Pleasant Point Yacht Club again played host to the Canterbury championships, held over the 13th and 14th of February 2016.
With racing starting early in the morning due to the tide, the fleet was expecting some delays, and the high likelihood of variable light winds.
Saturday delivered on this in spades! After an onshore postponement, a few boats ventured bravely out in a veritable drifter, before a tenuous Southerly rippled across the upper reach of the estuary directly out from the Pleasant Point Club.
With 6 races planned, all races to count, and 4 races were needed to get a series, a race was duly started in what seemed a light but stable southerly breeze. Several boats got to the top mark, before the breeze died, leaving the entire fleet drifting to (and then past!) the various marks. A couple of crews played inadvertent bumper boats, whilst the more canny "anchored" using their centreboards to avoid being pushed too far off course!
Picking small zephyrs of breeze, the fleet gradually nosed their way around the course to a result, although 3 boats were unable to finish.
Race 1, completed with mere minutes to spare, went to Paul Duder and Ian Douglas on 1563 Bad News, Peter and Catherine Shanks on 1059 Solar Flair took 2nd, with Ross Dawson and Kate Matson on 1525 Ripper in 3rd.
There were a few half-hearted grumbles about the conditions, but everyone was glad to get off the water!
Sunday bought a light easterly, and with the course set out in the deeper area of the estuary adjacent to South Brighton, it was "game on", with a number of boats vying to get redemption for Saturday's lottery.
Incredibly, 4 races were squeezed into the short time available, with Murray & Heather Walls dominating, picking up 3 straight wins, Peter and Catherine Shanks sailing well to pick up the 4th.
Further back, Ripper nailed two second places, whilst defending champions Matt and Emmeline Neale on 1668 Sunbird sailed consistently in the top 4, with past champions Craig Tomlinson and James Palleson on 1816 Tecary also putting in a strong showing.
As the fleet headed back to shore, the mental arithmetic had become too hard, with a number of boats in the running, and the maths was left to the RO to sort out.
A 5.7 magnitude aftershock, just offshore from the club, was a rather dramatic way to introduce the results announcement, and the sums having been done, revealed that Paul Duder and Ian Douglas on 1563 Bad News had done enough, with 17 points, to take the Championship. They were followed by a group of 3 tied on 18 points, which was sorted on countback with Murray and Heather Walls on 1632 Fun in 2nd (clearly disadvantaged by their DNF in race 1), Ross Dawson and Kate Matson putting in a good performance on 1525 Ripper in 3rd and Matt and Emmeline Neale on 1668 Sunbird in 4th.
The full results and high points show just how close the racing was!
1st 1563 Bad News (P. Duder & I. Douglas) PPYC 17pts
2nd 1632 Fun (M. & H. Walls) WSPBC 18pts
3rd 1525 Ripper (R. Dawson & K. Matson) WSPBC 18pts
4th 1668 Sunbird (M. & E. Neale) MPYC 18pts
5th 1816 Tecary (C. Tomlinson & J. Palleson) PPYC 21pts
6th 1059 Solar Flair (P. & C. Shanks) WSPBC 24pts
7th 1576 Soothsayer (M. & J. James) WSPBC 28pts
8th 1711 Uinme (A. & C. Barrett) PPYC 41pts
9th 1621 (A. Barrett & A. Collins) PPYC 46pts