Ten New Zealand Optimist sailors, as part of the 2013 New Zealand International Optimist Association Development Team, aged between 10 and 12 years old from throughout the country, spent ten days in Noumea training then competing in the New Caledonian Optimist Nationals – a four day regatta – held in Noumea.
Extended periods above 20 knots tested the sailors and several of the NZ team made the most of the opportunity, however William Shapland from Kohi Yacht Club (12) was the most consistent of the sailors and sailed strongly, managing the steady breeze well and tactically out-thinking his nearest rival, local Benjamin Maire, to take the title, making it four years in a row for a kiwi sailor to win in New Caledonia. At times the conditions favoured the heavier sailors so it was with sheer effort and determination that William kept himself in contention. William has continued a Shapland tradition of sailing in Noumea with his father Mark having also sailed in the regatta. Albert Stanley (12) from Worser Bay finished in third place after also sailing strongly and improving throughout the regatta. Nina Mannering (10) and Alice Haslett (12) also took to the podium finishing second and third girl respectively. Max Gibbs was also a very strong performer with gear failure taking him out of contention for a podium position in the final race. All ten sailors can be well proud of their achievements, under the outstanding guidance of coaches Briar Dye-Hutchinson and Ellie Copeland with all having significantly improved their sailing skills.
Sailors attending: William Shapland, Albert Stanley, Max Gibbs, Robbie McCutcheon, Nick Mannering, Nina Mannering, Scott Morrison, Dion Houston, Alice Haslett and Matthew Bayley.