OKI 24hr Sailing Race: Toughest test yet
Published on March 10th, 2015
Auckland, NZL (March 10, 2015) – Many are calling this year’s regatta the toughest in the 30 year history of running the OKI 24hr race. With winds consistently 20 to 30 knots throughout the entire 24 hours (Mar. 7-8) and squally rain showers in the middle of the night, there were a number of masts broken and sails ripped – making this year’s event one for the history books.
Emerging as overall winners in this battle against the elements was Nic Heiner and Andy Malone of Team OKI, taking out the Open Division completing 120 laps in the 24 hour event. This record is just one lap ahead of second place Mike Bullot and Sam Meech of Team Manson, and third place Blair Tuke and James Sandle of Team Harken.
“Under the incredibly tough conditions it was always going to come down to the wire. The sailors were pushed hard till the very end and it was questionable at times if the boats and the sailors could keep it together for the full 24 hours,” Scott Leith Commodore Murrays Bay Sailing Club.
The upside of the windy conditions meant Team OKI were able to equal Chris Dickson’s lap record of 120 laps, a record that has been steady for over a decade. “For the last few hours it was really close and wasn’t until the very end before we knew whether they would break the record or not,” commented Leith.
There were five entries in the Solo category, contestants sailing for 24 hours with no respite, especially demanding in this year’s conditions. Matt Coutts, sailing the Watershed boat, completed 108 laps and took out first prize of $1000 in this solo division. This regatta also saw the youngest entry in the solo category; 15 year old Oscar Gun who completed 98 las.
Leith comments; “It’s incredible to see these guys taking on the solo event and that they’re still smiling after being hammered for the full 24 hours. I think even the Volvo Ocean Race team members were impressed”
Dean Drummond, Neil Wooldridge and Scott Leith took out the Masters division with 114 laps and backing up their win in 2014.
Saturday evening saw a large contingent from the Volvo Ocean Race turn up to take on the conditions and each other. Tony Rae and Rob Salthouse (Team Vestas), Carolijn Brouwer (Team SCA), Sebastien Marsset (Alvimedica) and Rokas Milevicius (Brunel), just to name a few, sailing one-on-one in the “Volvo Hot Laps” providing an opportunity to get up close with the local sailing community.
“It wasn’t quite Southern Ocean conditions, but it got pretty exciting out there for a while.” stated Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Volvo Ocean Race leaders.
David Charlesworth from OKI NZ awarded the trophies and summed this year’s regatta up well in saying, “The OKI 24hr has more than lived up to its name of being the toughest dinghy race in NZ. I am sure it will not only leave you with memories that will last a life time but set you up for competitive sailing on the world stage.”
1st Place: OKI – Andy Maloney & Nick Heiner
2nd Place: Manson – Sam Meech & Michael Bullot
3rd Place: Harken – Blair Tuke & James Sandle
1st Place: Watershed – Matt Coutts
2nd Place: Burnsco – Spencer Loxton
3rd Place: Mulcahy Engineering – Steve Pyatt
1st Place: Canam – Scott Leith, Dean Drummond and Neil Wooldridge
2nd Place: Dominion Construction – Kris Decke, Mike Keaton, Roger Winton
3rd Place: Lancer – Arthur Ferguson, Ian Wallace, Marco Canegallo
1st Place: RPM – James Jennings & Tim Adair
2nd Place: Salthouse Boatbuilders – Blake Woodfield & Dylan McKinlay
3rd Place: Office Torque – Tam Lindsay & William McKenzie
Sub Youth (under 16)
1st Place: Grayburn Property Services – Emma French, Jackson Keon, James Wilson & Tom Fyfe
2nd Place: Mr Sparks Electrical – Finn Drummond, Logan Beckman, Dylan Brown and Tom Hyde
3rd Place: Oceanbridge – Annabelle Rennie-Younger, Carmen Haybittle, Maren Howarth & Saffron Nixon.
1st Place: Chantal Grass, Shaaron McKee & Aliesha Ferguson
Event details: www.murraysbay.org/murrays-bay-sailing-club/oki-24hr-race
OKI Event fundraiser: The OKI 24-hr is an annual fundraiser for Murray’s Bay Sailing Club – to develop youth sailing. Local business, Comworth – distributor for OKI Printers and Panasonic Toughbooks have been the major event sponsor since 1989.
Report by event media. Photos courtesy of Murrays Bay Sailing Club.