Members of the Oracle Racing America's Cup team have been busy ahead of the 2011 Toyota Optimist Nationals, due to get underway at Auckland's Wakatere Boating Club which get underway tomorrow.
Oracle Racing Technical Director Mike Drummond checks the wingsailed Optimist - Toyota Optimist Nationals 2011. Image: Nick Glanfield
Several members of the various America's Cup teams live in the Devonport area, and took the opportunity to develop a wingsail rig suitable for the Optimist.
Oracle Racing in conjunction with Oracle NZ are sponsoring a day at the Nationals, which will consist of a sailpast plus prizes for the sailors, in addition a bottle of wine signed by Russell Coutts and James Spithill will be auctioned as a fundraiser.
On Friday afternoon the 300 sailors will visit the America's Cup Race Management base to watch an AC45 craned into the Viaduct harbour and to met with the sailors and teams from Artemis Racing, Emirates Team NZ and Oracle Racing. They should also have the chance to check out Emirates Team NZ's new Volvo 70 being campaigned for CAMPER.
Overseeing the trials of the wingsail was Oracle Racing's Technical Director Mike Drummond, who checked the basic setup on the beach before the Optimist was launched this afternoon. According to all reports it sailed very well indeed, and provided an interesting contrast to one of the teams wingsailed AC45 catamarans, returning from a training session on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.
300 entries have been accepted for the regatta with competitors entered from five countries in the Oceania region, including sailors from five Australian states. 200 sailors have entered the Open competition and another 100 are sailing in the Green fleet for first year sailors.
The championships double as a selection trial for the New Zealand team for the 2011 World Championships.
Mike Drummond checks the wingsailed Optimist - Toyota Optimist Nationals 2011. Image: Nick Glanfield