Jollyboat National Championship 2016
11-13th March 2016, Bay of Islands Yacht Club
with thanks to Christine Hansen from Wakatere for the photos :)
The 2016 Jollyboat Nationals were sailed in the Bay of Islands alongside the 3.7 Nationals. The friendly hospitality of BOIYC went down well with both classes and the visiting youth sailors attending the inter schools champs over the weekend. Sumptuous food, including some beautifully smoked king fish, provided the foundation for a healthy and family friendly apres sail environment.
24 boats entered and it was a pleasure to see some new faces and a strong turnout of double handed crews which are the lifeblood of the Jollyboat class. Combos included father and son, father and daughter, and good mates.
The quality of the sailing was high, with many lead changes in each race pointing to the close competition that the class is enjoying these days with all the top boats able to win races. Some did this better and more consistently than others and tight starts and close finishes were the order of the day.
In the double handed boats Rob and Dan Neeley convincingly defended their Nationals title and took away the World Champions Salad Bowl for the second year in a row. With equal speed to burn upwind they were often locked in battle with Graham Fleury who revelled in the breezy conditions on Saturday and could match Rob and Dan's pace and height upwind. Often these two crews looked stuck together by an piece of elastic.
Two Handed and Overall winner: Rob and Dan Neeley
Single Handed: Graham Fleury
Silver Fleet Winner: Mark Winters
Handicap Winners: Gareth Moore and Charlie Loughran
Buddy Prize: Adrian France & Ben Gibson-Gera
The Mermaid was won by Torbay after Andrew Brown 'jumped ship'
Races were won by Blair, Roger, Brownie, Rob and Fergus.
Starts and mark roundings all had their moments and the Jolly fleet had to take care turning corners to avoid stranded 3.7s or flocks of Starlings, especially on Saturday when the breeze was in.
Worthy of special mention are Adrian and Ben in Jedi who were up at the front more than once and took home the Buddy Prize. Mark Winters also demonstrated a return to form, with his highest placing a 3rd, and he took home the Silver Fleet Plate. Fergus Thomson also sailed a blinder in the last race on Sunday, after getting the lie of the track pre race, he executed perfectly shutting out challenges from all comers to take the final race in style. Gareth and Charlie sailed their first J regatta and improved steadily through the event to win on handicap.
Gear still varies widely especially in sails with North Sails, Evolution, Doyle Sails and Fyfe Sails all featured in the fleet. What is apparent is the gradual move to stiffer masts. The single handers dialling in more twist where the double handed crews are able to hold more power for longer as the wind speed increases. Boats are all looking pretty tidy too but there are contrasts in setup of the simplicity of Casper and Hot Shot vs Blair and Graham's technical masterpieces. In the end it's a healthy statement for the class that you can configure your J in your own style to your own way of thinking.
Many will not forget the two blast reaches home on Saturday and Sunday, a great way to sign off each day on the swells rolling in from the Pacific.
Thanks is duly given to Roger Hall who lead the charge with the team from BOIYC to put on a quality regatta whilst also winning Race 5 along the way. Thanks too to our PRO, all at BOIYC that gave their time to host the visitors in fine style. You have one of the best dinghy sailing venues in the country and the Class looks forward to a return visit in years to come.
Special thanks to all the event sponsors for your support of the class.