Summary report for Girls Development Team Noumea 2022

It has been a privilege to support the 2022 NZ Girls Development Team consisting of Isla Barker (MBSC), Amelia Higson (KYC), Zara Scott (MBSC), Lucy Luxford (CBYC) Greta Hutton (MBSC) and Madi Russell  (MSC).
These six eager sailors of similar ages from the Auckland catchment and Christchurch, who were lucky enough to be selected for the girls development team, got to know each other during the training sessions leading up to the trip.  Excitement and anticipation was clearly evident from the girls when they met at the airport on route for New Caledonia.
On arrival we received our boats from the sailing club and the parents set out turning them into yachts that would feel like the girls own boats, before they hit the water for training.
The trade winds were ever present in the training days leading up to the regatta.  The girls got plenty of hiking practice while learning about the steep chop of the waves and the warm sailing conditions.  One of the highlights of the training days was spending the morning at a local school helping teach the students English.  The girls loved this experience. 
A welcome rest day prior to the regatta allowed the girls to spend a fabulous day snorkelling and tanning themselves on the beautiful Signal Island.  They all loved swimming with the many turtles in the shallow waters of the lagoon.
Race days commenced.  They were long with consistent high winds.  Five races were completed on each of the first three days with the race committee suspending racing daily to come to shore for a dedicated lunch break after the third race, a new experience for the team.  Overall 17 races were completed over the 4 days.  Competition was strong from the Australian, Tahitian and Noumean sailors. 
The girls experienced both highs and lows in a very competitive, large sailing fleet.  They all learnt so much over the 4 days of racing, with excellent coaching and support from Xanthe Copeland.   The girls had some brilliant results.  A special mention goes to Lucy Luxford for her two bullets and finishing 2nd girl overall.    All the team placed in the top half of the 70 boat fleet. 
The girls made the New Zealand contingent proud by performing a Maori Poi dance at the closing ceremony followed by trading a lot of NZ sailing gear with the female competitors from the other countries.  It certainly was a trip where friendships were made, brilliant memories were created, and their love of sailing was seen by all of the members of the girls’ team.  They all would recommend this trip to any other future sailors if the opportunity presented.
Jane Scott (Team Leader Girls Development Team)


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