New Zealand sailor Daniel Slater won the South Pacific 49er yachting championships here today.
New Zealand sailor Daniel Slater won the South Pacific 49er yachting championships here today. British sailor Paul Brotherton was one point behind in second place and American Jonathon McKee third. Australia’s Chris Nicholson finished in fourth after being set back by a broken spinnaker pole. Nicholson, a three time world champion and crew man Daniel Phillips went into the final three races of the 15 race series in third place overall, trailing McKee by six points with Slater in second, two points off the pace.
Slater, with crewman Nathan Handley, said consistency was the key to his victory. Although he won only two races, he finished top six in all but three of the 15 races. The Aussies started the day well, finishing fifth in the day’s opener to move within three points of McKee and one behind the Kiwis. Slater went into the lead after finishing fourth in the day’s second race but the Australians were in touch at three points off the lead.
But in the final outing of the championships Nicholson’s boat was involved in a collision with the Canadians at the bottom mark on the first time around the course and the broken spinnaker pole that resulted put them out of the running for the title. “We were looking forward to getting right into it in the final race,” Nicholson said. “We pretty much had the McKees wrapped up and we were well in touch with the New Zealanders when we collided. “But it was early in the race and who knows how we would have finished. That’s boat racing for you. “This regatta has come at the end of a long 12 months and we hadn’t originally planned on it. “We had a couple of things go wrong this week, and we don’t usually have too much trouble, so maybe we have to rethink our preparation.”
The last day of the championship belonged to Brotherton, who moved from well down the field into second place overall after sailing to victory in the final three races.