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Challenging is the only way to describe this year’s Optimist Nationals in Picton. A substantial cold snap swept the race course throughout the regatta, and temperatures reached as low as 5 degrees. But the challenge didn’t stop there; our sailors were put to the test physically and mentally with 40 – 50 degree wind shifts and an average wind speed of 5 knots with big 15 knot gusts. These conditions meant that keeping your head out of the boat was essential, as picking the gusts and the shifts could easily be the difference between first and last.

Nationals were all of our sailors’ first time racing in Picton harbour with the stunning hills as a backdrop. The team learned so much, and the challenging conditions and big fleets put all their training from coaching back home into perspective. One sailor who excelled was Sean Poon. Sean led White Fleet until the regatta’s final race, where he believed he was over on the start and falsely went back, dropping him into 2nd overall; still a fantastic result!

Nic Segers qualified for Gold Fleet and sailed exceptionally well, putting away a few top-15 races. Congratulations to all of our sailors. Seeing you all learn so much and make so many new friends from around New Zealand, Australia and Rarotonga was fantastic. Optimist Nationals is always such a special event where the kids get together and make memories that last a lifetime. Thank you to QCYC for a great regatta and for going the extra mile to put on an Easter egg hunt on Sunday and creating such a fantastic atmosphere. Not only did the sailors have a great time, but so did our parents, who enjoyed everything Picton had to offer, from fishing, stunning walks, oysters and even a wine tour! Thank you so much to all the parents who gave up their Easter to come and support our team.

Travelling to new parts of the country for regattas offers our sailors an excellent opportunity to experience new conditions, see new places, make friends and learn lots! These events are so worthwhile attending, and we look forward to returning to Picton in February 2025 with our Optimist Race Squad for their ranking regatta. Well done, everyone, especially coach Maria, for all her hard work with the team over the last few months and her expert coaching out on the water throughout the entire regatta!

Full Results