A record 15 New Zealand Optimist sailors made the short trip to Melbourne for the 2014 Australian Optimist Nationals. The Australian Optimist fleet has grown rapidly over the last few years, so with 350 entries across the Green, Intermediate and Open fleets, it was the largest one design regatta held in the Southern Hemisphere.
New Zealand team at 2014 Australian Optimist Nationals
The regatta was sailed from Mornington Yacht Club on the South Eastern side of Port Phillip Bay with Gerald Martin operating as Race Officer in conjunction with local PRO 'Jacko' Chris Jackson. The event was extremely well run. There was a wide range of conditions from under 5 knots to 20+ knots.
The regatta got off to a great start for the Kiwis, with the NZL Team 1 winning the 2014 Australian Opti Teams Racing Nationals, with Team2 finishing second. It was a 24 team draw including teams from Finland and Singapore. NZL Team 1 comprised of Scott McKenzie, Craig Keenan, Oliver Cowley, Jack Tripe and Jonathan Nicholas. Team two comprised of William Shapland, Sam Morgan, Pat Morgan, Lewis Anderson, Jonathon Weston and Jordan Stevenson.
Whilst Henry Otto ( aged 12) from Sydney won the 2014 Australian Optimist Nationals, the NZL contingent of sailors performed well, with Kohimarama Yacht Club sailors leading the way; Lewis Anderson finishing second ( winning three races out of the first 5), Craig Keenan third, Scott McKenzie in fifth and Pat Morgan in ninth.
The racing was split into flights of 49 boats, and followed the NZL format of Qualifying and then finals series. This worked well, and allowed Gerald to get 4 races in on one day and be finished by 2:30pm. The racing in the Gold fleet was extremely close, with the whole fleet finishing within minutes.
The NZL sailors were supported by coaches Sam McKenzie, Briar Dye Hutchinson and Chris Steele.
Optimist fleet at 2014 Australian Optimist Nationals
The Australians were wonderful hosts to the NZL and other overseas sailors in every way. Attending the Australian Nationals is an easy way for NZL sailors to add to their NZL racing without having to travel too far. There are no qualification criteria to attend, and Steve Bond from Ozi Opti makes it very easy to charter boats – he chartered nearly 50 boats for this event! We anticipate having 25 sailors from Australia attend the NZL Nationals in Manly in April 2014. The next event that NZL sailors could consider attending in Australia is the Queensland Race week in July 2014.
Follow the NZIODA website here or the Facebook page at here to find out more.
Full results of the 2014 Australian Optimist National can be found at by clicking here
Other NZL sailors:
Sam Morgan 16th
Jonathon Weston 21st
William Shapland 24th
Oliver Cowley 26th
Jonathan Nicholas 33rd
Courtney Reynolds-Smith 41st
Jordan Stevenson 44th
Brianna Reynolds-Smith eighth
Robbie McCutcheon 13th
Jack Tripe 25th
Rebecca Morgan 26th.