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New Zealand Freshwater Championships 1998

Lake Taupo

February 06.-08.

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Report by Alistair Deaves

Twenty four OKs gathered on the beautiful Lake Taupo over the Waitangi weekend to contest the Freshwater Championships. Freshwater sailing in New Zealand is rare and everyone was taking the opportunity not to take the event very seriously. It was good to see a wide selection of juniors there, three from Auckland and five from Napier. Also competing were four Europeans. Birke Taufenbach from Germany, Thomas Hanson-Mild from Sweden and Alistair Deaves and Rodney Thorne from England.

Memories of this event are not too clear now, suffice to say that the wind was shifty and variable. A high placing in any race was never certain until you crossed the line. Ben Morrison sailed from first to tenth during the last beat of one race, while Graham Lambert came from nowhere and almost won.

On the only day that we had a decent breeze, the racing was postponed as we had to watch speedboats hammer around the lake with mind numbing repetition doing some sort of race thing. By the time they got bored (or finished their race or whatever they were doing) all the wind had gone again and we were left with a patchy shifty mess. Birke tried her own method of trying to overcome the conditions by distracting the fleet by sailing around in her underpants. This didn't work either, although she swears blind that she thought no-one would notice.

The racing then was dominated by the juniors. Russell Wood and Daniel Bush had there customary duel, with Ben Morrison seperating them in the final standings. Napier's Fenwick brothers Hamish and Chris sailed extremely well, winning three of the six races between them. Top European was Thomas, after a close battle with Alistair.

The main events of the weekend were the evening activities involving beer and boats and policemen, and several embarrassed juniors being presented with torches at the prizegiving. To sum up the weekend though, Joe Porebski arrived at the start line for the last race, with his son Josh, on board a jet-ski - the only sure way to arrive at the windward mark first.

1Russell WoodNZL 50021
2Ben MorrisonNZL 49024
3Daniel BushNLZ 50126
4Hamish FenwickNZL 46827
5 Chris FenwickNZL48430
6Thomas Hanson-MildSWE 031
7Grant PedersonNZL 4931
8Alistair DeavesGBR 204633
9Rob HengstNZL 46740
10Jarrad WallaceNZL 50+46
11Scott PedersonNZL 49851
12Craig PryceNZL 49954
13Birke TaufenbachGER 36954
14Dave BushNZL 758
15Graham LambertNZL 49362
16 Trent PryceNZL 47964
17Laurie EvansNZL 48384
18Arron ParvinNZL 47488
19Paul RhodesNZL 49791
20Rodney ThorneGBR 47097