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Brad Marsh reports on Young 88 solo champs win

by Brad Marsh 26 May 21:19 NZST
Brad Marsh onboard Dangerzone © Matt Smeaton North Sails

Sunday May 24th was the Bruce Elliott Memorial Single Handed Champs and the first event of the BBYC run 1,2,3 series for the Young 88 class. We purchased Dangerzone from Wellington with the intention of bringing it back to the Auckland fleet to enjoy the benefits of the class and the wide and varied racing it offers.

With a “nice” NE blowing of between 16 and 22 knots the Race committee of hardy volunteers stood in the rain and wind and sent us on the first of three windward leeward harbour courses in the Northern Leading vicinity. It was a nervous line up for the first start as we were all facing backwards trimming the jibs on then looking forward and anxiously wishing we had a bowman to tell us how far from the line we were with 10 seconds to  go!

The first race showed everyone who was going to be hard to beat with Flash Gordon leading the way to the first mark and then all the way round the track to take the gun. Dangerzone spent a lot of time staring at the back of Flash Gordon until a crafty manoeuvre by Vagabond at the top mark slipped Chris Brodie into second place for the run to the finish line. Behind the pack were extremely close with only four minutes separating everyone in an hour-long race.

The second race was on the same course and with everyone getting over their nerves and working out how to sail in the breeze and sea state, the start was even tighter again. An unfortunate moment for Flash Gordon who hoisted his jib with a couple of minutes to go and the tack came undone. He could be seen yelling at his bowman until realising he needed to go up there and solve the issue himself. If you need a job done well, always do it yourself.

The second highlight of the race came when we all got to the bottom mark only to realise another race was also using the same mark but coming from a different direction. I approached the mark on port ready to round only to look up and see Ponsonby Scow bearing down on the mark on starboard preparing for a 180 degree turn at the same time I was hoping to do a 180 degree turn the other way. A quick check of Voodoo and Vagabond saw the fear in their eyes too.

The jib trimmer (that’s me) had the jib strapped in already 5 lengths from the mark, the mainsheet trimmer (that’s me) had a knot in the mainsheet whilst the navigator (that’s me) had made a slight error on the lay line and the rest of the fleet were punishing team Dangerzone for that. The Ponsonby Scow had no idea Team Danger Zone was a team of one and if she wanted to stop or avoid collision, she needed to start that sequence 30 minutes ago! The only thing to do was shut my eyes and turn the corner! 

The third and final race of the day was again led from start to finish by Flash Gordon with some good fleet racing in between. A great downwind run with five boats lined up alongside each other sailing downwind with jibs winged out and enjoying the fresh breeze was a highlight. 

A couple of minor incidents to a couple of boats throughout the day, but all in all a great day sailing with in a very competitive fleet, a great bunch of owners and sailors and an impressive volunteer squad setting up the racing. Thank you to the Young 88 class, to Chris Marsh the Race Officer and thank you to BBYC for hosting the day. Dangerzone is looking forward to the two-handed race day in a fortnight when we will be racing as a husband and wife duo.

For more information on this and other Young 88 events refer to the event page on the Class Association web site.

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