January 13-16, Eastern Beach, Willow Park Camp, Auckland
At this year’s 4 day ‘live in’ clinic there were 71 sailors ranging from 9 years to 14 yrs old. There were 4 sailors from Noumea and the rest from all over the country including 12 from the South Island.
The group was made up of 23 girls and 48 boys. The large group had loads of fun and many new friendships were made.
The sailors were seeded into 6 groups with each group having 2 coaches with 1 coach from each moving groups each day to spread their skills throughout the sailors. The coaches again were of very high standard. Lead by Andrew Wills of North Sails. New Zealands most experienced Optimist coach.NZIODA imported Martin Jenkins, 2 times world Optimist champion to coach at the clinic and then to travel the country to take the regional clinics. Martin gave good talks and covered a lot of technical points of racing at a high level at each clinic. There were 4 international coaches and 10 of our top local coaches to pass on their knowledge to the Opti sailors. Every single sailor learned more about yacht racing and preparation, probably more than they realize.
Each day started with the fitness session ‘like it or not’. John Lythe from Performance Parameters ‘olympic fitness coach’ really cranked the kids up with new exercises and very useful talks on stretches, diets and preparation. Everyone definitely went home fitter than when they arrived. Each evening the kids had some inspirational talks. Simon Cooke spoke on how he prepares and his mental focus for contests. Also great talks from John Lythe on fitness. Andrew Wills, Opti regattas and Martin Jenkins, Opti worlds.
The weather again this year was near perfect. Generally light with the exception of the last day, the regatta day. A gusty 20 knot breeze and choppy seas saw a few of the smaller sailors coming in after race 2, mostly running out of energy after the big week. In the last race start the coaches were having trouble holding back the fired up sailors so they pulled out the black flag and started sending the premature starters to the beach. It ended up almost half the fleet!! This Shows how keen they all were to get a good start and win. There were some very mixed up results due to the huge shifts off the land. The regatta was won by Alice Noyer.
A big thankyou to all the parents who supported the clinic with parent help at the camp, organising and delivering boats and gear, also some hosting overseas sailors. This year we also had several companies generously giving us sailing gear and hats for the prizegiving. Thanks to North Sails, NZ sail.com and Helly Hansen for their support.
The group of sailors this year have learnt more good skills for the up and coming regattas the busy Optimist schedule has to offer. There are a lot of very talented young sailors coming through who we will see popping out at the front of fleets throughout the country. Next January we hope to see a lot of this group again and more new up and coming Opti racers.
Nigel Rippey – Clinic organiser