Sam Osborne’s crew win the 2012 Baltic Lifejackets NZ Women’s Keel Boat Championships - By Just One Point

The fickle Auckland Autumn weather threw everything at the organisers and competitors alike for this year’s NZ Women’s Keel Boat Championships, run by the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron on the 28th & 29th April. On Saturday the crews faced a 20 to 30 knot Westerly that severely tested their spinnaker handling skills and on Sunday each time the wind came in it disappeared almost as quickly.

Claire Johnson keeps a watchfull eye on the weather behind her.

Gillian William’s crew started the regatta with a first and appeared to be in commanding form. Gillian was unlucky to catch a spinnaker sheet between the rudder and the hull which jammed the rudder in the second race,and cost her 2 races whilst the problem was solved and a chance of winning the regatta.

Gillian Williams adapting to the lighter conditions on day 2.

As a result, Joy Adams with a string of consistent results and a first in the last race of the day, was the overnight leader, followed by Sam Osborne, Danielle Bowater and Melinda Henshaw.

Melinda Henshaw prepares for the next gust

Sundays racing proved as challenging with steady North West breeze at the start of each race crumping out by the finish. Sam Osborne fresh from 2nd place in the MRX Owners Champs put together the most consistent results to finish just one point clear of Joy Adams in the end.

Joy Adams with a 1st place in sight

All the crews had their moments and small mistakes proved costly in the evenly matched one design MRX fleet. First places were shared between 5 of the 8 crews - Sam, Joy, Danielle, Melinda and Gillian – showing that the regatta was there for the taking by the crew who could be most consistent.

Danielle Bowater had to make do with 3rd this year

Holly Farmer stayed clean the whole regatta - no mean accomplishment

It was great to see 2 crews from Tauranga this year led by Holly Farmer and new comer Rhonda Ritchie.

Baptism by fire - first time in the MRX's for Rhonda Ritchies Tauranga Crew

Sam Osborne and crew - deserving winners

Congratulations to the winning crew - Sam Osborne, Simone Locke, Hannah Morris, Paige Cook, Carla Holgate, Raynor Smeall & Taylor Holland

Special thanks are due to the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron and Race Officer Celia Carson and her team for running the regatta and to Baltic Lifejackets from Safety at Sea for their generous sponsorship.

For more pictures from the regatta click on this link

Final Results