Anniversary day Regatta

How many days of 15 knot breeze, blues skies and sunshine can we handle this year! The season so far has been spectacular perhaps because it has been so consistantly good and in contrast to the very windy and wild spring weather early on.

Serious silverware in the form of the Cutty Sark Cup for the winning Stewart the Auckland Regatta

The 175th regatta was no exception and the organisers even managed to dial in a rare easterly for an upwind start of Princes wharf. The whole harbour was a maze of boats crossing each other prior to the start with magnificent classics from Steinlager to Innismara , Jesse Logan, Thelma and many more from our fabulous yachting heritage.

Steinlager powered up on the way to the start

Amongst the huge number of boats competing, there were seven Stewarts, Pia, Palmyra, Princess, Prince Hal, Precedent, Pionnier and Pavo doing what we do best, trying to get across that finish line first!

Princess competed in the modern classics as part of the classic yacht association, and having taken line and handicap at Mahurangi on Saturday, Bill and Charles will be very pleased with themselves and may be looking at a podium at the end of the series. But the real action on Monday was in division 2 with the rest of the Stewart fleet and with a strong flood tide everyone hugged the city after the start, short tacking along the wharves which were crowded with people waving and cheering. For a moment we were all in the Americas cup! The lead swapped constantly on the way to Orakei with Prince Hal leading the charge to Saltworks. The promised NE breeze was trying to fill in but leaving holes and eddies over the course which gave the back end passing lanes and rewards for picking the right side.

Pioneer and Precedent fighting on the way past Devonport
Pionnier and Precedent fighting on the way past Devonport

The lead kept changing around the next few marks, Precedent, Prince Hal and Pavo all looking good for a while and then Pioneer finally began to dominate on the reach up the harbour to the ODM and it was looking good for them too until after rounding the last mark at Torpedo for the run home. Precedent and Prince Hal dropped down into the tide where there was more breeze, Pavo stayed high out of the tide but also out of the wind, Pioneer then had to choose who to cover and with Precedent steaming along in more breeze in the middle, Bill went down but the ebb tide was running at nearly 2 kts, it gave Pavo a chance to sneak through to follow Prince Hal (under kite) over the line.

Pionner crossing the line after four and a half hours on the course.
Pionnier crossing the line after four and a half hours on the course.

Prince Hal entered spinnaker and carrying a 3.5% penalty, needed to beat the fleet by about 9 minutes, provisionally it looks like its Pavo, Pionnier, Precedent, Prince Hal, Palmyra and Pia .  Auckland yachting was at its best, warm sunny and very close racing with the top boats all finishing within a few minutes after 23 miles!

Well done to the organisers and especially to the Stewart crews for participating, it’s a definitely a race to put in the calendar for next year.

Opening Night

The start for race 1 of the championship had 20 boats lining up, the night was dominated by the huge falling tide that punished any mistakes in the top mark rounding and spinnaker handling with the course being set very short to compensate for the dropping breeze.  That meant the downhill was set, gybe and drop in under 5 minutes giving the crews a good work out with the slightest mistake meaning huge losses! The wind held between 12 to 15 knots most of the night with the fleet spreading out across the course rewarding those in clear air before the traffic jam at the windward mark. The top boats and crews showed their form but spinnaker division has Mike Adeane in Psychic first on handicap and third on line with Playbuoy taking line for the night with two guns.

Non spinnaker is looking great with 11 boats ratcheting up the intensity in the competition. Defending champion, Wayne Boberg on Phlyer got the double with line and handicap but there are a lot of hungry skippers snapping at his heels wanting to unbolt that trophy from his mantlepiece,  so there wont be room for any mistakes.  This year it could be anyones!

Everyone is focused on winning with the fleet match fit and hungry, the top boats are going to have to work hard to keep up. The first night is often a warm up as well with more than a few boats having crew changes to get familiar with making the 17th much more interesting!



Stewart 34 Skipper Mark Bond Wins Yachting NZ High Performance Award

Congratulations to Mark Bond, who has won the prestigiousYachting New Zealand High Performance award after winning the Stewart 34 Championship Series last summer.


Mark (left), pictured with Peter Lester, former High Performance Manager at Yachting New Zealand, during last year’s Prizegiving Ceremony.

The full list of winners below reads like a who’s who of world class sailing.

Yachting New Zealand Performance Awards

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie – 2014 Women’s 470 World Championship Silver medallists
(RNZYS, Takapuna Boating Club)
Mark Bond – Winner of the Stewart 34 Championships
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – 2014 49er World and European Champions
(Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club, Kerikeri Cruising Club)
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders – 2014 Nacra World Championships 5th place
(Murrays Bay Sailing Club, Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
Josh Junior- 2014 Finn World Championships 5th place
(Worser Bay Boating Club)
Scott Leith – 2013 World Apprentice Master Laser Champion
(Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech – Consistent podium finishes in the 49erFX class
(Murrays Bay Sailing Club, Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
Sam Meech – 2014 Laser World Championship 9th place
(Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
Andrew Murdoch – 2014 Finn World Championships 6th place
(Kerikeri Cruising Club)
Waka Racing – Winners of the 2013 Monsoon Cup and 3rd overall in the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour
(RNZYS – Phil Robertson, Nick Catley, Garth Ellingham, James Willliamson and Adam Martin)

Well done Mark!


Useful Software

Everyone has a smartphone these days or at least one of the crew has, in which case it can be pressed into service to help you review your racing tactics or at least provide post match entertainment. There’s a few dedicated apps that run in the background of your device and record your track throughout a race.

Predict wind has Tracker which the race management can set up, and it allows others to see where you and anyone else using it are in the same race.  It’s very similar to the Yellowbrick tracker used during the RNI and RNZ races but with the limited battery, durability and range issues of a smartphone. The SSANZ triple series this year has been running Tracker, and if you go to their site you can see how it works. Probably better in longer races although plenty of competitors didn’t use it, which makes it less than useful in comparing tactics with the other boats in the same division. In race one I simply forgot to start it and in race two, the app asked for $3  during the pre start leaving me fumbling with Apple security questions like what was my first car, was it a Holden or a… Anyway it’s all set up now and hopefully will have it running in the third race.

RaceQS is another app that runs on a smartphone and provides a 3-D replay of the race with various tools to see how you compare with other boats. This looks pretty interesting for using in harbour racing, but only if other boats are using it;

The real value in it may be to back up protests, as well as seeing what the competition did to pick all those boat lengths on the beat.

Another bit of free software which may or may not be useful is something called “Boats” it’s a simple drawing program that allows you to draw boats and marks and animate them. This is probably most useful to help clarify protest scenarios.



This animation was made in about a minute, it may also help if you happen to need an insurance claim.

Navionics is a must have personal chartplotter, not recommended as a primary navigation tool, its an excellent backup in smartphone form and more than a few people have converted their tablets to permanent plotter with waterproof cases and bulkhead mounts.  It has local tides, currents, and downloads weather grib files for wind predictions. A very useful app and one everyone should have on their phones.

“The app will record your track where distance, speed and duration are shown and stored for reviewing later with playback including geotagged photos or videos taken along the way. But, before setting off, you can plan your routes, measure distances, check wind forecasts, sun/moon phases or add markers to key fishing areas you want to target. You’ll be able to save data like tracks, routes, markers and photos and share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or via email”

The latest version is free to download but you pay for the extra features you want.

Sailing software is not going to get you on the water, but it may provide another tool to improve your skills, and if you use something that you think might be useful, send Cherry a link and well update this post.

Good Luck!


Class Intro Day

We took three boats of new to the class sailors out for a truly spectacular day on the water. Auckland turned on one of the best sailing days for a long time with a steady 10 kt southerly breeze and an almost summer sun in a clear blue sky.

Princess, Playtime and Pavo all behaved flawlessly with the new crews taking turns at helming, and trimming.  The response was fantastic, everyone said they would be back, with several potential owners keen on racing among them.


Can you think of a better way to spend  a Thursday afternoon in mid winter?

rum race

Keeping ahead of the pack, Bill Falconer leading the fleet to North Head and looking like he’s enjoying it! Winter is often the best time to go sailing, clear weather, good breeze and often only a handful of other boats on the harbour.

Bring your Stewart Rum Racing, or come for a sail with us on one of the fleet. It’s a great way to learn the basics of racing and meet other Stewart 34 owners,  contact Cherry for more details