The absence of rain, thunder and lightening allowed a full day of teams racing to conclude at the 2012 Optimist Worlds being sailed in the Domican Republic. Winds were around 8-9 knots, swinging to the right as the day progressed as is typical here.
Having skillfully negotiated through the first round of 32 teams into the final 16, the New Zealand team knew they had a tough day at the office as Round 2 would bring them an early slot against the first seeds, Singapore. After the team Haka challenge to their first opponents Argentina, the New Zealand team launched and sailed to the course where they were second up after Singapore dispensed with Germany.
Argentina is always a tricky contender and there was some excellent sparring but the Kiwis stamped their authority on the race in the second half of the course to achieve a convincing win to finish in places 1, 2, 3, and 8, a total score of 14.
Winning their first race of the day meant they were immediately up against the rank favourites, Singapore. Through clever tactics, Singapore won the start and quickly took positions 1, 2 and 3. An unfortunate penalty on Cameron Moss led to the almost inevitable defeat by Singapore.
Facing the prospect of elimination after one more defeat meant the Kiwis had to dig deep against Brazil. Both teams came to the start line with only a second to spare and the Kiwis won the start, forcing a Brazilian sailor OCS. By the second mark the Kiwis had a winning combination right through to the home straight, but their fourth placed sailor needed some protection from first and second. In the swift melee that followed, the Brazilians emerged victorious and the Kiwis were eliminated.
Given the low prominence teams racing has in New Zealand junior sailing, this was a great result from the Kiwi team.
The final results saw the Singapore team crowned world champions closely followed by USA in second place, with the Netherlands taking third. Congratulations to Singapore.
Argentina has been selected for the 2014 Optimist World Championships. The vote was tied with Argentina and Poland on 31 votes each. The IODA Committee made a decision based on the cheapest regatta fees. - Buenos Aires here we come!
The fleet racing resumes tomorrow - the lay day has been cancelled in an attempt to catch up on the race schedule. The weather forecast is an optimistic 16 knots - we’ll see.