Andy Oman 2013qualifying-racing

Andy uses the Optimum S315 watch and NZ Sailing lines.

2014 NZ Laser Nationals

by Andy Maloney | Jan 20, 2014

My 2014 sailing season started this week with the NZ Laser Nationals being staged in Nelson. I'm writing this short update as I'm flying out of Nelson looking down on this awesome coastline, it really is a very scenic place.

I arrived in Nelson a few days before racing and got out on the bay for a couple training sessions to blow out the cobwebs, after having a quality break from the boat over Christmas and New Years. I also got a taste of Nelson's highly regarded mountain biking one afternoon and it's fair to say the views from the tops of the hills are pretty breath taking.

View from the top when mountain biking - looking down on Nelson town and harbour...

The forecast for the event was breezy South Westerlies for the first half, followed by "typical" Nelson seabreezes for the final two days.

The wind gods did not play in our favour and on the first day of racing we sailed out to the course in 25 knots, only to be becalmed an hour later and get one race away in 5 knots. I opened the series with a 3rd behind the two Dutch sailors. A solid start to the event but not a flawless race by any means! The wind continued to die and we were then sent ashore, abandoned for the day.

Day two was forecasted to be very windy, and windy it was. I arrived at the club in the morning and it was blowing 30 knots plus, meaning a postponement flag was flying already. It was a game of waiting around hoping the breeze would ease enough to go racing, but after a lot of sitting around it was finally called off at 4:30pm. Two days down and only one race, not the start anyone was looking for. 

Breeze on!!! Day two of racing (no racing)...

Day three and finally the ideal Nelson forecast, clear skies and afternoon seabreezes! We sailed four races, in a building breeze that peaked at a nice 15-18 knots by the end of the day making for a very physical time on the water. With wind against tide for the second half of the day, the waves really got up creating some awesome surfing downwind and high speed reaches! We had some awesome battles throughout the day at the front of the fleet with many lead changes and boats separated by only a couple feet by the finish line. I came away with a 2, 1, 1, 2 for the day to take the lead going into the fourth and final day of racing.

Tight upwind finish with Nicholas from Holland...

Day four had similar conditions to the previous day, allowing us to get four more epic races completed. I started the day well by winning the opening race from start to finish, and sailed consistently from there to win the event with a race to spare. I am stoked to have defended the National title which I won for my first time last year, it's a great way to start the year! Full results here

Glamour conditions in the afternoon seabreezes...

The competition from the other kiwis and foreigners was great throughout the event, making for some fun and exciting racing to kick start 2014. Congrats to Nicholas from Holland and Thomas for finishing second and third. 

The Race Committee had it all on with some tough conditions over the first two days, but they pulled through in the end. Thanks to them for the big effort over the final two days! Thanks to the NZLA for all their hard work to make it a successful event also.

A special thanks to the Vincent family for letting me stay at their awesome farm in Nelson for the week. It was a nice break from the city too, it's very peaceful on the farm! 

Awesome view of part of the Vincent's farm...

The next event is Oceanbridge Sail Auckland less than two weeks away, and with another group of internationals joining us for that it should be some more great racing.

Thanks to everyone for the ongoing support, YNZ and the NZL Sailing Team, and HPSNZ.

Thanks to my suppliers Harken, Zhik, SOS Rehydrate, Oakley, Optimum Time and NZ Sailing.

I'm looking forward to the rest of 2014.



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