World class pair sail to their 10th title

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 06/02/2013

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The former world No 3-ranked duo of Aaron Goodmanson and Alistair Rowlands have won a 10th national Flying Fifteen title, pipping their rivals on the final day of sailing in Tasman Bay yesterday.

The Nelson Yacht Club concluded hosting the 50th Flying Fifteen National Championship and 2013 Flying Dutchman National Championship with an anniversary reunion and prizegiving last night.

The competition, which doubled as a world selection regatta for the Flying Fifteens, began with an invitation race on Saturday. Three races on each of the three days were scheduled.

Heavy winds on Monday and light conditions yesterday allowed only seven races to be completed, enough to crown a series champion.

Goodmanson and Rowlands of the Charteris Yacht Club (Lyttelton) went into the final day with a slim lead over Murray Gilbert and Jonathan Burges of the Royal Akarana Yacht Club (Auckland).

The top-ranked duo claimed the first two races, and when racing was abandoned, they had done enough to earn the Wilkin-Anderson Half Model trophy.

Goodmanson and Rowlands finished the regatta with four wins, two second placings and a third which wasn't scored. Gilbert and Burges, sailing "Frenetic", finished with three firsts, three seconds and a 10th, which was dropped.

Along with the first and second placegetters, the next three boats qualified for the world champs taking place in Hong Kong in October.

Craig Coulam and Adrienne Rekke (Royal Akarana) were third, with John Leydon of the Motueka Club and Nelson Yacht Club member Mike Morris taking fourth. Fifth place went to Sally Garrett and Neil Easton.

However, a sixth boat will also be invited to race at the world champs, that spot going to Nelson's Sandra Williams and Napier's Graeme Robinson.

The national Flying Fifteen secretary, Williams said competition was fierce on the waters of Tasman Bay, with all 14 boats finding conditions challenging.

"The Flying Fifteens are a high performance boat, so they are very easy to sail, but very hard to sail well, with a lot of tweaks and controls," said Williams.

"Many people in these classes will sail other classes, so there was some of New Zealand's top sailors here."

The Flying Dutchman nationals were a "straight-bullet finish" with Nelson Yacht Club member Andrew McKee and Matthew Bismark, currently living in Australia, winning seven races from seven starts and taking the Rothman's Gallon trophy.

The national champions were kept honest by Nelson's Alisdair Daines and Dave Gibb, who finished five of the seven races in second. Peter and Joseph Bailey were third.

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The Flying Dutchman is a 20-foot one-design high-performance two-person monohull racing dinghy.

Although racing numbers are not that high in New Zealand, with only seven entries, the class is very popular in Europe.

The regatta's prizegiving and anniversary reunion dinner were attended by many of the class's former world stalwarts, including New Zealand's 1980 world champion skipper Barry (Skin) Finlayson.

A host of awards were presented along with the champions' trophies, including the Leatham-Edmond Memorial trophy for the first male-female crewed boat, which went to Coulam and Rekke.

When he wasn't racing, the Nelson Yacht Club Commodore Gibb had time to reflect on what the national championships bring to sailing in the region.

"Along with the P Class Nationals held here in January, it has given us a lot more exposure," he said.

"We dropped our fees at the start of the year. It is attracting a lot more people to the club and producing really good results."

- The Nelson Mail

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