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Optimist North Islands: Big swells test sailors at New Plymouth

by Yachting New Zealand 12 Nov 03:54 PST 13 November 2019
Looking up a big Tasman roller - 2019 Optimist North Island Championships - New Plymouth YC - November 2019 © Yachting New Zealand

Just two points separated the top four sailors at a turbulent North Island Optimist Championships sailed over the weekend.

Noah Shirley (Murrays Bay SC) won the Open title, heading off Joe leith (MBSC) on 11pts with Noah Malpot (Nelson YC) one point back in third overall. On the wrong side of the tie break was Sean Kensington (Kohimaramara YC) also on 12pts.

Australian sailor Austin Cross (Woollahra SC) was fifth, one point further back.

But it was the weather which had the final say at the in New Plymouth, and it was a triumph that six races were possible given the forecasts leading into the event.

Many weather models predicted wind gusts in excess of 40 knots and waves topping 2.5m on two of the three days. But race officials managed to get two full days of racing in before the third day was cancelled due to rough conditions.

The final day would have been full of intrigue, with the 90 sailors being split into gold and silver fleets and top five separated by only five points. Charlotte Palmer was the first girl in 16th overall and Thomas Linklater took out the green fleet.

A round of the Starling Traveller Series was also run alongside the Optimist regatta, with Naiomi Ferrissey continuing to show her potential. The Murrays Bay sailor won four of the six races in the open fleet and was second in the other two.

A Tasman Sea swell moved through the race course, particularly on Saturday. While many competitors and spectators found this challenging, with the local pharmacy running out of sea sickness patches, a number revelled in the waves.

"That was just a normal Saturday afternoon," event organiser Wayne Holdt joked. "You should see it when it really gets going."

The New Plymouth Yacht Club hosted a terrific event, with a good atmosphere achieved throughout. They also made a good, early call to cancel racing on Sunday to allow travelling sailors to get home in good time.

"It was a fabulous event," Holdt said. "It was a big effort by our club to organise, with about 60 volunteers on and off the water, and we really appreciated the help from other clubs with things like support boats.

"The feedback we have received has been really positive. We could have tried to get a fourth race in on both the first two days but having only three meant it gave kids and parents a big chance to socialise and that's a big part of it."

The New Plymouth Yacht Club will now have a chance to take a breath before preparations ramp up for the 2020 Laser National Championships on January 16-19. They will next host the Optimist North Island Championships in 2022 with the event rotated around New Plymouth, Napier and Taupo.

Results and standings from the Optimist North Island Championships at the New Plymouth Yacht Club:

Open fleet: (90 boats)

1st: Noah Shirley (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) 1 4 1 1 3 (5) - 10 points 2nd: Joe Leith (MBSC) 4 2 2 (7) 2 1 - 11 pts 3rd: Noah Malpot (Nelson Yacht Club) 2 3 4 (5) 2 1 - 12 pts

First girl: Charlotte Palmer (Charteris Bay Yacht Club) 9 (14) 8 8 13 4 - 42 pts

For Overall Results click here

Green fleet (25 boats)

1st: Thomas Linklater (TYPBC) 1 1 1 (26 OCS) - 3 pts 2nd: Caelan Taylor (Paramata Boating Club) 5 (11) 2 3 - 10 pts 3rd: Ruben Newton (Wakatere Boating Club) 3 2 6 (26 OCS) 11 pts

Results and standings from the Starling Traveller Series at the New Plymouth Yacht Club:

Open fleet (10 boats)

1st: Naiomi Ferrissey (MBSC) (2) 1 2 1 1 1 - 6 pts 2nd: Jack Parr (New Plymouth Yacht Club) 3 2 1 2 3 (4) - 11 pts 3rd: Alex Hebberd (MBSC) 1 3 3 4 (5) 2 - 13 pts

Starling development fleet (14 boats)

1st: Miya Prescott (TYPBC) (9) 2 1 1 - 4 pts 2nd: Caleb Hughes (TYPBC) 1 1 2 (4) - 4 pts 3rd: Phoebe Andrew (Manly Sailing Club) 3 3 (4) 2 - 8 pts

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