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Toyota Optimist NZ Nationals: Links leads Kiwis - Day 4

by Suellen Hurling 22 Apr 2019 05:01 PDT 21 April 2019
Daniel Links (AUS 1825) and Joe Leith (NZL 4608) - 2019 Toyota NZ Optimist Nationals Day 4, April 2019 - Murrays Bay SC © Rachel von Zalinski - LSD

With the Open Fleet split into Gold, Silver and Bronze, after the conclusion of two days of Qualification Racing, 15-year-old Daniel Links (AUS) continues to dominate the 205 boat fleet, taking a comfortable seven point lead after finishing 1st and 6th in the first two finals races.

“I took some advice from 2007 World Champion Chris Steele and I controlled the peak!” said Links post-race. "I was sitting in second behind Joe Leith in the first race of the day, and put the hammer down on the final upwind taking the lead,” continued Links, who is keen to keep the Kiwis off the top of the overall leader board. Sailors from from eight nations - Australia, China, UK, French Polynesia, USA, Poland and Chile are competing.

An overcast and dreary day prevailed for the first two races of the Toyota Optimist National Championship Finals, which was raced in light and shifty conditions off the beach from Murrays Bay Sailing Club, on Auckland's North Shore.

The forecast was for rain and even hail, and while the latter didn’t eventuate, the rain came plummeting down, as did the temperature with winter finally setting in across New Zealand.

Defending 2018 NZ Optimist National Champion, George Lee Rush went for the port hand start in the first race of the day, and almost nailed it, however infringed with a competitor and was forced to do a penalty. However he didn’t complete the penalty correctly and was re-penalised by the on-water judges and went from famous to last place in a matter of seconds.

After fighting his way back, Lee Rush finished the race in sixth and is now sitting second overall on 14 points, seven behind Daniel Links and four points ahead of fellow Kiwi, Valentine Kayrouz.

When asked if he felt the pressure of claiming back to back championship wins, Lee Rush stated, “my dad and I have a saying… Eat the pressure for breakfast. So I don’t really feel the pressure of winning, I’m just here to do my best and to have a good time.”

14-year-old Amelia Angus from Kohimarama Yacht Club is leading the charge in the girls division and is placed 11th overall after the first two finals races. Angus, who enjoys racing against her male counterparts doesn’t get intimidated by the boys and thrives when racing.

“I actually think they get intimidated by me!” she laughed before heading out to the race course.

The Green Fleet opted to stay on shore and partake in fun activities which meant the overall results for their fleet stands with Tessa Clinton reining at the top of the leader board.

In the Silver Fleet Tom Rebbeck from Wakatere Boating Club is leading with Winston Liesebach from Napier Sailing Club in second and Scarlett Zerbe from Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Australia is third and first girl.

The Bronze Fleet has Josh Hilder from Wakatere Boating Club in first place with Ora Mead from Worser Bay Sailing Club in second and Jonathan Lowe from Maraetai Sailing Club in third.

Two more races are scheduled for Tuesday 23rd April from 1100 hours with the 2019 Toyota Optimist National Championships ending with two final races on Wednesday 24th April.

Official website:

Open fleet results click here

Green fleet results click here

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