by Logan Fraser
ZOKE Kiwi Match’s season continues this week as we put behind us our recent US Grand Slam victory and turn our attention to the Nations Cup Grand Final. We find ourselves back sailing on the Great Lake Michigan, this time however, in the town of Sheboygan, WI. Hosted by the Olympic training centre, Sail Sheboygan, the event brings together 20 teams from all the regional qualifiers for both the Open and Woman’s Grand Final.
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ZOKE Kiwi Match qualified to represent New Zealand by winning our National Qualifier in Auckland and then the Regional Final in Sydney last May. The event fits perfectly in our schedule so we were thrilled when we qualified and are proud to be here, representing our country and the Oceania region.
Moving from the Big Apple and Oakcliff’s Swedish Match 40’s to the small town atmosphere and smaller boats has been a big adjustment for the team. Sheboygan’s hidden treasure is the Sail Sheboygan setup with its 8 Sonar’s for the Open Division, 8 Elliott 6m Olympic boats for the Women’s division and new support and race committee boats.
The Sonar’s probably aren’t our most preferred boats and it’s taken us a couple of days to get our heads around them. We have however qualified directly through to the Semi Finals to be raced this weekend. With good breeze forecasted for the rest of the week, the competition is sure to be heated, even if the early autumn weather is a touch on the cool side. With morning temperatures over the last couple of days of 3 - 5 Degrees Celsius, it’s definitely forcing us to dig into the bottom of our gear bags.
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All the action is being updated on the regatta website www.nationscup2011.org with live twitter feeds and race tracker. You can also keep up to date with how we are going on our team website www.kiwimatch-sailing.com and follow the link to join our facebook page. The team would like to say a big thank you to our sponsor ZOKE, for making it all possible and all our friends, family and fans for all their support.