Hutt City Windsurf Cup – Jack Holliday NZL 91
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Hutt City Windsurf Cup – Jack Holliday NZL 91

Bringing the experience of a large international windsurf event to New Zealand was the vision for the inaugural Hutt City Windsurf Cup. Certainly the scene played out at Eastbourne on Friday morning could be lifted straight from any of the PWA events around the world. A sea of brand new gear littered the grass area with sail numbers from all over the world. The media people scurried from interview to interview while the drone buzzed overhead. Competitors rushed around getting ready in their matching race vests.

Wellington was forecast to live up to its windy reputation with 30+ knots on the cards. However it seemed reluctant to show up early with a gusty 12 -20+ knots across the course. In the gold fleet Laurence, Fred and Jack emerged as the main contenders for the podium spots. The Kiwis Jack and Laurence gambled on using their big sails and boards while Fred – like the majority of the fleet - stuck with smaller equipment. While they had to fight for control in the gusts, the acceleration out of the gybes and speed through the lulls saw the kiwis take the advantage before the break, Laurence taking three bullets, Jack two and Fred one.

Fred struck straight back after the break. Jack and Laurence struggled with their big gear as the wind built. Fred easily took the win, Laurence held on well for second and Jack collided with Dan Meehan ending up near last. With all three sailors drawn together, Heat 5 shaped up to be a big one. The race had to be rerun as everyone pushed the line. Jack ended up getting the better start just sneaking around the mark in first with Laurence and Fred right on his heels. It was a great battle with Laurence diving in for the pass at every mark – finally getting the inside line around the last mark to take first! After that Laurence cruised on the win all his remaining races while Jack and Fred battled it out finishing on equal points – the nod going to Fred on countback.   

The next group down all had the skills to take individual race wins but struggled at times for consistency. Laurent had amazing speed taking two wins, but struggled with the cold and cramp later in the event. The Aussies Julian and Isaac suffered from not having big gear early in the event but showed their class as the wind picked up with consistent podium results. Luke Holliday sailed his best event to date lifting his game in some epic battles with Stephan Vuduc and pulling off 3rd Kiwi. South Islander Dan Meehan was very unlucky getting taken out, sailing the wrong heat and crashing at critical times. His first in round 5 shows what he is capable of.

The remaining Kiwis battled it out with the Juniors – who need to be congratulated for stepping up to the gold fleet and must have learned a huge amount sailing with the internationals. There was some great results smattered among the competitors; Angus, Max, Kristaps and Alex all had podium finishes while Tim Wood, Tom O’neil and Chris Bolt snagged fourths.  

In the silver fleet Darren, Bernie, David and James signalled their intent, each taking wins. However
Darren’s consistency earned him the title over David Steele and Martin Sporli. The A team Anne and Amy finished very well overall but the highlight was them each grabbing a second place. Other sailors who had podium finishes were Bruce, Ian, Scott Tillet (In his first ever race) and Keith Stark.
With winds gusting over 30 knots by the end of the day everyone who completed every race did amazingly well.

Unfortunately we didn’t have any more wind for the weekend but Saturday was a good time. Most competitors hung out with the Rock Roadies, played ballrush, checked out the market while some of the more adventurous went foiling behind the start boat. Muritai yacht club cooked up a mean feed and kept everyone well hydrated – prompting a few hardy sailors to sample the Wellington nightlife.

The forecast never looked promising for Sunday so everyone had time to pack up and get into the prize giving early. Highlights included Chris Bolt accepted the women’s division trophies like the strong independent woman he is, the Juniors scraping for the sail donated by Gaastra NZ and the champagne showers on the podiums.

Massive thanks to Laurence Carey for bring the whole event together! As usual a dedicated team of volunteers (to many to list) made everything possible. Finally big thanks to everyone who made it to the event – whether from down the road or Western Australia to make the event what it was.

 

Rebecca Moore :

rebecca@moorepc.co.nz
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