From January 4th - 11th Mornington Yacht Club held the 2014 AIODA International Optimist Australian & Open Championships. The regatta was a major success and was enjoyed by all sailors of all ages. As well as being a fun and family friendly regatta, it also showcased the pinnacle of junior youth sailing in Australia. With over 340 entries it is the biggest ever single class regatta to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. A huge thank you to everyone involved in organising and making the event run so smoothly.
The final day of the Optimist North Islands got underway in the continued light conditions of 4-6knots so it was a true day for good clear thinking and strategic sailing and it was a Kiwi, Scott McKenzie from Kohimarama Yacht Club in the Gold Fleet, who led the way with a great display of skill in reading the shifts and good boat speed in the conditions, taking two firsts to pull away from Australian Otto Henry to take the title by three points. Third place also went to Australia with Alexander Higgins keeping the next Kiwi sailor, Jackson Keon at bay, but just by one point.
Day two of the North Island Optimist Champs dawned grey and overcast with a light drizzle and no wind. As the morning progressed the rain set in and any chance of wind disappeared so PRO Gerald Martin made a great call and postponed racing for three hours. By 1.00pm the sky had lightened and a light westerly breeze was enough for both the Open and Green Fleet to be sent out. The conditions were very light and the sea state choppy making the sailing a real challenge and it was the Australians who led the way with some excellent results.
The NZIODA North Island Champs commenced in light and shifty conditions for the Open Fleet in New Plymouth. With over 100 entries the fleet has been split into two and it was with a great deal of skill PRO Gerald Martin completed three races in the qualifying series before the end of the day. As you can imagine the results reflect the tricky conditions and no clear leaders can be established as yet though, all who have finished within the top 10-15 have a chance of taking out the event.