Saturday 22 October 2011 | Published in Regional
Forty keen sailors from Aitutaki and Rarotonga Sailing Clubs attended the annual Boat Shed Regatta in Aitutaki last weekend, competing in Optimist Gold and Green fleets and Laser classes.
Racing took place in highly testing conditions on the lagoon, with winds gusting up to 25 knots.
Everyone competed superbly and it was great to see children and youths from the ages of 7 to 20 (plus a senior of indeterminate age go Mattius!) honing their skills over the two-day event.
Green fleet Opti sails were reefed down to enable the juniors to compete in the exacting winds, whilst the more experienced Gold Fleeters raced with full rigs.
All sailors astounded the race committees with their tenacity in righting their boats, carrying on with a smile after many unintended capsizes.
Green Fleeters, all of whom were racing in their very first regatta, were seen to improve without exception over the two days.
The race committee were impressed with their ability to understand the course and sail it well.
In the Gold Fleet, the full rigs proved difficult to handle for some sailors, but they also all showed a marked improvement in race technique and tactics over the two days.
It was great to see the young sailors so enthusiastic to get further hints and tips from the club coaches after the first days sailing, with Junior Charlie almost mobbed by eager questioning in the church hall on Friday evening.
Vanic you can keep your hat on Teina, at 13 years old, was the youngest in the Laser fleet and had some great starts (and just as great flips) alongside much more senior and experienced racers including Olympic hopefuls Taua Elisa and Helema Williams.
Tanus cool dude Henry capsized his laser just 30 seconds from one start time and even made it to the start line on time.
It wasnt only the sailors that sometimes had the odd soaking volunteers on the committee and safety boats for the fleets sat in the rain scoring contestants, or zoomed through the swells with spray in their faces to assist and coach the young sailors.
In addition, Del I think Ill go for a swim Bewg fell out of the Green Fleet committee boat after an altercation with a chilly bin, much to the amusement of his young charges.
Our galley slaves cooked up a storm to provide energy giving hot food throughout the regatta and boy, was every one hungry.
Finally, exhausted but happy youngsters tucked into the fish and chips provided by Alan and Maria of The Boat Shed after the winners announcements and prizegiving ceremony on Saturday evening.
Results: Green Fleet Christmas (ASC), Makua Nikoia (RSC), Michael (ASC), Gold Fleet Duane George (ASC), Dean Tetuaeteroi (ASC), Titi Kaukura (ASC), Laser Fleet Taua Elisa (RSC), Aquila Tatira (ASC), Tanus Henry (RSC).