Optimist champs sailed in challenging conditions

Friday December 15, 2017 Written by Published in Other Sports

The battle for CI National Optimist Championship title raged in the last weekend of November at Rarotonga Sailing Club.


The event took place over two days, with sailors from Aitutaki and Rarotonga Sailing Clubs vying for the national title.

Top sailors this year have been Elizabeth Kenyon, who holds the RSC Club Championship, Shaquil Munokoa, who holds the Aitutaki Sailing Club Championship and Kohl Horton, who won the interclub Boatshed Regatta Championship in October.

Close behind these three were a raft of up-and-coming younger sailors from both clubs.

From Aitutaki, Terii Haurua and Akatapu Sabatano have raced up through the ranking while Robert Wigmore, Koru and Max McDonald and George Newman were waiting for their chance to pounce.

Rounding out the field were a bunch of keen young sailors who threw themselves at the competition in October in Aitutaki in very challenging conditions, proving themselves capable of improving each of their rankings at this new opportunity.

Griffin Wittwer of the Rarotonga Sailing Club carried off the Boatshed Green Fleet title with style, with Dom Munokoa of Aitutaki hot on his heels. 

With improving younger sailors now in their second major regatta and working on their skills to improve their rankings, there is a chance for a major shake-up, and everything to gain from improved places.

The wind was a challenge, causing the competition to be called off on the Saturday afternoon. It was decided to continue on Sunday afternoon after church, so the Aitutaki visitors could get back for school on Monday.

The youngsters handled winds of more than 20 knots, illustrating that there’s no fear in this fleet!

This was the final interclub match for the year, which RSC took to enthusiastically, showing the visitors a good time.

It was a grand old competition for the Sir Thomas Davis Trophy, and there’s more to come in 2018.

The 2017 champion is Elizabeth Kenyon, who has had a fantastic year. She’s a very robust committed sailor, training frequently in her Opti and Open Bic and competing in Sunbursts Vaka and teams racing.

She was a member of the RSC Teams Racing Reps at the April 2017 NZ Teams Racing Championship in NZ, where the team finished second in Silver Fleet and 13/39 teams.

            - RSC/CL

Second place was fast-improving Max McDonald (RSC) and third was ever-strong Terii Haurua (ASC).

National Ranking: 1. Elizabeth Kenyon, 2. Max McDonald, 3. Terii Haurua, 4. Akatapu Sabatano, 5. Robert Wigmore, 6. Shaquille Munokoa, 7. George Newman-Holt, 8. Koru McDonald, 9. Griffin Wittwer, 10. Marama Rio, 11. Angus Anderson, 12. Harrison Craw. 13. Jesse Easterbrooke. 14 Ta Craw. 15.Sheldon Milner. 16 Max Heuze. 17. Dom Munokoa. 18. Joe Stephany. 19 Keiko Stephany. 20 Seychelle Carter.

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