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Top sailors poised to contest Elliott 5.9 National Championship

by Gareth Howard and Kristine Horne 16 May 16:34 NZST
R&R leads Smack and Slam Dunk at 2020 Nationals © Elliott 5.9 Class Owners Association

With 16 entries from the Far North to the South Island confirmed, the upcoming Elliott 5.9 National Championships in Whitianga are set to be a fierce-as-ever challenge of one-design yacht racing.

Hosted by the Mercury Bay Boating Club from 20-22 May, the event features a mix of sailors new and well-seasoned, all pushing to knock six-time running National Champions on board Rough & Reddy off the top spot.

A number of highly regarded crews have recently entered the class with clear intentions of trying to wrestle the trophy from Craig Satterthwaite and his crew (Routh & Reddy) who have been gatekeepers of the ‘best in NZ’ title since 2015.

North Sails have assembled some of their best one-design sailors including Derek Scott, Ben Costello and Richard Bicknell to sail Retro, while former OK Dinghy World Champion Matt Stechman has joined forces with Sam Edwards and Keith Hogan to sail SMAK. Last year with a different crew on board, SMAK finished on equal points with the eventual National Championship winner and lost only on the count-back system of breaking a tie.

Slam Dunk, sailed by Class President Stu Clarke with Stu Molloy and Cam Horne are also expected at the front of the fleet, based on their continued improvement in recent seasons and the history of the crew having won several championships in the past.

With a number of new owners attending their first Elliott 5.9 Nationals, the rookie title is clearly up for grabs between Ewok, Icebreaker, and the recently renamed Reverlly (formally Wai Kat a Moo Cow). Also relatively new to the fleet is the young gun crew on Tekno who will fancy their chances in the 40 stone trophy, awarded to the best-placed boat with the total crew weight under 40 stone (255kg).

With a growing number of females now competing among the fleet, the class is pleased to welcome back previous owner Carla Bennett, who will be sailing on the Wellington-based Bob.

As proven by Zoot Allures 3 rd place finish at the recent Rotoiti Traveller Series regatta, consistency through the regatta will be the most important element to work up the leaderboard. The Napier, Nelson and Northland boats will have been watching class stalwart Dave Cochrane’s approach to sailing smart in this one-design fleet, proving that any one of the 16 entrants are in with a title shot for this tightly contested event.

Mercury Bay Boating Club has organised a great onshore program and with a number of supporters also traveling to Whitianga to join the crews. This contest is shaping up to be hotly contested on the water and a friendly social atmosphere off the water.

Follow results and pictures online and for more information on the Elliott 5.9 Class Association visit

A full list of previous National Champions can be found online here.

About The Elliott 5.9

The Elliott 5.9 emerged in the early 1980s as a high-performing trailer yacht and continues to deliver competitive one-design racing in a welcoming fleet of world-class sailors and novices alike. The boats started a revolution with their well-balanced and cost-effective design, and quickly become the boat

of choice for top club training schemes and a breeding ground for NZ’s America’s Cup, Ocean Race and Olympic champions.

Sailed by a crew of three, the Elliott 5.9 remains a low-maintenance sailboat with an efficient single spreader fractional rig, a well-balanced sail plan and a practical deck layout. Whether sailing among mixed trailer yachts, sport boat fleets, or in a one-design setting, the 5.9 is celebrated for its responsiveness and outstanding value.

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