The Optimist National Championships 2023 held on Muri Lagoon saw sailors under the age of 16 and a fleet of 11 Optimists and four ‘Jellybeans’ (Plastic Optimists) competing.
The event which is considered the pinnacle youth event on the sailing calendar was held on Friday and Saturday, November 10 and 11.
Racing commenced on Friday with three races in some very light winds of 4-5 knots. This made for a tricky start to the regatta and the sailors, and the race committee alike, were pleased to see a consistent 10-14 knot breeze arrive on Saturday morning with a full day of racing scheduled. With the steady breeze in place the race officer was able to get a further nine races completed to make a 12-race series.
During the lunch break and with eight races completed, Edmund Postrzygacz had a narrow four-point lead in the Optimist Fleet with Mia Fenwick and John Hoff chasing in second and third. However, after lunch Postrzygacz showed great composure to win the final four races to close out the series win. Fenwick and Hoff then finished on equal points with the former taking second place on the tie-break and the latter taking out third place.
Meanwhile in the Jellybean fleet Tamahahe Tisam had stretched out to an 11-point lead at the break and was looking comfortable for a regatta win. But the afternoon belonged to Jiro Daniel who finished his day with three firsts and a second to climb to second overall. Tisam remained in first place and Klaasje Nia followed in third.
With the support of the Bank of the Cook Islands, these sailors also recently competed in the BCI Regatta, a seven-day sailing camp in Aitutaki in October, where they sharpened their skills ahead of the National Championships. It is great to see these sailors continuing to raise the standard of sailing and really push each other in the national event this year and there are “big things coming” as Club coach Jacobo Miquel would say.
Full regatta results are available on the Rarotonga Sailing Club Facebook page. The Club is now looking forward to more programmes and events in 2024 to support sailing in the Cook Islands. Anyone interested in sailing can make contact with club.
- Chris Fenwick/Rarotonga Sailing Club