After three days of individual racing the focus changed at the OptiWorlds with 40 national teams sailing in warm sun and light airs, on the first day of team racing.
'Each team has four sailors so some countries were excluded from today’s racing' according to Pete Dawson Chairman of OptiWorldsNZ.
Team racing allows sailors to enjoy the short tactical duels, each team sails at least two races. Then the losing team is knocked out of the competition. When not racing, the sailors are rafted up and eating with their team mates, often from other countries.
There was also a strong contingent of shore based supporters including their national flags as the sailing took place within 100 meters of the beach with commentaries provided and ice creams close at hand.
At the end of the first days' racing a heat between China and Spain remains to be sailed with the following teams progressing through to the second days racing: USA, Peru, Malaysia, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Croatia, Singapore, Thailand, the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, Argentina and Poland. Tomorrow's racing will see 16 teams contest the competition, with New Zealand knocked out of the competition by Spain today.
'Team racing is all about tactics with the aim to ensure that your whole team (4 boats) incurring the lowest number of points' says Mr Dawson. 'Each race is a knock out duel with the losing team being eliminated from the competition'.
As a consequence it makes an ideal spectacle for the public to enjoy as the races are of a short duration and the results are immediate. There is even a race score board on the beach for the public to see who is winning and with cool drinks and ice creams close at hand, who can resist?
Racing conditions for tomorrow are predicting another warm day with northwest breezes. Racing starts at 10.00am. Friday is a Lay Day and the individual racing continues with race 7 on Saturday.
The provisional leader board (for the individual racing) shows: 1 Ryan Lo (SIN) 14 points, 2 Bart Lambriex (NED) 23 points, 3 Javier Arribas (PER) 25 points, 4 Wade Waddell (USA) 32 points, 5 Leonard Takahashi-Fry (NZL) 33 points, 6 Peter Lin Janezic (SLO) 40 points, 7 Philip Meijer (NED) 41 points, 8 Ahmad Syukri Abdul Aziz (MAS) 41, 9 William Marshall (USA) 44 points, 10 Miel Verstraete (BEL) 44 points.
Opti Worlds Vital Stats: 30 December 2011 - 10 January 2012
The boat: a safe and simple dinghy that is one of the world's most popular designs The racing: 9 days of Championship racing The competitors: 210 sailors aged between 11 and 15 years The countries: teams from 48 nations including reigning Champs Thailand The host club: Napier Sailing Club, Napier, New Zealand Famous sailors that have started out in Optis include: Ben Ainslie The big sponsors: Vodafone, New Zealand Major Events, Hawke's Bay Tourism, SPARC, City of Napier, Air New Zealand, the Radio Network, EuroCity Napier, Victoria Cruising Club, Lion Foundation The technology: GPS tracking and live video coverage online - real time