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North Island Open 2017

North Island Open 2017

The weekend started out well with competitors arriving to the Sanson tack to find things set up and a steady breeze. The bulk of Team Canterbury arrived early afternoon in their truck after flying into Palmerston North. Karts were assembled and once registered and weighed in it was time for some practice on the extended Sanson track. The wind was from the South East with strong gusts at time which made for some exciting sailing on the fresh seal with the loose metal on top. Lots of sideways action on some of the marks and corners. There had been plenty of rain in the Manawatu and the out fields where very wet. Colin Davidson made the mistake of listening to Paul Beckett’s advice and ended up with his truck up to its axles in mud on the infield of the lawn mower track requiring a tow out. The day was topped out with the obligatory social meal at the Rat Hole in Bulls with lots of laughs.

Day 1 Saturday

With the numbers entered, competitors were split into 3 groups of Lights, Middles and Heavy’s as well as a Cruiser class. The goal was to get more races through. This made for some big weight bands where in the Middle class we had sailors normally in Lights and Heavy’s competing against each other so some challenges ahead.

The wind had been blowing all night and was still there from the South East in the morning and built steadily during the day for some exciting racing. Peter McCrea was Principle Race Officer for the event and after briefing things got underway just after 9:30 and we raced till 4:30 so manage 8 rounds of racing for the day. 4m & 5.5m sails where the main sails with the odd 3m with people changing back and forth as the gusts increased and faded in and out during the day. Deb Davidson would take the award for most sail changes during the day. Three track layouts where used changing it up with different tactics required. The last “W” layout was quite technical and races were won and lost on tactical lines taken. There were a number of brain fades with people going around the wrong marks and being DSQ. Paul Becket even forgot where he was in one lap and did an endless loop on the middle of the course for a while before carrying on.

Dee McCrea was sailing well and was at the front of the Light Weights most of the day battling it out with David Heilbron and finished the day only 2 points behind. Paul Thomas and Elizabeth Martin from the Manawatu also took some wins. Michael Denton started well in Middle class with a couple of top 4 placings and then won the remaining races for the rest of the day so was out in a good position. Graham Ingall was “Mr Consistent” and was always there in the top placings so was holding 2nd in the end. David Tillman was enjoying the performance racing and was placing well mostly in the top 5 with one race where he was in second behind Michael only to get piped on the line by 100th of a second by Alex Stol from Auckland. Chris Gant was a little further back but enjoying the sailing. He was finding the slop of the track a challenge at one mark. There’s a 2m climb from one corner to the other across the track so makes for some interesting wind angles.  Bob Louden would take the award for most nailed starts in this division with more often than not hitting the line on the hooter. Trevor Registor was also sailing well in the lighter conditions and once he got going was always in the top 4. Peter McCrea was on fire having some big battles with Paul Becket and Collin Davidson. He came out on top leading the Heavy weights at the end of the day. Paul was sailing well but was DSQ on the first race by sailing through the start line brick wall. John Marshall as usual was in the lead group and well placed at the end of the day. There was also some fierce battles from Mark Stuhlmann and Steve Fox mixing it up with the lead boys. The wind started  to soften by the last race but It was a good days sailing and there were plenty of Blokart grins by the end of the day.

Day 2 Sunday

The forecast for Sunday was not so good wind wise and we arrive at the track to find little or no wind. After briefing things were on hold till the wind came in with a target start at 11:00 if the forecast held true. Photo shoot was set up and possibly the first Blokart Mexican Wave. Video to come. Almost on target the wind filled in and racing got underway just before 12:00.

Racing started off using the “W” track layout from the day before. Wind was light but built quickly. 5.5m sails were the choice for the day. There was a real mix in the light weight division with Dee and David not having it all their way with Deb Davidson getting out in front. Dee still placed well and was still in contention for the overall win.  There was a big crash involving Shannon Fox one of the youngest in the field but no injuries so hope to see him back in the next events. In Middle weight Michael Denton started off how he had finished Day 1 with a win and then another win and 2 seconds for the day so held a good lead. David Tillman had some mixed results with some good starts and was in a good battle with Ray Kelley and Alex Stol from Auckland. The rest of the middle weight field was mixed up as well so final results were going to be interesting. Chris Gant had a couple of good starts but couldn’t manage to hold his position in the lighter winds  but did better as the wind picked up later in the day. Peter McCrea had a shocker with a DSQ and then a crash so in the competitive heavy weight field fell down the order quickly. He did sail well in other races but it was too much of a climb to get back on the podium. Canterbury couldn’t quite make the podium in each division. There was some good sailing in Cruiser class throughout the weekend with Cecilia Dalrymple taking a number of wins and having a good fight with Rose Salmon and Jo Cook. It was great to see Rose Salmon being so competitive in a production rig over the performance karts and she was sailing well all weekend to be only 3 points behind the winner at race closing.

The wind fell away quickly later in the day and racing was halted just after 3pm with inconsistent winds. We still managed to get 4 completed rounds in so had 12 for the competition allowing a dropped result for all the competitors. Overall it was great sailing through the weekend with some technical racing on the extended Sanson track.

Dinner and Awards were held at the Rat Hole on Sunday night with great socialising and lots of laughs. For Canterbury Dee McCrea placed 2nd in Light weights and Michael Denton placed 1st in Middle Weights.
Many thanks to Manawatu for hosting the event, especially the ladies with the hot soup and pies that kept us going through the cold weather and also Robert, Aaron on the organising and timing.

Look forward to seeing every one down south for the SIO and NZO in October.

Well done Team Canterbury.

Michael Denton


Masters Games - Ohakea 2017

2017 Masters Games, 4th-5th Feb

The Masters games is based in Wanganui and held every two years. The Manawatu host this event as they are based in the right area, this year we were fortunate to be sailing at the number one Blokart venue, Ohakea Air Force base. We used a portion of one runway and a slip road and even that amount of seal is awesome.

The event was very well represented with excellent support from every New Zealand club. Manawatu member Gary Clarke liaises with the Airforce and has decided that it would be good idea to become a policeman (how could he do this to us?). Leaving the Air Force may end their clubs ability to access the venue for future events, a sad day indeed.

Attached is a Ohakea Course Sketch (pdf), early on Saturday we just used the markers one, two and three but as the wind came up we started using the narrow slip road as well. The corner marked Z was rough and in the direction we were sailing sloped away as well making high speed cornering a bit hair-raising. A few couldn’t handle the corner and ended up in the grass on the far side or bumping along in the gutter at the edge of the seal.

As he tends to do the Race Officer Terry Helm tried to add variety into the circuit hence the cones marked with an X. As wind speed increased he also instigated the grass short cut as an alternative, the rough corner was scaring the pants off many. The short cut was really bumpy and to regain the seal one needed to pass through a stone ridden gutter first. I found it was best to turn slightly on the grass and drive through the gutter on an angle. Sailors needed to have a heap of speed on to use the grass otherwise they were slower than those who stayed on the seal.

On Saturday most started on 5.5 M sails and as the wind built dropped down to 4 M then to 3 M. Barry Emms’ maximum speed Production rigged was 63.5 km/h. Terry in Performance managed 71.7 km/h and he covered 54 K’s during the day.

Masters games entrants compete on age rather than weight and it was not unusual to hear sailors talking about how enjoyable it was to sail against others who they would normally never meet on the track. Because some age groups were small several were combined, this to produce larger fields and complete more races during the event.

As there were only three Production entries they sailed with the 55 and 65 plus groups. One group started on a two minute dial up and the second group started using a three or four minute dial up depending on track layout. During dial up the two minute sailors could cross the line but the second group needed to stay behind the line because the decoder was now in a live state and crossing the line would record before start hits and increase the time keepers work load.

There were a few on course bloopers, sometimes a few would miss the correct turn marker and keep going, in one race the fleet all rounded a mark in the wrong direction and were disqualified. Now and again an individual sailor would miss a marker. So by the end of day one the mob were well worked over and probably relieved that there gear had survived the rough treatment offered up by the grass short cut.

 

On Saturday night many entrants retired to the Rat Hole where you can get a large top class meal that’s not over the top for price, then it was back to our motel for a bit of maintenance and a good sleep. Sunday morning we were trackside at eight am to a light wind that gradually built enough to run a 4 M sail. Unfortunately it wouldn’t stick around long enough to get a race in. We did use the slip road but anyone trying the short cut would be dreaming. As an example Barry Emms’ maximum speed for the day was 42.4 km/h and distance covered 27.81 k.

Over the two days sailing, on course incidents were minimal and that is always a relief. However off the track there were plenty of incidents. Several rear wheels let go, one was of particular interest, the sailor reckoned that he was running about 45 PSI and there were minimal stress witness marks on the broken surface. What was showing were at least six holes in the exposed casting, each a bit smaller than a borer hole? I have never seen a broken wheel like this before.

On Saturday Terry returned to the pits complaining of a lack of speed. Cause, his big foot was using a wheel fitted with a Deestone tyre and it was rubbing on the fork. A Deli replacement solved the issue.  Paul Beckett, (the one we all rush to about anything Blokart) had his own issue with a pulley whip problem. The short rope locating the pulley to the whip frayed through. The pulley had been adjusted slightly ending up with a sharp edge which nibbled away at the rope. Barry Cole split a fibreglass axle and Michael Denton lost his sheet as he crossed the finish line, this due to the boom knot undoing. There were a few capsizes, at least one during dial up. The timing team also had an issue, during a race a rouge transponder starting triggering every few seconds. This can happen when someone carries a transponder near the timing loop; in this case a spare was positioned too close to the decoder.

As Sunday progressed quite a few tried dropping down to a 4 M sail, but some came unstuck when the wind dropped away during their race. Not so Paul Beckett, in one race his 4 M sail worked really well and he built up a good lead, maintaining it to the end.

As to actually sailing the course I can only comment on my own experience. My first time out on the track (race one) and with good speed downwind  for the gybe turn at the end of the runway trouble struck. Having rounded the first mark and rapidly closing on the second I realised that the marker was much closer to the grass than I had anticipated and ended up in the grass. Naturally the other two Production competitors sailed past. In our second race, approaching the same first mark a gust of wind spun me around; fortunately I managed to remain on three wheels, sail backwards and get going again. Too late the competition passed me again.

The rest of my races were fine, however I did learn a very important lesson that I would like to pass on. On Sunday with the wind up and down I finally decided to change down to a 4 M sail, I wasn’t going that quick on my 5.5 M anyway. As our race got underway the wind dropped away and the fleet sailed up the runway and left me way behind. At that point I decided that my race was over and if the race wasn’t finished when my first lap was completed I would just circle around then cross the finish line when the flag came out.

However when I finally got going and around to the slip road I had gathered some  speed and as I neared the runway I realised that the fleet ahead had nearly come to a standstill and I was rapidly catching up. The result being that I cruised past most of the fleet and managed to hold on and be near the front when we crossed the finish line. The lesson, one should always remember, is that a race is not over until it’s actually finished and it’s wise to keep making the best possible effort at all times, regardless of one’s position.

As there were only three Production entries and Louise Meltzer doesn’t enjoy sailing in strong winds Robert Deighton was my main competition and all weekend he gave me nothing but grief, he was like a dog with a bone. As I went about changing a sail he came across to see what I was up to and in the small talk mentioned that when he changed down to a 4 M sail he just removed his top mast section slipping the sail sock over the number two section. Now for Production this is illegal and in a friendly manner I pointed this out, I also indicated that I wouldn’t be protesting. Later it came to light that Robert, being the true and honest competitor that he is decided to DSQ himself from a number of Saturdays races.

Looking at the way he was sailing over the weekend it is quite likely that this action cost him a gold medal. The only times I really felt I had him under my thumb was when I sailed on a 4 or 3 M sail. Our best race of the weekend, from my point of view, was the final race on Sunday. Louise Meltzer took the lead, Robert was putting pressure on in second place and I followed behind in 3rd. On our last lap as we came off the slip road and onto the runway both Louise and Robert tacked to make the runway mark. I felt there was sufficient wind to avoid at least one tack and kept sailing straight ahead. The result was that using my shorter route I passed Robert and nearly caught Louise. It was then just a matter of holding on up the runway to the finish line and this was achieved with Louise taking out a worthy 1st place and  Robert breathing done my neck.   We were soon packed up and ready for the medals.

50+; 1st place gold medal winner Barry Cole with 21 points. Disqualified for missing a mark in the first race and coming in 8th in another, the rest were all 1st placings and as we have come to expect Barry sailed like a champion that he is.  In 2nd place Michael Denton with 25 points. In a way his overall ability to finish at the front end (worst finish 4th) was superior. In this age group to win required a bunch of 1st placings and Barry delivered.

55+; With 34 points David Heilbron just sneaked in to take a well-deserved 1st place and the gold medal. In 2nd place Terry Helm on 35 points (I didn’t realise that he is still just a youngster) Like Michael Denton he was at the front end in all races. If Terry hadn’t insisted on using his big foot as a speed limiter the results might have been different but that’s history now.

60+; On 27 points and taking out 1st place, gold medal winner Wayne Osborne. As we have come to expect Wayne sailed well all weekend only slowing down in the last race with a 7th placing. In 2nd place Peter McCrea excelled, finishing on 41 points. This was a very good result for Peter in a strong field. His undoing was being unable to gain enough 1st and, 2nd placings. You can blame Alex Stol and Paul Beckett for that.

75+; There were not many sailors in this age group and Rudolph Meltzer needed to keep the pressure on to secure a well-deserved 1st place and the gold medal with 20 points. Colin Cook was a real threat finishing in 2nd place with 22 points.

Production; this class has been mentioned earlier. If Robert Deighton hadn’t DQed himself the results would have been different. On his 5.5 M sail he is very quick and I look forward to sailing against him again one day without any DQs. Louise Meltzer sailed with skill over the two days. Louise doesn’t like strong wind and I suspect that she pulled out of two races on the first day when the wind was really pumping.

The New Zealand Masters Games CEO Kathy Cunningham was on hand to award the medals and this was soon underway. Official and unofficial photos were then taken with the winner standing on a bale of straw. Unfortunately Peter McCrae had disappeared before we were able to assemble for a Canterbury medal photo.   Next an emu parade to check that no Blokart bits had been left on the runway, there to be ingested by a jet engine. We were also on the lookout for a stray pod upper section which had taken off across the grass when the wind came up Saturday. It was found near the fence line.

Then it was off to the motels for a shower and scrub up for the official meal. This year it was held at the local hall, walking distance from the Manawatu track and our motels. The Manawatu club really put an effort in, all the tables were set with a kind of floral arrangement, the Manawatu council mayor Helen Worboys was on hand to enjoy a meal, give a speech and generally support the Manawatu club. I believe the local council are quite enthusiastic about the Manawatu blokart club and give them as much support as they can.

On behalf of team Canterbury our thanks to the Manawatu club for selecting a top venue, a windy weekend and a well organised event.

Barry Emms


Australian Championships 2017

Australian Open 2017 Kingston Adelaide

 Iarene Jelley;
Good morning all,
We had a good flight to Melbourne and our first test was getting all our gear into the Holden red station wagon but with a bit of shoving, it did fit in, and the doors even closed lol.  We travelled well and took the high road through The Grampions, stopping at Halls Gap for lunch.
Our accommodation in Kingston is ok but not glamorous. The website looks great but the reality is we are in older rooms out the back.  However, there is space undercover for assembling the karts so there is redemption. Five minutes’ walk to the town with shops, cafes, pubs, good food, good company, all good.  Last night our Canterbury contingent ate at the Old Woolstore, yummy food and the owner and chef is Bekky from Riversdale.  So good we may go back again on Friday night.

 Day 1

Bob Jelley;
After getting the registration and scrutineering completed at a park in the town by the beach, it was time to then pack up and move our karts to another section of beach about 2 kms out of town. Wind about 25 to 30 kms on shore from about 30 degrees from the beach line. A tight beat with a few tacks up wind, then a fast downwind with karts getting up around 50 -55 kms. Not a lot of tactics involved, excepting the bottom mark gybe with not a lot of room to grow apex the mark, and a wide area of soft rough sand to slow the kart to a standstill. Even the top sailors had spin-outs and tip ups!

We got thru three races for each of the divisions. No results posted, but Michael Denton would be our top performer for the day with wins and high places. We are finding the blowing sand is a pain, and really makes us appreciate what a good venue we have for our club racing at Wigram! Today is Australia day and we will be celebrating beside the pool with a bbq and a few bevies.

Michael Denton;
The beach is a bit like Brighton with grey sand, it’s about as wide at half tide as Brighton for most of the day. It tends to get softer up the top as per normal and there is also a lot of weed along the high tide mark that we sail through. Rough ruts when the tide moves out a bit of real axle breaking stuff.

The wind came in in the afternoon and I was doing 64 kph in the production kart into the bottom mark, not sure on performance but would say hitting 70 kph so was fast action at the bottom corner. It was the make or break as you had to get the power slide right. Mitchell broke an axle going into the corner in practice as it was quite rough. Wind was just off down the beach most of the day so it was a run down and tack up. There were a few crashes and even the master Paul Beckett went over. We managed 3 rounds of racing.
They have combined the smaller classes to get faster rounds. Bob and Ivan are sailing well and are up the front of the pack. Bob won 1 race. Davie was having a mixed day but not far off. I sailed ok in performance and managed 2 seconds and 1 first. Terry is going well and I think has had a few top 4 placings. David is sitting mid pack in production middles. Lost his down haul in one race so that pushed him back. Mitchell and I are doing well among some strong competition in production but both managed to win all 3 races. So a good day one for team Canterbury. Tomorrow is meant to be much the same so will see how it goes. Sailing starts at 11 am.

Day 2

Michael Denton;
Day two of racing started at 11 am. Wind was lighter and 5.5 sails for most of the day but came in late in the day so changed to 4 m for last 2 races although did drop off for the last race of the day in performance heavy. Managed to get another 5 rounds in so 8 rounds so far. Mitchell broke a pulley whip and Terry managed to go over. Davie also managed to flip over at the bottom mark.

Unofficial Canterbury results at the end of day 2;
Production Lights: 1st Mitchell Denton

Production Middle: 7th Dave Tillman

Production Heavy: 1st Michael Denton

Performance light: 2nd Amanda Norris

Performance Heavy: 1st Michael Denton, 4th Bob Jelley, 7th Ivan Purtle, 14th Davie Norris

Super Heavy: 3rd Terry Helm

Sounds like Friday will be light winds so not sure when racing will be underway so will have to see. Saturday is predicted to be better winds.

Day 3

Michael Denton;
Day three was late starting due to light winds. We finally got underway after mid-day and a few course layout trials to make it more of a sail course rather than a follow the leader.

Winds were very light and if you didn’t get the start right it was hard to recover or pick up places. During the day the winds picked up a little and a couple of the light weights moved to 4 m sails but most stayed on the 5.5 m for the whole day.

Ivan sailed really well with some good starts. Also Amada sailed well on her 5.5m sail all day.  Bob got a fantastic start in one race and then after just crossing the start line his mast snapped mid-way up. There was a lot of people dipping into the water to slow the kart down to get around the bottom mark so big kart clean down at the end of the day. We sailed later so we managed to get 4 rounds completed.

 Barry Cole from Auckland was sailing extremely well on his favourite 5.5m and moved up the field in Performance Heavy. Dave Tillman also sailed well on a 4m later in the day and moved up the field.

Unofficial Canterbury results at the end of day 3;

Production Light: 1st Mitchell Denton

Production Middle: 7th David Tillman

Production Heavy: 1st Michael Denton

Performance Light: 2nd Amanda Norris

Performance Heavy: 2nd Michael Denton, 4th Bob Jelley, 8th Ivan Purtle, 10th Davie Norris

Performance Heavy: 3rd Terry Helm

Tomorrow is forecast to be a stronger wind day with a 10 am start as the day will finish by 3 pm allowing for race results sorting and a big clean-up for the travellers.

We are all starting to feel the results of a lot of sailing and being sand blasted all day long. Also most have some sort of sunburn somewhere.

Day 4

Terry Helm;
The final results below. Cantabrians and Kiwi’s in general did very well. The day started with light winds and steadily grew until we finished at 3pm.  We completed 15 rounds in total giving us two drops in the end. It was not a good day for some with two serious crashes.

Dave Tillman was T boned by a kart not giving way and hit him at about 45kph.  Dave was stunned, has bruising and potentially cracked ribs. He did go to hospital to be checked. Now he is just very sore and is going to be struggling for a few days.  His kart chassis is bent quite badly as well.  The person that hit him faired a bit better health wise but withdrew from the racing and I think he went to hospital for a check-up as well.

During my second to last race it was called off as another crash happened behind me. There was a collision at speed between Wayne Osborne and another whose name I didn’t get.  The person tacked in front of Wayne when he was at speed and left Wayne nowhere to go. It looked serious as the person hit apparently screamed and their helmet was seen rolling along the sand.  In the end there were no major injuries, just Wayne’s big foot fork bent back.

Overall the event turned out to be way better than was anticipated considering the weather and beach reports leading up to it. Now I’m just trying to get sand out of everything.

Canterbury Final Results

Production Light: 1st Mitchell Denton

Production Middle: 7th David Tillman

Production Heavy: 1st Michael Denton

Performance Light: 2nd Amanda Norris

Performance Heavy: 2nd Michael Denton, 5th Bob Jelley, 9th Ivan Purtle, 12th Davie Norris

Performance Heavy: 3rd Terry Helm

Iarene & Bob Jelley, Michael Denton and Terry Helm


World Championships 2016

World Championships 2016 Ivanpah Nevada USA

I’m currently in the Los Angeles airport lounge with Michael Denton waiting for our flight back to Auckland. I will talk just about the racing, and for everything else – “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

The dry lake bed blew me away, so to speak. It’s hard to imagine a better arena for blokart racing. The bed surface was very hard and the kart reached terrifyingly high speeds quite quickly. Michael recorded an impressive speed in one of the races of 83km/hr, sailing into the bottom mark next to Ray Kelly in the production karts. I don’t use a GPS so I can’t comment on my speeds, but I can say that I went pretty quick too!

The courses were nice and long and gave the sailor plenty of opportunity to go wherever they liked. The course was unfortunately a bit shorter for the World champs because of the venue change, but did offer the windward/leeward components with plenty of upwind tacking that I had been fantasizing about for months.

When the breeze was light it shifted around a lot, sometimes up to around 40 degrees. This meant that if you were on the wrong side of a large wind direction change you were instantly looking at the back end of the fleet. These changes were very irregular and hard to predict, so you had to be extremely conservative in where you placed yourself. To be on the inside of the fleet at all times was the safest bet, and you had to avoid the corners and the lay lines. The wind also varied in strength too, making it difficult to feel confident in choosing a sail size.

You had to resist the temptation to take risks when the conditions were variable. To win a leg by half a lap or by 100th of a second (which happened!) meant the same amount of points on the score board. It always paid not to separate too far from the fleet in the case that things went pear shaped, and if you had a lead, it usually paid to put a loose cover on the competition.

When the breeze was up it was awesome. The direction was more consistent and oscillated more regularly which meant you could sail your own race and not worry too much about the fleet. It paid to start at the favoured end of the start line with speed and stay a second or two late so that you didn’t risk being over the line early. The downwind was super-fast and I learnt quickly that it paid to do only one gybe. The downwind legs were very long, especially for the North American Champs, and to judge where to gybe so far from the bottom mark was quite difficult at first. If you gybed too early you likely had to suffer sailing low and slow to the bottom mark, or do two short gybes which is never good. If you gybed too late you were in danger of having other karts sail a shorter distance on the inside of you.

Barry Cole from Auckland was my biggest competition. After about 8-10 minutes of racing in the higher wind speeds we would still be neck and neck, and finishing within seconds of each other, sometimes even when we went with different sail sizes! It was tough work trying to stay ahead of that rascal, and in hind sight we both sailed without making major errors which made for fair and exciting (and stressful) racing. When it was that close sail selection was very important, and I was sometimes late getting on to the grid and entering the dial up because of a last minute strategic sail change.

Large gusts carrying dust often came rolling down the course. In one race, I had worked up a nice lead in the first lap and sailed right into a massive dust squall downwind. Visibility vanished and I suddenly had no idea where the mark was and which direction I should be sailing. This was quite unsettling as Wayne from ABC lost his first place in a super heavyweight race earlier by missing the mark completely because of visibility issues. I aimed my kart to roughly where I thought the mark might be, and miraculously the mark came flying out of the unknown just to windward of the line I was sailing, and I had a near perfect rounding around it! I got pretty cool video footage of these races and look forward to sharing it later.

Barry Cole and the rest of the Auckland team were often seen watching their anemometers intently, and they were always seen changing mast section configurations more often than sail sizes. Barry was noticeably faster than me with the 5.5m sail so I tend to think they have found some mast section combos that work well. This is something that I will have to think more about before the next event.

In one of the races the wind died completely as I was leading the fleet up to the top mark in our final lap. All karts on the lake stopped in the calm, and the finish flag went up soon after. Unfortunately someone at the back of the fleet crossed the finish line after the finish flag went up, which meant that the committee couldn’t abandon the race because of lack of wind – everyone had to either finish or pull out. Barry Cole who was behind me started wheeling with intensity that I have never seen. I started wheeling in an attempt to protect my position but was no match for the others who were prepared to wheel harder. It was sweaty work under the dessert sun! We wheeled all the way to the top mark and the fleet continued to wheel to the downwind mark, far away in the distance. I wasn’t prepared to work that hard, so I just wheeled myself over to the side of the course where I thought the wind would fill in from next and waited patiently. This turned out to be a mistake because I inevitably ended up wheeling all the way to the bottom mark and a chunk of the fleet had wheeled themselves past me! This took forever, and the wind finally filled in when I was about 40m from the finish line, which I crossed in almost last place. Luckily it turned out that I had done a lap more than most of the fleet so I ended up with a manageable 3rd place for that race.

I owe a big thanks to the people that helped me get to Nevada and have a great event. Terry did an incredible job of organizing the house in Las Vegas, the rental vehicle, flights and accommodation in LA and also doing the race timing for both competitions. Bob really looked after me by offering his time and famous services and advice with kart setup and maintenance. The ladies of the house: Iarene, Lynette and Raylene looked after me with their support behind the scenes, excellent home cooking and their attempts to try and get me ready to leave the house on time in the mornings. Michael for lending me a 2m sail which I unfortunately never got to use, being a good roommate and getting me into the flash airport lounges. Davie Norris for offering his 3m sail for me to use. I used it often and was very competitive with it – thanks a lot for that Davie. Thanks also to the rest of the Canterbury team who helped make it a trip that I won’t soon forget.

It was great to see Canterbury do well. Congrats to Michael and Terry. The rest of the team had some excellent races too and proved that they are indeed capable of being competitive at such a high level. That’s all from me for now, see you Sunday.

Alex Morris


Moeraki Beach Trip 2016

Moeraki Beach Race Weekend

With such a large number of sailors going to Moeraki the accommodation was at a stretch, most were staying at the motor camp in a range of accommodation from cabins to tents. Everyone trickled in over the afternoon and evening with a few taking it easy while others enjoyed a few refreshments at the pub and then a few more back at the Denton’s Bach, 3 minutes’ walk from the camp.

The wind was up first thing Saturday and Steve Hall led the way to race beach just south of Moeraki. With big seas pushing in it is was not quite as large as Steve had last remembered.

After waiting for the tide to recede a little things were underway and Vaughan and the Denton boys proved that it could be sailed and sorted out the best area for a course. With the massive seas and surging tides it was going to provide some challenges and entertainment and it didn’t disappoint.

Racing was underway with a few scratch races to get things started until it was deemed that Michael’s many years of beach sailing came to the fore so Pete put a handicap race together with Michael starting last behind the performance karts. This mixed things up although he was not far behind the winner at the end.

After that we ran production off one minute and Performance & Michael off two minutes for the rest of the day. There was a lot of fun with a few people taking a swim in their karts and number near misses. Over all the Blokart grin was the winner of the day all be it through sand gritted teeth.

Racing concluded with the watery disappearance of the beach.

On the way back from racing Michael spotted Bob Jelley on the Moeraki Boulder beach so headed down to join while most others crashed and had a sleep after the days racing. There was good speed to be had along the beach with the wind coming from a different direction. You could sail all the way up to and around the boulders giving the tourists something different to photograph. Eventually the incoming tide took the beach and it was time to head back for some well-earned refreshments and to be able to wash the grit off the face.

The evening started well with a few pre dinner drinks before a 2 minute amble to the pub for dinner. After most meals were consumed Chris presented the awards and the inaugural Moeraki Beach Trophy. Well done to Dee, Michael and Matthew for 1st, 2nd & 3rd respective. There were a number of blooper awards for the entertainment during the day.

Afterwards a large number ended up back at the Denton’s Bach to finish off the evening and ensure there were a few blurry eyes in the morning.

Sunday morning was still so the chances of day two racing were looking slim. A communal bacon and egg breakfast started the day. After gathering at the camp and discussions it was decided to head to the Moeraki boulder beach and indulge in some games while waiting for the tide to go out and see if the wind was going to come in. After an hour or so of petanque and Frisbee it was deemed a lay day as wind was unlikely so most headed way with places to tricky tour back to Christchurch. A great weekend had by all.

Thanks to Steve and Peter for organising. I’m sure this will be a regular event in the future.

Michael Denton