The 2011 season is finally starting to get underway for Zoke Kiwi Match as we make our way to Qatar for our first international event of the year.
The team arrived in Qatar on the back of a successful Nations Cup Qualifying regatta held in Auckland, New Zealand which we won convincingly, only losing one race over the course of the entire weekend. The Nations Cup win see’s us qualify to represent New Zealand in the Asia Pacific Champs to be held in Sydney next month. It also worked well as an ideal training regatta and springboard to launch into our first international regatta as we head into unknown territory in Doha, Qatar.
Run out of the Doha Sailing Club, the Grade 2 Qatar Match Race Regatta has managed to attract a large field of 15 teams from no less than 9 different countries. This is an excellent sign that an up and coming sailing nation is able to attract such a diverse field of teams in only its second year of hosting this event. The event runs from sixth - 10th April with the intended format being a single round robin, semi finals and finals. This is a rather cut throat programme; with 11 teams being culled after only a single round robin we will need to hit the ground running as a slow start here could be very costly indeed.
The event is to be sailed in the French design and built Beneteau First Class 7.5 one design boats. It was designed in 1982 by the highly regarded French Design team Groupe Finot with insight from the French Sailing Federation and has more than 1000 boats sailing worldwide. The first Class 7.5 looks to be a modern, versatile and high performance boat with a high aspect rig and a large, open and ergonomically designed cockpit so should be plenty of fun to sail.
We hope to get a day or two training on the boats and out on the race course before the event starts on Wednesday which will help us to adapt to the local conditions. This is our first venture to the Middle East so we will have to acclimatize to the 30 plus degree dry heat and dusty weather quickly. We will try and update results as often as possible on our website www.kiwimatch-sailing.com
as well as uploading photos and video as the week progresses. Thanks again to our sponsors Zoke for making this all possible and to all our friends and family for their continued support.