Optimist North Island Champs: Kiwi first, Australia second

Scott McKenzie, 2013 North Island Optimist Champion
Angus Haslett

The final day of the Optimist North Islands got underway in the continued light conditions of 4-6knots so it was a true day for good clear thinking and strategic sailing.

It was a Kiwi, Scott McKenzie from Kohimarama Yacht Club in the Gold Fleet who led the way with a great display of skill in reading the shifts and good boat speed in the conditions, taking two firsts to pull away from Australian Otto Henry to take the title by three points.

Third place also went to Australia with Alexander Higgins keeping the next Kiwi sailor, Jackson Keon at bay, but just by one point. The day opened up the fleet a bit as sailors looked for consistency in the conditions and it was full credit to the race management team in getting four races in allowing all sailors to take two drops.

The Silver Fleet were also able to take four races through to add to their results and a very good finish by Jonathon Barnett from Tauranga saw him take first place followed by Tasmin Van Bergen from Napier in second with Campbell Rickard from Australia taking third place.

The Green Fleet took full advantage of the light conditions and they too sailed outside of the breakwater giving some excellent spectator viewing from the cliffs above. Henry Angus from Kohimarama was a comfortable winner taking a total of four firsts in the regatta and he led Jack Culloty from Maraetai into second place and Matthew Ross from Glendowie who placed third. It was good to see a strong Green Fleet of 34 sailors and this bodes well for the summer ahead.

New Plymouth Yacht Club did a tremendous job hosting the regatta and with the first of the four major NZIODA regattas now completed we look forward to seeing the fleet build in both skill and confidence as the season progresses. The Auckland Champs in late January are the next ranking regatta.