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Challenging first day of the Harken Invitational Regatta tests sailors

by Nathalie van Dort on 29 Dec 2011
Day 1 Harken Invitational Regatta, Napier, New Zealand Matías Capizzano/Optiworlds http://www.capizzano.com/

It was a challenging first days' sailing for many of the international sailors competing in the Harken Invitational Regatta for Optimist sailors today due to the changing wind and wave conditions.

The provisional results show that Chilean male Francisco Ducasse was the overall leader after the first four races. The sailor holding the second position overall is a female, Justina Pacheco from the Dominican Republic with Rodrigo Luz from Brazil third overall.

It is expected that confirmed results for the first days' sailing will be released early tomorrow morning.

After a slight delayed start due the last minute sign up from a large number of sailors, the weather was perfect for a good day sailing, between 8 - 10 knots sea breeze. After race 2 the wind picked up to 15 - 18 knots, as predicted, and made some rough sailing with a nasty chop at times.

As a result, many on the race committee boats suffered from seasickness delaying the processing of results and testing the race processes in the lead up to the OptiWorlds.


Four races were held today with two races schedules for tomorrow. 214 sailors from 33 different countries headed out to sea for the first day of the regatta.

Tomorrow promises some interesting races with strong winds predicted again around 1300 (1.00 pm) when the first race will start. It is also expected that racing will be tight amongst the competitors as they become familiar with the local conditions.

There is an spectator boat for the public going out close to the racing with tickets available at the Napier Sailing Club, but for those that are not so keen on being out on the water, there is live streaming at the Club, and people can watch it in comfort for free. There is even a blog on www.optiworldsnz.org.nz providing a commentary of the sailing each day during the racing.

Apart from the racing, there are many other activities organised for the public. Yachting New Zealand has provided a number of Optimist Dinghies and the public is invited to have a go themselves. A ride in the Waka is a must for a real New Zealand experience, and there will also be a Farmers Market on Monday morning 2nd January.

The public is invited to come down to the Sound Shell in Napier for the Official Opening Ceremony on 31 December 5pm. People can watch the racing on the beach on Hardinge Road, or come down to the Fan Zone at the Napier Sailing Club for replays of the races and mixing with the 48 nationalities taking part.

Opti Worlds Vital Stats:

30 December 2011 - 10 January 2012
The boat: a safe and simple dinghy that is one of the world's most popular designs
The racing: 9 days of Championship racing
The competitors: around 210 sailors aged between 11 and 15 years
The countries: teams from 48 nations including reigning Champs Thailand
The host club: Napier Sailing Club, Napier, New Zealand
Famous sailors that have started out in Optis include: Ben Ainslie
The big sponsors: Vodafone, New Zealand Major Events, Hawke's Bay Tourism, SPARC, City of Napier, Air New Zealand, the Radio Network, EuroCity Napier, Victoria Cruising Club, Lion Foundation
The technology: GPS tracking and live video coverage online - real time

The website: www.optiworldsnz.com
The Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/optiworldsnz2011

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