lead the GGM's, although Muritai club mate GGM Garth Cheyne kept him honest and clearly enjoyed the extra breeze in the second race in spite of sailing with a broken tiller extension.
So while New Plymouth gave us just a hint of its windy reputation today the forecast for the remaining two days continues to look settled, which will hopefully allow all races to be completed on schedule and everyone to further improve their suntans at the same time. The discard comes into play after tomorrows races so we can expect to see a bit of a shakeup in some of the standings, particularly in the Radial fleet.

Andrew Child enjoying the sea breeze in race 3

Day 1 - A benign start
New Plymouth was on its best behaviour today for the first day of the 2020 Mitre 10 NZ Laser Nationals. As forecast, beautiful blue skies greeted the sailors and the mornings fresh easterly died out as the fleet were on their way to the start line and after about 45 minutes a light 5-8 knot SW sea breeze established itself and stabilised enough for racing to get underway. The breeze held for the afternoon, with wind against tide creating a small chop and there was just enough of a ground swell to remind us that we are on the open ocean. With the tide under the fleet for the starts there were several general recalls and a few unfortunately fell foul of the dreaded black flag. However in the end 2 excellent races were completed for all fleets, although PRO Jamie Sutherland clearly decided that he would not let us off too easily and set an extra length challenge for the second race!
In the Standards the conditions clearly suited the younger sailors, with U21Luke Cashmere from Wakatere moving up from winning the Youth Radials last year to lead the fleet after a perfect 2 bullets, to establish a handy early advantage over Worser Bays Albert Stanley (U21). He is followed by Korean visitor Jin Hwan Lee, who is tied on points with Torbay's Harrison Baker (U21). First of the masters in the combined Standard fleet is World Apprentice Masters champion Dave Ridley (AM) from Pupuke in 6th. He is closely followed by GM Rohan Lord and past Masters champion Andrew Dellabarca (M). Master Greg Wilshire was the talk of the boat park as he managed to sail, and sail well, with a massive bruised posterior after an accident when loading the boat on the trailer in Auckland for the trip down!
In the Radial fleet Murrays Bay's Caleb Armit (Y) also showed real class in the conditions to dominate with two race wins. Second overall is leading womens contender Courtney Reynolds-Smith who was really consistent with a third and a forth to lead Lachlan Dillon from Tauranga, who is tied with this years Corston clan rep Harry, by 3 points. Leading the youth girls is Emily Overend from Queen Charlotte in 8th overall. She has to be super pleased with her day as she is just 2 points behind our top womens sailor from the last Olympic cycle, Sara Winther, who has come back into the fleet for this contest.
In the Radial Masters fleet Phil Wild (AM) from Manly completed the triple for the fleet leaders with two firsts but is closely followed by defending champion, Worser Bays Ed Tam (M) who has a one point lead over Hamilton's Scott McDougall (GM). Leading the Women's Masters is Lucia Chagas in 8th overall. Muritai's Jeff Booth is the leading GGM and it was inspirational to see 80 year old Sandy Grigg on the start line for yet another year.
Conditions for tomorrow are forecast to be similar to today's so it will be interesting to see if todays fleet leaders, all of whom were dominant in their respective fleets today, can continue their run of success tomorrow.
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