If you had looked at the forecast a few days ago you would have thought we'd have spent the day huddling inside away from the wind and rain.
However there was not a drop of rain in sight - the most perfect sunny morning with a light 4-knot breeze.
Wakatere Boating Club is an official Yachting New Zealand Clean Club and the 2023 Optimist Nationals is registered as a Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta. As part of this the sailors, parents and volunteers headed down to take part in a beach clean, clearing every piece of inorganic material from the shores of Narrow Neck Beach.
The wind was shy first thing this morning causing the abandonment of the first race for White fleet on the Bravo course. As the wind struggled to fill in and the tide ripped out, the race committee was only able to get one race away for Open and White Fleet before they were sent back to shore to wait for some afternoon pressure.
Green Fleet, who were further down the channel had a nice little southerly filling their course with just enough breeze to get three races away. Zofia Wells (GBC) had three great races (6,1,3) and has established herself a nice little lead coming up to the halfway point of the regatta. Kester Holmes (Worser Bay) slipped into 2nd place with a tough first race of the day followed by a 5th and a race win to finish the day. The top three all took away wins today with Phoebe Willis (MBSC) nabbing the first bullet to get herself into 3rd. It’s super cool to see a predominantly female front pack in the Green Fleet with four girls currently sitting in the top five.
After about an hour on shore awaiting the breeze, Open Fleet headed out onto the water to continue with the final race of the day to secure their positions in either Gold or Silver fleet racing tomorrow. Charlie Bridger (CBYC, WBC) jumped up from third to first after a consistent day with a 2nd and a 3rd. Nathan Soper held onto his second only two points away from Charlie. Matteo Barker jumped up into the top three winning the final race of the day.
Less than ten points separate the top five and things will be seriously heating up tomorrow as we head into the first day of Gold Fleet racing.
New Zealand only has five spots at the Opti World Championships in Spain so the stakes are high.
White Fleet was still dominated by Louison Cardin from Tahiti who sits comfortably in the lead. Mehiti Bax de Keating managed to steal a picket fence day off his fellow Tahitian however winning the last race today after receiving a UFD in race five.
It was another day of sparkling sunshine with blue skies and light air. Tomorrow we could see some very different conditions as the wind is predicted to swing around to the North, and we're expecting to see the breeze pick up to around 17 - 24 knots by the afternoon. Exactly what we need for a shake-up going into the vital stages of the regatta!
Will we see leads extended in the new set of conditions, or will roles reverse and sailors who favour the heavier breeze sneak into the lead?
Report & image: Tasman Rowntree I 2023 Toyota Opti Nats I @WakatereBC