Sally Garrett crowned 2019 NZ Women’s National Keelboat Champion

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After three days of intense hard fought racing in the MRX’s, it’s Sally Garrett and her Royal Akarana Yacht Club team who have taken out the 2019 NZ Women’s National Keelboat Championship title.

Thirteen teams were on the entry list this year – a fantastic turnout for this all female event – and all thirteen teams came to race. 

Friday began with perfect sunshine but very light winds on the race course meaning the first two races were near drift-offs, with some teams not finishing in time to get a result on the board. However just as a pod of dolphins came to play, so did the wind, and it filled in nicely in the afternoon allowing Brian Trubovich and his Race Management team to get six good races under their belts.

Saturday was a different story, with constant downpours and minimal wind putting a real dampener on proceedings and only allowing three races to be sailed for the day.

Heading into Sundays final day, there were only a handful of points separating the top 7 teams, setting up a real grandstand finish to the regatta – and boy did the breeze come to the party. There was a solid 15-20 knot breeze on the water which made for some seriously exciting racing.

Karleen Dixon, who has won this event before, had a tough first two days but she was loving the conditions today and came home strong with two wins and a second place to secure third overall.  

Melinda Henshaw, who has also won this event before, was sailing well today – notching up a first and a second to start the day which put her in striking distance of winning the whole thing. However a fourth place in her final race resigned her to second overall.

Sally Garrett and her crew held the lead heading into the final day, and although she battled a little bit in today’s conditions – she wasn’t going to let it slip, going on to narrowly win the regatta by a very close three point margin.

Speaking after prizegiving Garrett was over the moon to win this event for the first time as a skipper after twenty years of trying – “We’ve sailed together for 20 years and this is our first win! I’ve won this event a few times as a crew member but I’ve never managed to get it together to win it as a skipper so it’s really exciting. We had Emma Stenhouse sailing with us, and last year before she got into the RNZYS Youth Training Programme she’d never been on a keelboat before. She’s been taught how to do the bow and she came through today and basically won the regatta for us, so a big thanks to her and the rest of my team. It was a fantastic few days out there on the water and we can’t wait to come back and do it again next year!”

As part of her prize, Garrett and her team have been given an invitation to the NZ Open National Keelboat Championships at the RNZYS at the end of the month.

Special mention to some of the teams who travelled to be in Auckland for this event, including Maria Ferrario and her team from Argentina, as well as Karen Selway and her Christchurch team and Holly Farmer from Tauranga. Also a big thank you to the Race Management team led by Brian Trubovich who did a sterling job in what were often trying conditions.

The RNZYS would like to thank all thirteen teams who came to race in this regatta, it is great to see the growth of female sailing in New Zealand which was shown by such a brilliant turnout of teams and also by the intensity the regatta was raced with. We look forward to seeing the event grow even further in 2020.

Full photo albums from Day 1 & Day 3  can be found on our Facebook page HERE

By Andrew Delves – RNZYS PR & Communications Manager

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