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Optimist nationals

Optimist nationals delivers a bit of everything

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Worser Bay certainly lived up to its reputation when it hosted the 2020 Toyota Optimist national championships recently. 

The sailors in the open, white and green fleets experienced all kinds of weather and from all directions over the four days. The only thing that was missing was the sun.

Luckily the race officer had it all in hand and made an early decision to run eight races in the first two days, meaning that when conditions were too windy to sail on both the Sunday and Monday they were still able to complete a full series to make up a regatta.

Kohimarama Yacht Club's Sean Kensington took the boy's open fleet title from Will Leech (Charteris Bay Yacht Club) in second and Oli Stone (Kohimarama) third. Kensington sailed consistently well, finishing in the top two in seven of the eight races, to finish 17 points ahead of his nearest rival to claim his first national Optimist title.

Tessa Clinton form the Wakatere Boating Club won the girl's title ahead of local Chloe Armstrong (Worser Bay) and Charlotte Palmer (Charteris Bay).

It was a lot closer in the white fleet, with Wakatere's Reuben Newton winning on countback ahead of clubmate Callum Noyer, with Marlon Porteous from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club two points back in third.

Niamh Shanahan (Wakatere) won the girl's white fleet title from Elena Keall-Neches (Paremata Boating Club) and Emily Summers (Paremata).

The green fleet completed seven races, with Charlotte Handley (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) winning the girl's title ahead of clubmates Greta Hutton and Emily Turner. 

Tom Shannon (Wakatere) was first boy, with Aaran Begic (Torbay Sailing Club) second and Jack Griffiths (Plimmerton Boating Club) third.

The national championships had originally been scheduled to take place during Easter but was postponed due to Covid-19 but it still attracted more than 120 sailors across the three fleets. The white fleet, which is a relatively new fleet created as a stepping stone between the green and open fleets, is growing in popularity and had 22 entries.

If you haven’t yet checked out the daily videos, make sure you do so here.  There are also some great action shots of all of the sailors available to purchase on the Worser Bay website.

Many of those who took part will compete this weekend at the Opti Team Cup being held at Lake Pupuke and the Sir Peter Blake Regatta at Torbay follows on the weekend of December 5-6.

Full results here. 

  • Pic: Sean Kensington dominated the open fleet competition to take his first Optimist national title. Photo: Chris Coad Photography / Worser Bay Boating Club.