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Monday 23 January 2012 | Published in Regional

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The journey to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics continues for Cook Islands sailors who are now gathered in New Zealand for a number of regattas across the country.

Taua Elisa and Aquila Tatira have arrived in New Zealand after Elisa coached Tatira through his races at the Australian National Youth Radial Class Championships where the young Aitutaki sailor placed 15th overall.

The Australian regatta was Tatiras first two in the laser radial class in his first season sailing in the laser division.

Tatira and Elisa are now in Wellington where they have joined female sailing sensation Helema Williams.

The trio will race in the New Zealand National Laser Championships at Worser Bay before they head north for the Sail Auckland Regatta.

In Auckland the trio will join up with fellow national sailor Teau McKenzie who has been back home on Rarotonga for the school holidays.

While most teenagers were no doubt soaking up the sun and relaxing McKenzie has been putting in some long hours on the water with sailing coach Junior Charlie.

Most days, the pair can be spotted over the reef working on their sailing technique and skills.

While Helema Williams and Taua Elisa have real chances of qualifying for the London Olympics this year Tatira and McKenzie are looking further ahead to 2013 where they will sail in the laser class at the Pacific Mini Games to be hosted by Wallis and Futuna.

For Junior Charlie, his sailing focus has switched to coaching with the aim of one day becoming a national sailing coach and has already taught hundreds of Rarotonga school children the ropes on an Optimist sailing boat.

Sailing Cook Islands would like to thank Don Manning and the members of the Worser Bay Yacht Club for billeting the local sailors as well as the support of the Cook Islands community in Wellington and the Cook Islands Consulate.