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New Zealand, 2018 Brass Monkey

Napier Sailing Club, Napier

2 - 3 June

Report by Rod Davis

26 intrepid sailors competed in the Brass Monkey OK tradition, more if you count our Napier “injured-out players” who took on race committee duties. So an excellent turn out by everyone. The old guard was represented by legends of the class like Bushy, Oscar, Alistair and Ben; current hot shots Steve McDowell and Luke O’Connell were complimented by new faces Nick Mannering, Thomas Olds and Ben Costello.

Napier seems to be windy enough to blow dogs off chains or as light as a silent fart. This year was light, as in so light that only occasionally did the fly weights get to sit on the deck. Big shifts and holes made it a great equaliser when it came to results.

Boats were held on shore Saturday for an hour while the race course was assessed. The first race, windiest of the series at a howling five knots, was won by Luke after a good tussle with Steve, showing the form with which Luke cleaned out the fleet in the Turangi drift-off three months’ ago.

Saturday’s second race started in three to four knots and the wind died from there. In the end of the shortened course there was no wind and a third of the fleet did not finish. But the racing at the front of the fleet was hot, with Alistair trading blows with Eric Rone, right to the end. It was Eric Rone’s first race in his Reido built Leech design 583 as he was attaching fittings on shore at the start of race one. And what a race - first race, first at the finish and the first time he has felt the weight and responsibility of the Tiki! Not a bad start for the new boat. Luke staying on form with a third and leading overall at the end of the day.

Sunday brought rain but not much wind. It also brought to life one Steve McDowell! After a short delay we were back out with everyone on side with the thinking, better we race with what little wind we have than wait. After several general recalls and a black flag, the fleet sailed a windward/leeward course. Dominated by Steve, second was Alistair and Thomas Olds third (in Luke’s old boat). Big shifts mixed the middle order of the fleet to the point that everyone felt the thrill of passing boats and the agony of getting it wrong.

The last race of the four race regatta saw overnight leader Luke O’Connell drop off the podium with an 11th in race three. Alistair Deaves trailed Steve by just one point and Thomas one point behind Alistair. The rest of the fleet battling to close the gap.

The race was won by Steve (yet again) who was now in blinding form, Eric second and Oscar Wilde finding form to finish third. No more wind or racing so boats drifted home.

There was an incident in the first downwind leg that even the most experienced Olympian and America’s Cup sailors can get wrong, very wrong! Soon after the fleet rounded the top mark to make their way downwind in three knots of wind, an unnamed sailor tried to push his boom out to 90 degrees (he used bungee too small for the job, because small diameter is less windage:-) Going forward and leeward to gently push the boom just that little bit more, he slipped and gently fell forward, leeward into the boom and rail. From there it was slow motion, the brain saying this can be saved, the body refusing direct orders. They say when you get older the first things to go are balance and reaction time. But what do ‘they’ know. I know this sailor’s boat rolled over and capsized!

Righting it was quick and efficient, and surprisingly the group he was in was only six boat lengths further down the track. Funny that, when the sailing speed is only three knots. But the next problem is how to get the water out of the boat. Not fast enough to use the bailers, so it’s a sponge. Lots and lots of spongeing. The whole time ‘this sailor’ was reported to be saying “position the boat first, then sponge the water out”. There is no truth to the rumour the IOC is looking to strip medals for bringing the Wakatere OK fleet into disrepute (thankfully!).

Packing up boats in the rain (why does it always rain when you want to pack up?) did nothing to dampen the feeling. Steve wins overall, Alistair second and Thomas third.

Thanks to the Napier Sailing Club for their warm hospitality (as always) and running races in difficult conditions. Nice work boys!

2018 Brass Monkey - Results
PlcName:Sail #R1R2R3R4Total
1Steve McDowellNZL 545271111
2Alistair DeavesNZL 542722415
3Thomas OldsNZL 546363820
4Rod DavisNZL 5808451027
5Luke OconnellNZL 57813111530
6Eric RoneNZL 583DNC14234
7Adrian ManneringNZL 5491489536
8Gary LockNZL 53311513938
9Sefton PowrieNZL 564417101243
10Adrian CoulthardNZL 53118147645
11Mike WildeNZL 57517188346
12Nick ManneringNZL 512612141446
13Jono CloughNZL 4981015151151
14Ben CostelloNZL 559913181353
15Dean ColemanNZL 568201117755
16Nigel ManneringNZL 5715DNF61856
17Brett DanielNZL 56113920OCS69
18Sam MarshallNZL 4821216192269
19Simon ProbertNZL 56515DNF121670
20Ed GoodyNZL 5022110212072
21Ray HallNZL 55119DNF221987
22Graham ArcusNZL 50923DNF162389
23Nigel ComberNZL 51122DNF231789
24Ben MorrisonNZL 56216DNFDNCDNC97
25Daniel BlainNZL 48525DNF252198
26Dan BushNZL 47824DNF242499