In the run up to the Turangi event, there was plenty of ballsy banter and bluster about who would be attending the famous Turangi international. It would appear that a seemingly innocuous comment about it being cold recently, put the frighteners on the majority of the fleet, with only 8 keen sailors fronting from Auckland, Wellington and Napier.
On the drive up, travellers were buffeted by the wind on the desert road, on the drive down, they were witness to white caps and squalls at Taupo and Hatepe.
After the usual greetings and handshakes, boats were rigged and sailors donned their superman suits ready for racing. The tide was in this year, which made launching easy. A steady 12knots sped the boats to the start line, Wally setting the usual windward/leeward course. The 1st race saw the fleet having to hike, a decent breeze, with the occasional strong puff blowing through. The fleet was reasonably close, with positions changing frequently, the bullet being taken by Luke “Colt” O”Connell, 2nd Ben Morrison, and 3rd going to Paul “Gouch” Rhodes, making a welcome return to the fleet.
The 2nd race saw a drop in wind strength, with the fleet, pretty much all on the same tack running out of wind halfway up the first beat. The direction and strength changed frequently, and Morrison led around the first mark followed closely by Adrian Coulthard who soon took the lead. Morrison then fell into a hole, Coulthard sailed away for a tremendous win (his first in this fleet) and Colt snuck through for second, with light weather specialist Daniel Bush taking 3rd.
The wind crapped out even more for Race 3, and Coulty was the 1st to suggest pulling the pin for the day in hopes of taking his first ever Tiki, with Bushy even starting to sail back to the beach. The start line was re-positioned at the other end of the course, and the boats sailed down to decide what was happening.
With the top mark in the middle of an oily glass mirror, the fleet persuaded Wally to start a 1 lap race, good progress was made half way up the beat, when all the fleet slowed and looked for pressure. Rob Hengst had plenty of pressure, banging the left and sailing to the top mark, and never looking back from there. Colt took another 2nd, with Simon “Pom” Probert taking a credible 3rd. This was the last race of the day, which meant Rob won the Tiki. Rob had only won the Tiki once before, in 1998, also on Lake Taupo (although at Taupo rather than Turangi).
The boys adjourned to the Turangi pub for a steak dinner, followed by nightcaps at Perrow’s timeshare apartment.
Sunday brought breezy conditions in Turangi, although when the fleet got to Stump Bay, the wind was less, and the conditions looked almost perfect.
The first race saw half of the fleet heading left, the others middle / right, with gains made for the latter. The recurring theme for the day was to be other people leading the races, with Colt working his way up from deep (and in one case thinking he was over and returning to the start line), and still winning. Morrison led around every first mark, but just couldn’t keep Colt out. There were also lots of photo finishes, Coulty being pipped by Perrow a couple of times, and Colt pipping Perrow for the last race of the day, and with it another Tiki.
Colt won the awesome Turangi Trophy, Ben the Silver Trout, and Perrow the Bronze Trout.
Those that made the effort were rewarded with some close racing, and the great hospitality we always receive from Wally and his crew.
Next year sees the club celebrate its 50th year – this should be a special event, that is hopefully well attended by the fleet.
By Bob Uppindown
BS Sport publishing