Light winds plague Optimist Nationals at Whitianga

Nigel Rippey, Jayvee Buchanan (top NZer) and Ralph Roberts at the 2010 NZ Optimist Nationals
Jayvee Buchanan from Charteris Bay Yacht Club manouvered his way through swell and tide to claim the NZ National Optimist sailing title at Whitianga from April 1 – 6.

A big rolling sea and scant breeze made for a slow start to the 2010 Toyota Optimist Nationals; by the end of Day 2 only one race had been sailed. However, patience paid off and although the breeze barely built to more than 10 knots throughout, race organizers managed to get three races away on the third day, and finally after six days a tally of 12 races had been sailed. Jayvee pulled out to an early lead in the contest, collecting five bullets in the first seven races.

In order to ensure race organizers could catch up on missed races, the Teams Racing day which was planned for Easter Saturday was abandoned in favour of fleet racing.

The drawcard of coming to picturesque Whitianga to compete ensured the biggest turnout yet at an optimist national regatta, with 196 in the open fleet and a further 88 young competitors in the beginners green fleet.

A strong contingent of international sailors made for tough racing at the top of the fleet and on the last day, Jayvee succumbed to the sailing prowess of top Singaporean sailor Kimberly Lim who was the overall regatta winner. Three Singaporeans finished in the top five, and 7 of the top 10 spaces went to international competitors giving the Kiwi sailors a taste of what they will encounter in international regattas.

Jayvee has had an exceptionally successful sailing season, also claiming the Tauranga Cup at the P Nationals held at Naval Point in January.

The winners - 2010 NZ Optimist Nationals - Whitianga

Singaporean and Australian competitors took advantage of the allocation for teams of eight sailors from other countries to compete in the New Zealand nationals. Other countries represented included France, Tahiti, Great Britain and the Cook Islands.

With the Optimist World Championships to be hosted in Napier in 2011, increasing interest in New Zealand sailing waters can be expected between now and the December 31st start of the worlds here.

First New Zealand female and fifth overall went to talented young Napier sailor, Olivia Mackay. She comfortably secured second kiwi, ahead of last year’s national optimist champion, Taylor Burn. Taylor held his nerve on the last day of the regatta at Whitianga, he was carrying a disqualification and a 53rd placing and he had no room for any errors. However a sixth and fourth placing in the last two races secured him a spot in the team of five to represent New Zealand at the Optimist World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia in December of this year.

Jayvee Buchanan - 2010 NZ Optimist Nationals - Whitianga

The New Zealand Worlds Team is:
1. Jayvee Buchanan Charteris Bay/Murrays Bay
2. Olivia Mackay Napier
3. Taylor Burn Queen Charlotte Yacht Club/ Murrays Bay
4. Markus Somerville Wakatere
5. William Linkhorn Kohimarama

Full results


Big seas aptly demonstrated - 2010 NZ Optimist Nationals - Whitianga

Gerald Martin Race Officer and Pete Cummings on the start boat - 2010 NZ Optimist Nationals - Whitianga

Waiting on the beach - 2010 NZ Optimist Nationals - Whitianga