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Saturday 27 August 2011 | Published in Regional


Team Cook Islands sailors are settled in and researching the competition area in New Caledonia for the Pacific Games to gain as much knowledge as possible before start of competition on Monday.

With a long competition ahead of them, a quick look at weather forecasts for the games period appears to indicate a range of weather conditions from 10 to 30 knots maybe over the wind strength for competition depending on sea conditions.

The sailing squad is the established team of Taua Elisa and Junior Charlie in the mens laser standard, Helema Williams and Teau McKenzie in the womens laser radial. Aquila Tatira and Tanus Henry will race in the Hobie cats with Laura Baldwin travelling as team coach and Peter Tierney travelling as team manager and Hobie reserve.

The team is enjoying being together again as Elisa and Williams have been away since June competing in Europe. McKenzie has been at school in NZ and during a quick return to Rarotonga for the holidays in July picked up a silver in the Oceania Single Handed Youth Championships 2011 in the Laser 4.7.

Junior Charlie returned to Rarotonga after competing in the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland, and the Skandia Regatta on the Olympic Course in Weymouth, England.

Helema Williams and Taua Elisa continued to the Kiel Week Regatta and to Denmark for experience as part of their bid for Olympic representation, and of course a terrific build up for these games.

The main competition in the mens Lasers will be from Matthiu Frei of New Caledonia and Jesse Besson from Tahiti both are seasoned campaigners with Frei being a former European champion.

As each of these young men have had opportunity for experience since the last games its going to be very competitive, but of course no one is discounting any of the other sailors of unknown quality.

Helema Williams and Teau McKenzie are looking forward to the sailing races with a lot of enthusiasm a performance with consistent good results in what looks like varying weather conditions will be key to success.

For Aquila Tatira and Tanus the application of concentration and physical fitness against the excellent skill sets of Tahiti, Fiji and especially New Caledonia, who are world quality competitors, will be a challenge and one that these two very young competitors are really up for.

Competition runs from August 10 to September 9, with September 1, 4 and 5 scheduled as lay days.

The sailing fraternity of the Cook Islands is proud of the personal commitment these young sailors have put into training and fundraising go hard Kia Toa!