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Slalom nationals

Ten Have continues her windsurfing education

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A summer job is a common scenario for a lot of students and it helped Veerle ten Have take out the New Zealand slalom windsurfing title recently.

The 18-year-old is this country’s top female windsurfer, winning silver at last year’s youth sailing world championships and being named the Aon Emerging Talent at the Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards, but didn’t have any slalom gear. That’s where the summer job came in.

“I’ve been coaching some windsurfers here [in Tauranga] and worked partime at a calendar stand to buy some gear and to afford the entry fee,” ten Have said. “It was definitely worth it.”

Ten Have dominated the women’s field at the event, recording a perfect nine points (she won 10 of the 12 races) to finish nine points ahead of Fenella Bowater. Annie Crombie was third another seven points back.

Slalom racing is all part of ten Have’s development as a windsurfer. On top of the youth sailing world championships, she also impressed at the sailing world championships in Aarhus and represented New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

It was at the youth Olympics where she was introduced to slalom racing – she actually won the girl's slalom elimination event even though it was on the relatively unfamiliar Techno gear – and it piqued an interest in competing at the New Zealand slalom championships.

“The [slalom] boards are about half the size of an RS:X and the sails are also small as well,” she explained. “You need a minimum of 13 knots to go racing – up to 35 knots – so you go way faster.

“I entered the event for fun and to see what slalom racing is like. It was so much fun. I was quite surprised how well I went.

“Windsurfing is windsurfing so all of the RS:X and Techno skills combine after a while. It really helped me with my gybing, starting exactly on time and sailing fast. There’s not a lot of race tactics.”

There isn’t really time to implement race tactics when races are typically all over inside five minutes. There can be up to 10 races a day, which are run downwind and require competitors to round four buoys.

Peter John won the men's title from James Dinnis with Max van der Zalm, who has competed for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team at the last two youth sailing world championships, taking out the youth male title.

Ten Have’s priority remains the RS:X and her aim is to go to the Olympics. She will compete at the upcoming Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club (February 1-3) before training and competing at Takapuna alongside a number of internationals who will be here for the RS:X national championships and world championships test event.

She will then hit the international circuit competing at the Princess Sofia regatta and RS:X Europeans, both in Palma, with her pinnacle event for the year the RS:X world championships at Lake Garda in October.

“I want to keep enjoying myself and hope to get some good results which show I’m improving,” ten Have said. “I’m still in a big planning stage at the moment and working out what I need to do to qualify for the next stage [of my career].”

It might mean selling a few more calendars.

Results from the New Zealand windsurf slalom championships at Naval Point Club Lyttelton recently:

Women (7 boards)

1st: Veerle ten Have (1) (2) 1 1 1 (2) 1 1 1 1 1 1 - 9 points
2nd: Fenella Bowater 2 1 2 2 2 1 (3) 2 (6) (3) 3 3 - 18 pts
3rd: Annie Crombie (6) (4) 3 (4) 3 4 2 3 4 2 2 2 - 25 pts

Men (19 boards)

1st: Peter John 2 (11) 1 1 3 1 (4) (11) 1 1 3 2 - 15 pts
2nd: James Dinnis (5) (11) 1 1 5 1 1 (7) 1 2 1 2 - 15 pts
3rd: Dan Meehan (9) 1 2 2 4 2 2 2 (7) (10) 2 4 - 21 pts

Silver fleet (3 boards)

1st: Pete Kennedy (1) 1 1 (2) 1 1 - 5 pts
2nd: Greg Bowater (2) 2 2 1 2 2 - 9 pts
3rd: Peter Hirst 3 (4) 3 3 3 4 - 16 pts