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Electronic yachts whirl around Muri Beach at the national championships

Wednesday 14 June 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Other Sports, Sailing, Sports


Electronic yachts whirl around Muri Beach at the national championships
Kris Goodwin celebrates winning the fleet racing national championships 23061332.

A fleet of rare Des Townson Electrons hit the waves at Muri on Saturday for a day of National Electron Championships.

The Electron RC class of yachting is a recognised international class with some 1500 identical boats racing at various venues around the world.

The Cook Islands has clubs in both Aitutaki and Rarotonga with around 20 boats with sailors of all ages competing at a high level.

The yachts have on-board battery-run motors which bring the sails in and out and turn the rudder.

“The degree of difficulty is up there with total concentration required for tactical and boat speed reasons,” principal race officer Peter Hayes told Cook Islands News.

For the 22/23 season the national championships were held in Muri Lagoon in near perfect conditions against a spectacular backdrop of regular lagoon sailing for the juniors of the Rarotonga Sailing club.

Twenty-five races over several hours saw some very close racing and excellent skills.

For the fleet racing national championships, the winner was Kris Goodwin, who was placed second in the World Championships in Aitutaki last year.

Peter Heays was second-place, and Tony Heays was placed third.                                                                                        

For the one on one match racing event, the eventual winner was Tony Heays.   

Des Townson, one of New Zealand’s top yacht designers, made about 1000 of the yachts before he passed away in 2008.

He grew up in the eastern suburbs of Auckland and was involved in the creation of the most well-known classes in New Zealand sailing, including the Starling, Zephyr, Mistral and Pied Piper.

By the time he died he had built 1016 Electrons in his home workshop - the yachts are also used as toys on luxury yachts and displayed in lounges worldwide.