Best Ever NZ Open? The committee organising the event thought it was the best ever NZ Open. The wind was great with 8-10 knts at times on Thursday and Sunday and up to 20+ knts on Friday and Saturday with a bit of rain as well. This meant everyone will be happy they sailed in conditions that suited them at some stage during the event. The outcome overall was 100 races, only a minor hiccup at one stage when the transponders didn’t work for a race and the timing battery was going flat and needed to be replaced on a “no sun” day. The races were stopped twice because of a squall coming through with heavy rain and wind and the Super Heavies had a race that couldn’t be completed on the Friday because of light wind and having to wheel on the downwind legs, twice. Well done Teresa on keeping the event safe and fair. The second outcome was fantastic racing, very close with a variety of people making it into the front bunch in different races. All divisions had the top 3 decided on the last day, some going to the last race. This created some pressure, some folding, some coming back and some nailing it. The third outcome for the ABC, winners in all divisions, and all the podium placings were ABC members except for Dave Pearson in Lights (give the guy a free membership!). Many visitors complemented the ABC on the way the event was run, from preparation, format, racing, Rosies café, the dinners and social times and the friendly atmosphere around the Ardmore track. Well done to those who made this happen. The racing It was all exciting races with battles going on throughout the fleet. In the light weight division there were 7 different winners throughout the event with Chad taking the first and Corri the second to give the more fancied sailors a wake-up call early on. David Heilbron had a couple of real bad ones despite also winning some races on the first day so had to rely on some drops after day 2 to come back into contention. Marg nailed the start and sailed to an easy win in race 6 and Dave Pearson and John both got wins on the second day after sitting close overnight. Brian and Rosie were also up the front at times but threw in some bad ones as well. Phil had a great last two days with the more consistent heavier winds but couldn’t make up ground from some early bad races. With David H continuing to commit major mistakes amongst his wins he was keeping Dave P in the running. Oh what could have been but for the timing loop not reading for race 12! In the end David H finished off with a second and three wins to confirm the title after another blunder in race 21. John Paverd came home comfortably in third ahead of Brian and Marg. The Middle weights came down to a battle between Graham and Grant. With some wins also going to Trevor, Tony, Jenny and Graeme it quickly became apparent it was a two horse race with Graham taking the early lead on day one and defending throughout the next 3 days. A comfortable lead on the last day evaporated when a broken mast crane forced Graham to retire but luckily Grant only recorded a 5th for the race. Then the last race Graham got taken out at the start by someone unknown, was forced into the cones, did a 360 degree penalty and then trailed the fleet for the first lap. The spectators were amazed as Graham came back from the long runway leg after 2 laps in 6th place. At the end of the third lap he was back in front and going for the line with Trevor and Grant chasing hard. Great sailing and no one can say how he did it, especially Graham! It was a well deserved overall win for Graham, another Ingall name on the trophy list. The Heavies also had an intriguing series. Day 1 saw Russell take some wins with Bruce sitting close behind with 2 wins, Al Kearney with 1 bad one and all the rest top 3 places, Nicko the same with top 3 places and Barry also hanging close but carrying a dsq. Al came out fighting day 2 starting with a 3, 1, 1, 2, 2 but then throwing in a couple of 5th placings. Russell had 3 wins and then seconds and a third but also a OCS which took care of the first drop. Barry started to work his way up the leader board with consistent top 3 sailing while Bruce and Nicko had to live with a few bad ones. Ross Ludwig came through for a win in race 14 to show he could be a contender for the minor placings. Russell had a good last 2 days with 7 wins and two seconds plus a withdrawal through breakage to stay at the top but the fight for 2nd and 3rd continued to the last race. With Barry getting a puncture in race 19 after having the better of Al most of the day it was a race for race battle for the minor placings with Barry needing to beat Al by 2 places in the last race. He beat him by 1. The Super Heavies was a very different contest with Theo taking the early lead on day one and leaving the rest to chase hard over the next 3 days to make up the ground. Ross started well but a couple of average races didn’t help and Wayne looked out of it in the first 4 races before deciding he’d better get out of first gear. Day 2 saw close racing with Trevor and Russell Whitehead also having the odd good race to keep the front 3 looking over their shoulders. The last day started with Theo having a couple of bad ones and then a gear failure which effectively handed the battle over to Wayne and Ross. In the end Wayne was more consistent and took the title by 8 points. It sounds comfortable but never was up until a race to go. Thanks to the timing team, Teresa and race officers and marshals, Rosie and her kitchen crew, Tony for grid duty, David, Sonja and Natalya for Thursday night, The Rosies for Saturday night, and all those others who made it a huge success, including the long distant travellers.