Waiheke turned on the weather for the Auckland J14 ‘Jollyboat’ Championships at the weekend, providing 13 boats with conditions in Oneroa Bay which ranged from testing to benign and from wintry to summery.
It was Waiheke Boating Club’s first major regatta since it hosted the J14 nationals in 2008.
The Jollyboats are a fast, fun sailing dinghy with a main and jib sail, able to be sailed by parent and child or single-handed.
A strong, cold south-easterly made for gripping racing early on Saturday, particularly in close to the cliffs, where windshifts created some drama.
But predictions of even stronger wind and some rain proved wrong: winds eased in the afternoon and Sunday turned on the sun. Conditions even allowed the club to throw-in a coastal race to Owhanake – a “Waiheke special” to conclude the eight-race programme.
“It was a really good showcase for sailing on the island,” says club vice-commodore Grant Crawford, one of five locals who competed. “It was nice conditions for these boats and Sunday was just delightful.”
The 13 entrants came from as far afield as Morrinsville and French Bay but Maraetai sailors dominated, filling five of the first seven placings. Richard Whitiskie in Sublime was overall winner, with a fourth placing his worst result.
Grant Crawford led the Waiheke contingent, finishing fifth-equal. One of the most admired performances came from J14 novice Richard Potter in No. 28, the oldest boat in the fleet, fresh from 14 years in storage. Potter completed all eight races and finished 12th overall.
1. Richard Whitiskie (Maraetai), Sublime.
2. Fergus Thomson (French Bay), Dry reach
3. Mark Winters (Maraetai), Weapon. •