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Youngsters shine in sailing series

Tuesday July 03, 2018 Written by Published in Other Sports
Max McDonald won the ‘optimist’ class on Saturday, June 23, edging out seven competitors to claim the victory. PHOTO: Rarotonga Sailing Club. 18070260 Max McDonald won the ‘optimist’ class on Saturday, June 23, edging out seven competitors to claim the victory. PHOTO: Rarotonga Sailing Club. 18070260

Muri lagoon was filled with yachts of all shapes and sizes on June 23, as the inaugural Sea Change Villas Super Series organised by the Rarotonga Sailing Club began.

Four different classes of yachts participated in the first of five races, set to run over three consecutive Saturdays.

Despite light winds, competition was fierce out on the water. In the vaka class, Barry Warner and David Holt got over the finish line first, followed closely by Craig Bennett and John Batty, with Tony and Peter Heays finishing in third place.

“It is fabulous to see so many boats and sailors on the lagoon competing and showing off the skills they have learnt in training,” said Rarotonga Sailing Club commodore Craig Bennett.

There were two yachts in the sunburst class, with Rick Hickling winning the start and leading all the way over two competitors visiting from New Zealand.

“It is great to have the juniors honing their practical skills, experimenting with strategies, and applying race rules as they competed in the same space as bigger and faster boats,” said Junior Club coach John Batty.

Two young sailors both competed in the BIC class. Angus Anderson took the start and maintained his lead to finish before Kohl Horton, who had recently returned from the New Zealand National Team Sailing Championships.

Horton and his teammates produced some outstanding results at that tournament. Horton fought hard to bridge the gap between him and Anderson, but just couldn’t close it.

“Frankly, I think the senior sailors have enjoyed the enthusiasm and competitiveness the younger salts have shown and it is only day one,” said Bennett.

“The young sailors handled these challenges commendably. This interaction will prepare them for the upcoming National Optimist competition and their next steps into bigger boats,” said Batty.

The optimist class had the largest fleet, with seven competitors keen to take the win.

Sheldon Miner got to the start line first, but at the first mark Griffin Wittwer had taken the lead. Wittwer maintained his lead up until the final leg, where he was overtaken by Max McDonald. Third place went to George Newman, who stayed close to the leaders for the entire race.

“The skills these young people have learnt in a really short period of time will serve them well throughout their lives – and not just on the water,” said Bennett.

“As for the older sea salts, let’s just say there is some obvious room for improvement at the back of the fleet.”

The Sea Change Villas Super Series continues this coming Saturday at 12.30pm, just out from Sails Restaurant. The current forecast is for stronger winds which will make for entertaining viewing. Spectators are welcome.

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