The fourth day of racing has come to a close at the Toyota Optimist Nationals at Wakatere BC and Leonard Takahashi-Fry of Murrays Bay BC has a reasonable buffer between himself and the next contender. In second place is Isaac McHardie of Hamilton with a seven points on Bay of Islands sailor Nathaniel Deverall.
Between third and fifth there’s a whole lot of shaking going on with positions changing after each race, the remaining three positions in the NZ World Championship team are still up for grabs with one day of racing to come.
With eleven races in hand, a second dropped race (taking out the sailor’s worst 2 scores) comes into play. For those with ‘catastrophies’ earlier in the piece, this provides a chance to redeem themselves, including a big come-back from top ranked Markus Somerville, Wakatere BC, – moving from 11th to 4th on the leaderboard. “I’m back” was his comment to the coach after winning three of his four races today.
Also very much in the running are William McKenzie of Kohimarama, Tim Adair of Wakatere BC, George Gautry of Muritai and Trent Rippey of Tauranga.
This was the second of two days with four races in the Open fleet which is quite demanding for the competitors, but necessary after loosing the first day of racing due to a lack of wind. Conditions were reasonably steady, the wind continued to blow from the north-east, during race three it dropped to 5 – 8 knots but in the remaining races was around 10 – 15 knots. The tide changed at midday and remains bit of a mystery for many of the young sailors.
The Green fleet had another two races today, race officer Kim Admore runs a fairly relaxed ship for the inexperienced sailors and his briefings each morning are educational and create a fun atmosphere. Today the top three in 105 boat fleet are Henry Gibbs of Queen Charlotte YC, Vaitea Delvallet of Tahiti and James Grover-Grey of Wakatere BC.
Two races are scheduled for the last day of racing which will begin after midday as a mark of respect for Anzac Day, conditions may be difficult as a ridge of low pressure system moves across the north of the country bringing with it 5 – 25 knot northerly easterly wind and heavy rain.