At the end of the Summer season, Napier Sailing Club in New Zealand runs an afternoon on the water to find the Champion of Champions, where the top sailor of each class – which this year included Optimist, Starling, Europe, Laser, OK, Paper Tiger, Hartley 16 and Nolex 25- is put forward to represent that class and race against the others.
In the planning of the event organisers were looking for a class that provided a ‘level playing field’…with juniors and more mature sailors, those used to hiking, and those used to racing with crew, there were some big differences to be considered and accommodated. The Hansa Liberty was suggested as meeting all these requirements, and with a few questions answered everyone was in support.
This year the event was to take the format of fleet racing on a teams racing inverted S course. 5 races, each of 4 sailors, would eventually identify the Champion.
On the day sailors were keen to get a close-up look at the Hansa Liberty…brief instructions were given…’left turns left, right turns right, the jib is self-tacking’…and they were set off. A brief chance to have a go before racing began.
Sailors quickly adapted to the changed seating position, and controls and racing became competitive. The only challenge seemed to be the marks…flags which were repeatedly rounded just a little too close, with boats getting caught up and changing the results more than once! You would have thought that they might have learnt! Conditions were variable with a NW (offshore) which built during the afternoon and a swell of about 1.5m – by the final race the wind had built to approximately 15-18knots, and the Liberties were showing how well they handle it.
The winner was Hayden Percy, who usually sail’s a Paper Tiger. All but one of the sailors enjoyed the Liberty…the 8th was ‘terrified’ by the heal! The downwind ride home was particularly enjoyed by the OK rep who rewarded his efforts with a well earned beer…not too many other classes that you could relax down wind enough to enjoy that!
A great example of how the Hansa Class boats can make sailing accessible to all.
Thanks to Katy Kenah for the providing the report and photos.