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Tuesday 13 March 2012 | Published in Regional


Aitutaki lagoon has been proving its worth as a world class sailing training venue over the past week as national sailors Helema Williams and Taua Elisa sharpen up their sailing skills ahead of their final Olympic qualifying event in April.

The pair are being put through their paces by new national coach Ben Paton as part of the sailing academy programme that will run for the next seven weeks. Williams and Elisa have had big long sailing trips from Ootu beach to One Foot Island and cruising around Motu Rakau as well as the international sailing course set out around the Aitutaki lagoon.

Eighteen knot winds on one of their sailing training days provided a great opportunity for working on their upwind sailing skills with coach Paton pushing the national sailors to pull out everything they had.

Off water training is also part of the sailing academy training and Sailing Cook Islands’ Anne Tierney reports that Williams and Elisa are working extremely hard under Paton and enjoying learning new techniques.

In between all the hard work there is time for a few brief distractions including spearfishing – the team say that all the wading in the water is all part of their resistance work out!