Takahashi-Fry wins 2011 Toyota Optimist Nationals

Leonard Takahashi-Fry lightens the load on the final day of the 2011 Toyota Optimist Nationals, Wakatere Boating Club, Auckland

Murray's Bay Sailing Club's Leonard Takahasi-Fry has won the 2011 Toyota National Optimist Championships, sailed at Auckland's Wakatere Boating Club on the city's North Shore.

Sailed under overcast skies, which turned to constant rain for the final race, and a fresh onshore breeze, the 310 competitors from five Oceania Sailing Federation (OSAF) nations had a tough final day for the event - the largest single class regatta ever held in New Zealand.

The final race results have not yet been posted at the time of writing, however Takahashi-Fry had the contest sewn up with a race to sail, possibly more.

Further down the fleet the picture is not so clear, with just 10pts separating the next five boats, and while the focus is on who will be the National Champion, the interest also lies with those who will make up the teams for the 2011 World Championships and the other international regattas attending by young New Zealand sailors.

Part of the success story of New Zealand sailing has been the policy of the Optimist Association in sending groups of young sailors away - with the proviso that no sailor can sail in more than one regatta. In this way the representation and experience is spread around.

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Today was the most miserable of the regatta, for those at the top of the points table the focus was again on consistent sailing, not making a starting error, and getting a top three place in one of the three fleets competing in the Open Championship.

With today being ANZAC Day, there was no sailing before noon, and that is when the first warning signal sounded. The principal race officer was under some pressure to get three races underway, and had the constraint of not being allowed to fly a warning signal after 3.00pm.

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At 2.20pm the decision was taken to start the third race of the day, which would have bought the series up to the full program. The first flight got away cleanly. The second, now with a strong ebb tide pushing them over the start line, managed to have a general recall with eight minutes left on the clock. By our reckoning the PRO just made the 3.00pm deadline for the warning flags for the third flight, however no doubt that will be questioned by some.

The way the points table stood after 13 races, two competitors were tied on 38pts for the fourth and fifth places in the World team, with a sixth competitor just two points behind.

We will carry an updated report when it comes to hand.

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For full results in the Open Fleet http://www.wakatere.org.nz/Results/2011%20OptiNats/OptiNtsOpn.html!click_here and in the Green Fleet http://www.wakatere.org.nz/Results/2011%20OptiNats/OptiNtsGrn.html!click_here

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