Dodson and MRX Club Champions Prove Their One-Design Dominance at CBRE Club Championship Finals
Practise made perfect for Harry Dodson and his MRX Division champion crew, with a comprehensive win at the CBRE Club Championship Finals to book their place as the RNZYS crew at the Seawanhaka Invitational Challenge Cup, a historic inter-club competition being held in Long Beach, California this May.
Dodson, and his crew of Will Tiller, Mark Christensen, Ian Darby, Chris Ward, Thomas Darby and Rhett Jefferies, alongside Dallas Bennett who fell ill Saturday, combined the great form of the MRX Sprints winners with the crew’s experiences aboard MRX’s in windier and rougher conditions in the Winter Series and Wednesday Series to make the most of the icy southerly that blew up the Rangitoto Channel all weekend.
“Ian Darby, Will Tiller, Rhett Jefferies, Thomas Darby and myself sailed the boat in the Tuesday night sprint series which we won, while Chris Ward and Mark Christensen sailed the boat in the Wednesday night and winter series – I’m sure our experience in the MRX helped us win the event but we also had a pretty experienced crew which was a big help in the breezy conditions”, mentions Dodson.
The Seawanhaka is an historic international challenge for the purpose of promoting small yacht racing and developing the Corinthian spirit among competing yachtsmen. It is considered to be the oldest yachting trophy originated in the United States that is still in active competition. The last edition of the Seawanhaka International Challenge Cup was sailed in 2019 and won by Long Beach Yacht Club, who will be hosting the regatta in Catalina 37’s – the same boats the RNZYS’s KNOTS Racing team sailed aboard in this year’s Congressional Cup.
However, winning the CBRE Club Championship Finals was not an easy task with each of the other boats consistently challenging Dodson and crew.
“We had some good close racing with lots of the boats all weekend – in particular Guy Pilkington and his crew representing the Stewart 34 class”.
Pilkington and his Psyche crew had a tough start to the regatta on day 1 with a win and 3 midfield finishes, but came storming back on day 2 with a second and two first places to cap off the regatta. However, Dodson kept Pilkington at arm’s length and didn’t make any mistakes that let the chasing crew back into the title picture.
With their victory over the weekend, the crew is now using this week to organise their trip and ensure the team has the best chance at a good performance in Long Beach.
“We are just in the process of the crew organising themselves to see who is able to make the trip, and we will try and get in as much training as possible before we travel at the end of May”.
Dodson and his crew will now join the ranks of RNZYS crew’s now able to head overseas and reconnect New Zealand sailing to the rest of the world after 2 years, and the team couldn’t be happier about
“I always enjoy racing overseas as these events push you”, says Dodson. “It’s great to be going to an event like the Seawanhaka, which has such a long history of inter club competition, and being a part of restarting such a historic regatta”.
The RNZYS wishes Harry and the crew that makes the trip to Long Beach all the best at the Seawanhaka International Challenge Cup, and look forward to how they enjoy their CBRE Club Championship Finals prize both on and off the water.