Three of the five members of the NZL Optimist Worlds Team; Leonard
Takahashi Fry, Isaac McHardie, and Markus Somerville, are coming to the
end of a very successful international training tour. The tour was planned
to help prepare them for the Optimist World Championships in Napier this
The tour began in the Dominican Republic; the venue for the 2012
Optimist World Championships. Leonard & Isaac are hoping to make the
2012 worlds team next year, so it was a good opportunity for them to
check out the conditions. The three boys competed in a “pre-worlds”
regatta with good results. Isaac – 5th, Markus – 6th, and Leonard –
8th (fleet size 51). http://www.optiworlds2012.org/results/races.html
The regatta was followed with a clinic run by Martin Jenkins
(also an ex-opti world champ).
From there the team flew to Houston, Texas, for the USA National
Optimist Championships. Leonard won by a sizeable margin and sailed
very consistently. Markus too had a consistent regatta and finished 4th.
Isaac had to carry an OCS through to the medal series but still achieved
a commendable 13th. (fleet size 220 – but later split to gold ,silver &
The final destination on the tour was Pwllheli, Wales, where the team
competed in the British National Optimist Championships. All three sailors
were in the Senior Fleet. Markus won the qualifier series and seemed to
be in his groove, however fickle conditions on the final two days saw his
lead overtaken by Leonard. This makes it Leonard’s third National title in
a year – an outstanding achievement, and even more so as he’s still only
12 years old! Markus finished in 3rd, and Isaac finished in 5th place making
it a very successful regatta for the team (senior fleet size 136)
The team blog has been well maintained by the two dads; Rob Fry and
Scott McHardie and makes for very entertaining reading. Leonard’s mum;
Kasuyo also traveled with the team, and Markus’ Dad Mark (who lives in
Italy) came to watch the British Nationals. The team coach, Chris Steele
(2007 Optimist World Champ) flew home after Houston as he is part of the
RNZYS Lion Foundation scheme, so was unable to go on to the British Nats.
The team however was lucky enough to have a local sailor who coached
them in Wales.
Markus and Isaac are now on their way home to NZ, but Leonard is hoping
to continue his winning streak and is competing in the Japanese National
Championships before returning to NZ. All of the sailors have benefited
hugely from their experiences, and hope to pass on what they’ve learned
to fellow Worlds Team members William McKenzie and Nathaniel Deverell.
Here’s the blog: http://nzlworldsteam.blogspot.com/2011/07/training-tour-underway.html
And the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/OptiWorldsNZ-2011-NZL-Team/182848001768462