Please select your home edition
Edition
Kilwell - 6

New Olympic cycle for Windsurfing begins on Tauranga harbour

by Stuart Pedersen on 17 Dec 2012
Natalia Kosinska from New Zealand racing in the RSX Women class on day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com

New Zealand’s top Olympic medal winning event of recent years has been windsurfing, and at the weekend the 2016 hopefuls were back on the water in their first regatta since the London Olympics.

Windsurfing was controversially dumped from the sailing event schedule for Rio back in May this year in favour of kiteboarding, only to be reinstated six months later. The flip-flop was not only gut-wrenching for all those who had put their heart and soul into the sport in recent years, it was also costly financially to the sailors and their supporters.

Some such as 19 year old Tauranga sailor Sven Pedersen switched immediately to kiteboarding in May to keep his Olympic dream alive, and then following the reversal in November put his recently acquired kite gear on the market and pulled out his old RS:X class windsurfer again.

Others such as women’s campaigner Natalia Kosinska of Auckland, who qualified but was not selected for London 2012, took a break to see what would happen, and restarted training this month. Meanwhile her rival Justina Sellars made the switch to kiting in winter and has decided not to switch back, instead moving quickly up the field in her new sport and making top ten at the kiteboard world champs in October this year.

All three were racing last weekend in the fourth North Island Champs, held off the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club base at Sulphur Point. The regatta included kiteboards for the first time, and heading the men’s kite fleet were Auckland’s Dave Robertson, who was ninth at the October worlds event, and Tauranga’s Torrin Bright who was just back from Sailing World Cup regatta Sail Melbourne, where he came away with an impressive silver medal.

In the senior fleets the only missing names were London 2012 seventh place getter JP Tobin, who had a clash with a mountain bike event, and kiter Matt Taggart of Raglan. The biggest fleet however in the 36-strong field was the Techno class, which is the under-17 racing class windsurfer which features in the Youth Olympic sailing programme. As well as a number of Rotorua, Auckland and Christchurch sailors who made the trip, locals Josh McConnell, Coral Headey and Dean Strydom were racing, as was Alex Hart in the RS:X youth class.

The bay turned on excellent conditions for the weekend’s sailing, with a fresh sea breeze building from 8 knots up to gusts of 25 knots on Saturday, making for some spectacular racing, and a light and tricky 4-8 knots on Sunday which tested the sailors tactics and physical endurance. Both days the organisers were able to get three races in for the windsurfers, but on Sunday the wind never built sufficiently for the kiters, who instead enjoyed an extended siesta in the shade.

A standout performance came from Alex Hart, who at just 16 and after little more than a month on the RS:X board, was top under-19 and even beat Kosinska in one race. Another good performance was from the Haybittle family, with Alex’s former rival taking out the Technos but facing stiff challenges on Sunday from younger sister Carmen.

Torrin Bright took out the kites from Robertson by just two points, and as a further sign of how close the racing was, there were two points ties for third and fifth places. 'This was the first proper kite racing regatta to be held in New Zealand' said Robertson. 'We’re all now looking forward to the next event which is Sail Auckland in February, where we are planning to beat up the Aussies!'

Kosinska and Pedersen are in training on the harbour for the two days post regatta. Meanwhile the grass roots of the sport are being catered for by the club this week, with a beginners’ course running at Kulim Park all week, and a three day Techno training camp under Olympic legend Bruce Kendall under way as well.

RESULTS
Class: Winner: Runner-up
RS:X 9.5 Sven Pedersen Laurence Carey
RS:X 8.5 Natalia Kosinska Alex Hart
Techno 7.8 Patrick Haybittle Finn Croft
Techno 6.8 Coral Headey Fenella Bowater
Techno Green Dean Strydom Ethan Butler
Formula Marcus Hansen Ian Young
Kiteboard Torrin Bright Dave Robertson

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther off to a handy start in light airs
Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She is best placed of the three New Zealand competitors in the regatta, lying in 22nd overall after two races were sailing the Qualifying Round.
Posted on 15 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Kilwell - 6Bakewell-White Yacht DesignInSunSport - NZ