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NZL Sailors perform well at 2014 Australian Optimist Nationals

by Terry Nicholas, YNZ on 23 Jan 2014
New Zealand team at 2014 Australian Optimist Nationals Yachting New Zealand
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.

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.

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

Silver fleet:

Brianna Reynolds-Smith eighth

Robbie McCutcheon 13th

Jack Tripe 25th
Intermediate Fleet:

Rebecca Morgan 26th.

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