Optimist Nationals – Timaru
A truly eventful and dramatic end to the Nationals in Timaru this weekend has seen our own Henry Haslett bring home the National title to Wakatere and his other home club Glendowie. If you followed the race reports over the weekend you’ll know that Henry and the rest of the sailors attending had to negotiate some of the most difficult conditions for years to claim the title.
Henry Haslett with the 2013 Toyota Optimist National Champs trophy
The forecast for the week was looking light even before anyone travelled to Timaru and that really came through with only two races completed after two days however Jordan Stevenson was well placed in 3rd.
Fortunately Day 3 provided a more solid breeze and by the end of Day 3 a total of six races had been completed. By then it was clear that Henry was coping well with the local conditions as he had finished every race inside the top 10, something no one else in the fleet had managed to achieve. This was due to be the point in the regatta that the fleet was split into Gold and Silver to allow the top placed sailors to race each other for the title however another day of racing was required before finals series commenced. Wakatere sailors were well placed at the start of the final day with Henry and Jordan in contention for a top place. But Henry seemed to handle the pressure the best with a 2nd in the first race of the final day effectively locking up the top spot as his normally favoured opponents from around the country began to falter in the extremely competitive Gold fleet which included 16 Australians. Henry has improved all season with top 10 results in the last two ranking regattas, but to move up from 45th placing at last year’s Nationals and to come away with a win, the first for Wakatere since Logan Dunning Beck in 2007, is just brilliant.
In the Silver fleet Greta Stewart managed to salvage some pride by taking out that title and in the Green Fleet our only competitor her brother Lachlan had a great time in his first event.
Greta Stewart 1st place in the Open Silver fleet
Full results can be found in the middle of the main news page at Timaru Yacht & Powerboat Club
Optimist National Team Selection
The Nationals are the final and the most important event in the annual Opti ranking series to enable sailors to qualify for a NZ team to travel to an overseas event and Wakatere sailors managed to claim more places in these teams than any club in New Zealand. The following sailors made teams for these events:
· Worlds Team, Luke Garda, Italy - Henry Haslett
· North Americans, Bermuda - Jordan Stevenson
· Europeans in Hungary - Jono Weston and Kate Stewart
· Asians Champs in Japan - Xanthe Copeland and Airi Kawana
Well done to everyone who made the effort to travel such a long way for such a difficult regatta, especially those who excelled to make a team for an overseas regatta. But again a huge congratulation to Henry and his family for a successful culmination to a massive effort this year. Every Wakatere member is suitably proud of your efforts.