OPTIMIST TEAMS RACING NATIONALS
The teams nationals were great fun plus excellent for honing those skills, boat handling, rules and plenty of urgency and aggression on the race course. Gerald assisted by Nick Hazzard set the course as close in as possible to the club house for spectator viewing, and to try to minimize the tide. Forecasted breeze was a bit slow arriving which made initial racing difficult.
The newly formed teams battled it out on an international/worlds format. Two courses were operating, the A course for the top club teams and a B course with Dave Johnson and Murray’s Bay crew running a round robin for the international teams, and the spill over of the club teams.
It was also good practice for the race management crews getting ready for the Napier Worlds. The breeze picked up during the day, making it easier to beat the tide and get through the racing.
John Bullot beefed up the umpiring crew to a high standard to allow top teams racing.
By the time we were getting to the business end of the competition there were some excellent examples of teams turning around a losing combination in the last 50 metres to the finish for victory.
It was great to see the enthusiasm of Murrays Bay and Napier who both fielded four teams each with sailors at all levels entering into the spirit of optimist teams racing.
The semi-finals were a match up of Napier 1, Kohimara 1, Tauranga 1 and Wakatere.
In the final battle Wakatere and Tauranga both wanted the win. There were some great boat on boat duels which had the judges watching closely. All three races came down to which team could manage to stay in a winning combination on the last beat.
The Tauranga team of Trent Rippey (captain), Cole Rippey, Zak Merton and Dylan McKinlay came through as the NZ National Teams Racing Champions for 2011 with 2 wins from 3 races in the final.
In the grudge match Australia versus NZ disaster struck in the second race of three with a lost sprit right at the crucial moment. Tauranga held the winning combination on the last beat with the finish line in sight. This put Tauranga sailors off their game for the next race ensuring a win for our “friends” across the Tasman.