Wakatere Opti Nationals report -
Wow, what an amazing regatta! Running for 5 long days with a wide range of conditions to challenge the best of us. Our team vibe was amazing on and off the water and it was such a fun regatta to be part of as a club.
The Team Waka dinner was as always, a highlight, and the after-sailing drinks and food were highly-sort after and this is where the banter began - between the sailors sharing their highs and lows from the days racing.
It was great to have 6 sailors in Green fleet and 5 at their first Nationals this year. Each had varying successes on the water but all loved the experience and are very keen to keep their sailing improving to their next stage in sailing
Hamish Brown had some stellar results gaining a couple of races in the top 5, and Max Cameron with 2 top 15's. Overall the Green fleet showed real toughness and resilience competing over 5 long days!
Special mention of William Noyer for scoring a Starting Watch prize for displaying great manners to the Race Officer on Day 1. Awesome.
Wakatere had 3 sailors in the Nationals White Fleet and each came away with some great results and learnings. It was great to see Tom Shannon back in the Optimist showing his potential with a 4th overall and his best race result was a 2nd in his first race! Will Westgate finished 8th overall with a 2nd and a 4th as his highlight races. Nam-anh also had a great result finishing 15th overall with a 4th placing in race 4.
These three sailors are part of the future of Wakatere and we are looking forward to seeing how they develop in the off-season.
The Opti Open fleet had 13 Wakatere sailors competing for a spot in the rankings. It was amazing to see how everyone's hard work throughout the season, really paid off. The 'gang' really worked together well on and off the water.
Blake Jeffery, who has recently returned from an overseas voyage and has caught back up after being out of Optis for 2 years, to get a top 20 in race 5 which was a real highlight of his regatta.
Jack Craddock had some real learnings from the regatta from DNF protest to then turning this around to gain a 25th a couple of races later. It will be great to see all his improvements continue next season! Callum Noyer finished the regatta in 36th and had the experience of getting a top 10 in a race, and finishing top 11-year-old overall. Reuben Newton finished the regatta in 30th and other than a capsize, had a consistent series with 4 top 20 results to lift Reuben into the top 30.
At the top end, Wakatere had 8 sailors in the top 15 and 3 in the top 5 overall which is a fantastic club result.
Ashton Cooke finished in 14th with 3 top 10 results and was 2nd at the top mark in the last race. This was a big step up this season for Ashton. In 13th overall and first NZ Opti National Champs girl for the 2nd year in a row was Tessa Clinton who started the regatta with a 2nd and followed it up with 5 top 10 results. After suffering an early scoring penalty, Tessa fought back throughout the regatta.
In 12th was Andrew Jenson who scored a 3rd in race 7. Next was Liam in 9th, a top result after missing a lot of the season with his other sporting commitments. In 6th was Nelson Meacham who stole the show on Day 3 of racing with a 6th, and then two bullets - sailing some of the best I have seen an Opti raced. A definite star in the making. Will Mason fought back valiantly after a tough first day to chip away and come out with a 4th overall, which in the context of the regatta an amazing result! It was also great to see Will win race 8.
3rd overall and on the podium was Cam Brown who sailed a top regatta (other than 2 races). Cam was especially pleased to win the last race of the regatta after a poor start to the day.
The overall National Champion for 2021 was Will Leech who has recently joined WBC. Coming from Charteris Bay in Christchurch, Will has joined WBC as he spends a lot of his sailing life in Auckland and loves being a part of a great club with his mates.
Massive congrats to Will and Tessa on winning the top boy and girl national titles and to all sailors for some great racing.
Images: Yachting New Zealand
The Wakatere Opti fleet would like to thank the wider club for all the support this season from the club to help our younger members grow in our sport; also we would like to thank our fleet captain Dave Craddock for some amazing organization throughout this season which isn't always easy with Covid disrupting plans. To the head of our Fun Committee Kirsten Newton you're a legend and a massive part of the culture our group has. Thank you.
To all the coaches helping our kids throughout the season under our head coach/coordinator Lydia Grasberger, thank you for helping our kids - we know how trying they can be so we know it isn't always easy!
To our coaches Frankie Lardies and Thomas Saunders, a massive thank you for your hard work at the Nationals and throughout the 2020/21 season.
Images: Wakatere Inc