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New Zealand, 2013/14 Turangi International Open

Turangi YC, Stump Bay, Lake Taupo

28 - 30 March

Photos on Flickr

Two weeks after Cyclone Lusi caused a postponement of the 2014 Turangi International Open, 21 OK Dinghies descended on the central North Island in somewhat different conditions from what the lake had experienced during the cyclone. The forecast for the weekend was for light and variable winds and thats exactly what the fleet got.

Whether that had anything to do with the excitement that gripped the competitors on the Friday night or not will probably never be known. Suffice to say, the Morrison family bach was treated to some spirited conversation and sparkling wit, and, for the hardened bunch of OK sailors that saw the evening through to the end, flashbacks may recur for years.

Amazingly, the forecasters had it right and the mighty OK sailors arrived at Turangi Yacht Club to find a flat calm, leaving plenty of time to slowly rig, discuss world issues and, in some cases, conduct a close inspection of the flora and fauna bordering the carpark (as a side note, it is great to see that the OK fleet still has a few keen botanists and nature lovers, continuing one of the strong traditions of this class).

TYC Principal Race Officer Wally van der Aa, and his crack team, started the races around 1pm in a widely shifty breeze that caused the first race to be a procession. First around was Matt Stechman followed by Nige Mannering and Ben Morrison. Nige got past on the first reach/fetch and from there it was a soldiers course with Ben Morrison third and newcomer from the USA, Eric Rone, in fourth.

The wind stabilised for the second race allowing for some tacking up the beats. Paul Rhodes led for the first lap but was ground down by Alistair Deaves who went on to take the gun. Race three followed in a similar fashion with Deaves passing Rone on the last leg to take another bullet.

For the last race of the day the wind had gone right before the start and made it a one tack beat. Rone made the best of it and led around the top. On the second beat Stechmann and O'Connell banged the right hard and came out smelling of roses, while Morrison, who had rounded in third and banged the left hard, didn't (“absolutely dorked” would be an accurate description!).

Overnight Deaves had a handy lead from O'Connell but despite a similar forecast for the next day, the Saturday nights activities were rather quiet, with a formal black tie dinner at the magnificent Bridge Lodge, followed by snooker and cognac. Matt Stechmann was in fine fettle, and entertained the lads with witty repartee and tales of adventure on the high seas.

With still very little breeze on the Sunday morning, everyone enjoyed some beach chat and relaxing. By 11 am the wind had arrived at 4-5 knots and Wally sent the fleets out. Just after the start of race five, Rob Hengst, Jono Clough and Nige Mannering found themselves on the left side of the course on a 40 degree left hand lift and led into the top mark in that order. Deaves and O'Connell came back from the right on a small shift and just kept in touch. On the second beat Deaves sailed around the leaders and into the lead and held to the finish from Mannering and Rhodes.

Finally, in Races 6 and 7, O'Connell got his act together and led both races across the line. Deaves took two seconds and with them his first Turangi title since 2005. Deaves is also the only sailor to beat O'Connell in the last four ranking regattas.

Many thanks to Wally and his team at Turangi for another exceptional weekend.

2013/14 Turangi International Open - Results
1Alistair DeavesNZL 542Wakatere BC511512212
2Luke O'ConnellNZL 546Worser Bay BC933251115
3Paul RhodesNZL 517Worser Bay BC6624153526
4Nigel ManneringNZL 512Napier SC186329727
5Eric RoneNZL 536Wakatere BC427766429
6Matt StechmannNZL 549Naval Point SC3781842231
7Ben MorrisonNZL 530 Wakatere BC2541298331
8Rob HengstNZL 533Napier SC14115647639
9Jono CloughNZL 498Wakatere BC131011835845
10Steve McDowellNZL 545Worser Bay BC12910227101260
11Adrian ColthardNZL 531Napier SC817141012141169
12Dave van der WendeNZL 492Wakatere BC191312914151578
13Sefton PowrieNZL 547Wakatere BC719191419121081
14Russell WoodNZL 526Wakatere BC221415221011981
15Chris DevineNZL 548Napier SC1615171311131381
16Dean ColemanNZL 500Wakatere BC1012161513161882
17Bill MackyNZL 479Wakatere BC1118131118181788
18Marty PikeNZL 472Napier SC1516211716171495
19Adrian ManneringNZL 504Napier SC18492222222297
20Nigel ComberNZL 510Wakatere BC17202016202016109
21 Dan BushNZL 478Wakatere BC22211822201922122