New Caledonia Nationals 2011

First ever Kiwi success at New Caledonia Optimist Nationals! It has taken six years but finally a New Zealand competitor successfully claimed the New Caledonian Optimist National Championships held at SRC yacht club in Noumea. Patrick Haybittle, aged 12, from Naval Point Club and WaimakaririSailing and Powerboat Club, Canterbury, sailed withcalmness and consistency in heavy and light breezesthroughout the four days to comfortably win the regatta. Of the 15 races sailed, he won three and finished no worse than eighth including a Z flag penalty. Kiwi Sailors also collected prizes for first girl, Ava Mannering, from Napier finishing ninth and first 11 year old Henry Gautrey from Muritai, Wellington, who finished seventh overall. Blustery conditions on the first day gusting up to 25knots were tough work for the lighter team members. As the regatta progressed the breeze eased until on the last day it was a gentle shifty 5-7 knots.

Kiwi sailors attended the Oceanians in Noumea in 2004 and since 2005 New Zealand has sent a younger aged Development team to attend the New Caledonia Nationals. The Kiwi development team attended this regatta, with five 11 year olds and five 12 year olds selected from the 2010 Optimist Nationals. Most sailors showed marked improvement over the week of sailing every day in the warm clear waters off Noumea. Traveling to Noumea has provided a great training opportunity for many young kiwi Optimist sailors since it began.  For the last two years Briar Dye-Hutchinson has coached this traveling development team.

When not sailing the young sailors windsurfed off Anse Vata Beach with coach Briar, went snorkeling at Duck Island and enjoyed the French flavour of the city.  Prize-giving night ended on the beach at SRC with a pot luck barbeque, sampling seared tuna, and fresh prawns, ‘escargot and finishing off with gâteau and tart baked by the French Opti mums. Team Manager and proud dad Brian ensured there was much jubilation in the kiwi camp at Patrick’s success.

Team Manager Brian Haybittle would like to thank: SRC Yacht Club for hosting the event and making numerous optimists available for use, NZIODA for its support in helping provide awesome coach Brian Dye-Hutchinson. The shore crew of eight Kiwi Optimums, two Opti Dads and Patron Olive, who ensured the sailors were all fed, watered, hydrated, boats maintained so that the sailors could get on the water each day. North Sails, Slam, Kiwi Monograms and Sail One for helping us out with sails, uniforms and team spares.


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Rose Mannering and Brian Haybittle

Photo Credits: Brian Haybittle

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