Day 4 served up absolutely brilliant trade wind conditions and hot sunny skies that everyone who has been here before had told us about. 18 plus knots of breeze, swells with chop, brilliant fun and hard work at the same time.
Overall it was tight at the top of the boy’s leaderboard between Blake Duncan and local sailors Thibaut Hauet and Jules Humez. At the same time, Charlotte Handley held a comfortable lead in the girls.
It all came down to the final race with Blake Duncan taking the race out only to find that he had been over at the start, had a ufd on the scoreboard, and eventually finished 3rd overall. Charlotte took out the girls while Liam was 3rd in the Junior boys fleet.
After racing the shore teams swung into action with boats derigged and stripped and put back to their original if not better condition for the hosts. Everyone then rushed back to the hotel for showers etc and to get ready for the closing ceremony.
Everyone was back at the club for the prize-giving at 17.30 and then the fun began for the evening. Not only the usual standard speeches, prizes etc, but, photobooths, jugglers, unicycles and a Cirque du Soleil swing show to boot. We really need to look at how we do our prize givings in New Zealand after this event!
While the kids were looked after with burgers and chips and a discotech. The parents were catered for with a keg of beer, wine, rum punch and local delicacies to munch on. A great night was had by all.
Sadly, everything has to come to an end. The regatta had a huge variety of conditions that at some stage served up everyone’s favoured conditions, making it a very fair regatta overall and a reflection of where our team are skill-wise.
It was fantastic to see the development of the team throughout the week and the change of mindset and ability of the sailors to adapt and be positive even when things were not working out well was a highlight of the trip.
A special thanks to our NZIODA coaches, Xanthe, Olivia, Blake, Sam and Craig. You guys have been absolutely brilliant throughout the year and we wish you the very best in your future ventures.
To the sailors. You guys have represented New Zealand in the Kiwi tradition by being fair, and humble, giving it absolutely everything and never giving it up. Your parents are all so proud of you. For some of you, I know that this was your last Opti regatta and leaving Noumea may have been bittersweet. You have left a legacy to be proud of and go forward confidently to your next venture knowing that you have achieved and been part of something special.
All of our sailors, coaches and parents should be extremely proud of their efforts and commitment over the last 7 months. It’s been a privilege to have been part of this team knowing that the friends and experiences we had together will last a lifetime.
Grant Currie – NZ Development Team Parent