It was time once again to leave the cold city in the middle of winter and travel to the winterless north. 14 OKs made the trip up from Auckland to the Whangaruru Yacht Club in Oakura Bay, just south of Cape Brett on Saturday morning. The sun was out and there was a little breeze. There was a bit of a surf on the beach on the way out but the fleet managed to get out to the race area ok. While the race committee was setting the course, the breeze dropped to nothing, then filled in to about 6-10 knts coming straight off the land. The race management placed the top mark right under the point which made for some huge losses and gains to be made on the final approach as the breeze swung dramatically.
Race One. Straight out of the blocks was Eric ‘Wolf’ Rone and Russell ‘Mudsy’ Page-Wood, with Jono ‘Rabbit’ Clough right behind at the top mark. At the wing mark Rabbit had taken the lead and extended the whole race to take the win. Mudsy finished 2nd. and Mark ‘Orange Roughy’ Perrow finished 3rd.Race 2. This time it was Mark ‘Orange Roughy’ Perrow who rounded the top mark first but was hunted down by Rabbit on the first reach, who then extended for another win. Phil ‘Campervan’ Covney sailed a great race to move into second, showing great form from the recent OK Worlds in France; Wolf rounded up the top 3.Race 3. Wolf managed to lead the race from start to finish, but it was close. He had a massive lead halfway up the first beat, but fell into a hole. With Rabbit coming in from the left and Gordon ‘The New Marksman’ Simms charging in from the right, Wolf just managed to wriggle round the top mark first and extend a little on the run. Rabbit finished a close second with The New Marksman 3rd.Race 4. was quite shifty up by the top mark with some big losses and gains. Rabbit capsized on the reach to be last, Orange Roughy had taken the lead by the wing mark but then dropped the mainsheet to capsize slowly to windward and be passed by everyone in the fleet, retiring from the race. Marc ‘Dog’ Gris took the lead round the bottom followed by Mudsy, The New Marksman and Wolf. The fleet had bunched up round the bottom mark and was very close. Wolf sailed a good race to take his second win of the day. Mudsy got 2nd, The New Marksman 3rd, and Rabbit pipped Dog on the line to steal 4th.
That concluded racing for the day, and the fleet sailed in for a big BBQ and some beers at the Whangaruru Yacht Club. The drinking continued into the night with much discussion around the upcoming Worlds in Barbados.The next morning there not a breath of wind, and after some bacon and eggs, it was decided to abandon racing for the day.With the results standing from Day 1, Rabbit claimed the Northland OK Dinghy Championship, with Wolf in 2nd and Mudsy in 3rd. It was a great regatta, and one worth attending in the coming years.