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28 July Day 4

25 knot offshore winds provide plenty of excitement for final day of 2008 South Pacific Masters

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Dave Lowe from Lake Pupuke enjoying the warm & gentle tropics!

Day 1 of the South Pacific Masters was the coldest day since records began in Brisbane. Today a new record for coldest day was set!  The Kiwi's, despite being underdressed, handled the wintery conditions well and won prizes in most of the divisions.  The best of the Kiwi team was Mike Pasco who came 2nd overall in the Standard Laser and 2nd Apprentice Master.

Mike Pasco rounding the top mark during some lighter conditions today

Mike managed to cut the lead to 4 points after the first of three races today, but when the wind hit 25 knots he was unable to catch local sailor and overall winner Tony Baisden.

Kiwi's battling for position at the bottom mark. 172219 Barry Cutfield 5th, 175277 Bob Blakey 4th, 193085 Ray Beale 12th overall.

The next Kiwi was Bob Blakey who finished 4th overall and 2nd Great Grand Master.  Barry Cutfield was 5th overall and first Master with Dave Lowe 10th overall and 3rd Master.  Ray Beale was 12th overall and 4th Grand Master. Graham Sharland from Nelson, who is sailing in his first Laser Regatta did really well coming 14th overall and 5th Master.

Bob Blakey had a great Regatta finishing 4th Overall & 2nd Grand Master

Dave & Ray
Dave Lowe some distance behind Barry Cutfield & Ray Beale

Bob & Mike
Grand Master Bob Blakey giving Apprentice Master Mike Pasco some tips

Bob & Mike Top
Bob now wishing that he hadn't given the "Apprentice" so many tips!

In the Laser Radial Fleet, defending champion Richard Bott from NSW held onto his overnight lead to win again with another sailor from NSW Adam French second.  Local hero from Royal Queensland Yacht Club Greg Adams was 3rd.  Kiwi Mike Knowsley who was 2nd last year was a little disappointed with his 10th overall and 5th Apprentice but enjoyed the "learning experience".  65+ Great Grand Master Jim Quinn had a great regatta and was 2nd in his division 13th overall.  Sandra Sharland was 3rd in her division 29th overall.  

 Mike Knowsley
Mike Knowsley blast reaching in 25 knots on the final day

Jim Quinn
65+ Great Grand Master Jim Quinn up on the plane in 25 knots

All the Kiwi's had a great time even though the temperatures were setting record lows. The Queensland Laser Association & Royal Queensland Yacht Club were great hosts with plenty of great fun social activities (excluding the Rugby).  Performance Sailcraft Australia also did a great job providing new charter boats and sponsoring the Laser Masters Series.  The next event in the series is the NSW/ACT State Championships November 22 & 23. For the Kiwi's the next Regatta is the Manly Icebreaker September 28 at Manly Sailing Club. 

27 July Day 3

Light winds and big shifts test sailors and Race Committee again today.

The Kiwi's did not fair well today in the shifty 0-5 knot winds.  Finding the wind and the direction which it was next going to fill in from, was the dilemma for the Race Committee and Sailors.  Ten races were started today but only 3 were completed and one of those was severly shortened as wind completely disappeared in the afternoon.  Sailing will start early tomorrow in the expected 20 knot winds.  This should allow 3 races to be sailed and so the 2008 South Pacific Masters will have all scheduled races completed.

New Zealand's Bob Blakey lost the lead of the Standard Rig fleet today as he struggled in the drifting conditions.  Local sailor Tony Baisden now leads by 5 points from New Zealand's Mike Pasco.  In the Radials, Australian defending champion Richard Bott has a four point lead over another Australian, Adam French.  The best placed Kiwi in the Radials is Mike Knowsley who is 9th, 26 points from the lead.  The 20 knot winds forecast for the final 3 races are expected to favour the leaders but, in sailing and at the South Pacific Masters in particular, anything can happen and usually does! 

Results after day 3




Mike Pasco 3,(10),3,4,2


Bob Blakey 5,4,6,7,(8)


Barry Cutfield 7,9,1,(16),13


Ray Beale 8,13,(OCS),2,14


Dave Lowe 9,(17),2,14,12


Graham Sharland 13,11,18,(21),15


Sandra Sharland (DNF),DNS,19,29,17

 Radial 27th

Mike Knowsley 8,5,13,(17),5

Radial 9th

Jim Quinn 12,17,5,19,(20)

Radial 16th


26 July Day 2

Kiwi's 1st, 2nd & 3rd after controversial day at the 2008 South Pacific Masters.

Today was a perfect tropical sunny Queensland day, with gentle 5-10 knot winds.  Moreton Bay was a millpond as the gradient SW fought against a developing sea breeze causing big shifts and very tricky conditions for sailors and the race officials.  Race 3 in the Standard fleet was an all Kiwi affair with NZL sails leading in the first 5 spots at one stage of the race and Barry Cutfield wining followed by Dave Lowe and Mike Pasco 2nd & 3rd.  Jim Quinn did well in Race 3 of the Radials with a 5th, when a sailor could easily go from zero to hero in half a leg then back to zero again depending on whether the gradient wind or the developing sea breeze was wining the battle.

The Radial fleet had 2 races abandoned because of very big shifts on the first leg but managed to complete their two scheduled races. The Standard fleet had a controversial end to the day as race 4 was ordered to be re-sailed by the Protest Committee after a hearing that was attended by most of the fleet.

In Race 4 the Standard fleet sailed the outer loop of the trapezoid and at the wing mark for the first time a course change was signalled to a bearing of 070.  Meanwhile the race committee was lifting the outer loop gates and moving them to their new positions.  Unfortunately the people laying the gates put them back in their original position at a bearing of 100 degrees.  The Inner loop course gates were "conveniently" located at 070.  At this point the fleet split into two.  The have's and the have not's.  The have's, with compasses, sailed the instructed 070 course to the inner loop gates.  The have not's, without compasses, sailed to the incorrectly located outer loop gates.  Neither the have's nor the have not's "blinked" confident that they were going to the correct gates and the other fools were going the wrong way.  The fleet completely spilt in half with Mike Pasco from the have's getting the gun. 

At the protest hearing the race committee confirmed their mistake.  The protest committee took the only course open to them and ordered that the race be re-sailed tomorrow.  So a beautiful day on the water, but not much fun watching the Rugby in a club house full of Australian's even if they did have a very good coach!

 Results after day 2




Bob Blakey 5,4,6


Mike Pasco 3,10,3


Barry Cutfield 7,9,1


Dave Lowe 9,17,2


Graham Sharland 13,11,18


Ray Beale 8,13,OCS


Sandra Sharland DNF,DNS,19,29

 Radial 29th

Mike Knowsley 8,5,13,17

Radial 9th

Jim Quinn 12,17,5,19

Radial 12th

25 July Day 1 

Many were asked, many were called upon, but only a few were good enough and could make the ultimate sacrifice.  Only the chosen few would leave the wild and very cold NZ winter and represent NZ at the 2008 South Pacific Masters.  The following sons and daughters of our great country stood up to be counted and make that ultimate sacrifice:    




Ray Beale Standard Grandmaster Pupuke
Dave Lowe Standard Master Pupuke
Bob Blakey Standard Grandmaster Tamaki
Jim Quinn Radial Great Gmaster Tamaki
Barry Cutfield Standard Master Port Ohope
Sandra Sharland Radial Master Nelson
Graham Sharland Standard Master Nelson
Mike Knowsley Radial App Master Manly
Mike Pasco Std App Master Manly

The recruiting brochure promised tropical hot sun, crystal clear waters and fair breezes, so there were a few complaints and requests for refunds from the Kiwi team, when sun failed to rise today.  The tropical hot sun was covered by heavy rain clouds and 25-35 knot winds.  Dave Lowe in particular was feeling home sick for his little flat water Lake Pupuke!

Conditions for racing were not quite as bad and the wind peaked at 29 knots in the squalls which roared down the course every 10 minutes.  Moreton Bay is quite shallow and even at high tide a capsized laser will not roll 360 degrees as it mast is stuck deep into the muddy sea floor.  The shallow water and a cold 25 knots from the south against an opposing tide creates a short chop which tested the boat handling and fitness of the 60 competitors from around Australia and New Zealand. The offshore breeze oscillated through 40 degrees during the racing necessitating one course change and a general recall and with the Top Mark being closer to shore there were big holes and very shifty conditions as the sailors headed up the course. 

Mike Pasco
Mike Pasco would have liked a Radial Today

The racing is organised with all the Standard rigs racing as one fleet and all the Radials racing as another fleet.  There is a prize for first in each fleet and then prizes for each age group.  There are many World Champions & Laser Cube winners from the recent 2008 Masters Worlds, including Jim Quinn, Rob Lowndes, Greg Adams, Lydell Paterson and Richard Bott.  So it is hard work for a 65+ year old Great Grandmaster to compete against a 35 year old Apprentice Master for the overall title. 

The star of the day for NZL was (almost 65+) Standard Grandmaster Bob Blakey who managed climb back to 5th in the first race by going hard right against a fleet of youngsters.  In race 2, Bob followed this strategy again and went hard right on the first beat and got so far ahead that the youngsters, who "assumed" they were leading up the middle of the course, thought that Bob was sailing home early as he could not handle the testing conditions.  Those naive youngsters got quite a fright when Bob proceeded to round the first Mark and start reaching away to the 2nd Mark with a massive lead!Bob managed to hold the lead for the next 4 legs by following his hard right strategy, but on the last beat the wind decided to go hard left and Bob is still wondering why he didn't cover those naive youngsters! 

For the rest of the Kiwi's : Mike Pasco confirmed that in a number of different locations Moreton Bay is shallow and you can't roll a laser through 360 degrees.  Sandra Sharland did the same with a Radial and decided, along with a large number of other sailors, to retire early.  Dave Lowe just wants to retire and go home and is never leaving Lake Pupuke again!

Results after day 1




Ray Beale 8,13 10th
Dave Lowe 9,17 14th
Bob Blakey 5,4 3rd
Jim Quinn 12,17 14th
Barry Cutfield 7.9 8th
Sandra Sharland DNF,DNS
Graham Sharland 13,11 13th
Mike Knowsley 8,5 6th
Mike Pasco 3,10 6th


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