Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie rose to the occasion on the third day of the 2012 New Zealand 470 National Championship and took out the Open title, the women's title and in doing so were the first women crew to win the New Zealand Nationals. The Championship was hosted by Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club over three days

New Zealand Nationals © Christine Hansen

A six point margin was more than enough to secure victory for New Zealand Olympic representatives Jo Aleh/Olivia Powrie. The halfway point in the Championship, with four races held, was the turning point for the pair who up until then were in third overall. They went on to deliver a roll of four superbly executed races wins putting them tidily at the top.

A tiebreak advantage gave Luke Stevenson/Sam Bullock their second place result. On equal 18 points with Australia’s Elise Rechichi/Belinda Stowell, the two teams were neck and neck throughout the Championship. A great outcome for Rechichi/Stowell who teamed up just before the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships and have delivered some great results so far, and will be pleased with a third placed outcome.

Sailing took place inside the harbour which has a clockwise tidal flow around the sandbanks on an incoming tide, at low tide this restricts the waters available for setting a course and is constantly a factor sailors need to take into consideration. A small but mostly experienced fleet took part consisting of four men's crews and three women's crews. It was good to see a new pairing between experienced junior sailor Vicky Francis and Brittany Wornall of Christchurch who had her first taste of helming a 470.

Day 3: Tauranga turned on another hot day and while all expected the sea breeze to come in around midday, as it had on Saturday, an unstable south westerly breeze prevailed. Three races completed the series and new National Champions, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie truly cemented their position with three wins. Luke Stevenson and Sam Bullock couldn't quite repeat their form of the previous day, but their score was good enough to take second place on countback from Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell who hope to become the Australian double-handed women's Olympic representatives. Stevenson and Bullock also received the trophy for top junior sailors.

Day 2: Summer returned and sailors were treated to a very warm day, and after a small postponement racing got underway inside the harbour with a seabreeze that built steadily. Five races were held on a windward-leeward course, the short duration was not dissimilar to a medal race and was complimented by coaches at the event for the experience this afforded all sailors. The first races were held in five to eight knots with flat water, by the end of the day the wind was peaking at around 13 knots. Sailing conditions were challenging with a big conflict between tide and wind.

Junior sailors Luke Stevenson and Sam Bullock won the day on their home sailing ground with two wins and 11 points; New Zealand women's Olympic representatives Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie also had two wins and 13 points; and in third were Australian Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell on 14 points.

Day 1: The day began with unseasonally cold rain, sailors took to the course in a north easterly but the breeze clocked around to the south and finally died out. Racing was called off for the day, the sun came out and so at least the competitors were able to enjoy a barbeque instead.

More Information:
New Zealand National 470 Class Association

Image: Jo Aleh/Olivia Powrie - NZL 470 Women Olympic representatives © NZL 470 Class Association


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Published Date: 19/02/2012


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