The event, hosted by the Aitutaki Sailing Club, took place just offshore from Motu E’e in the stunning Aitutaki lagoon.
Conditions were ideal and a steady breeze and slightly cloudy conditions prevailed for the three-day event. Competitors, officials and supporters camped on Motu E’e, providing a perfect base for sailors and supporters to view the racing.
The event started with a round-robin series of races that enabled officials to separate the sailors into three fleets – gold, silver and green.
Over the remaining two days each fleet of sailors competed in eight or nine races.
The gold fleet was very competitive. In particular, the top four sailors put on an entertaining demonstration of how to sail an Optimist in competition.
The battle between Terii Haurua from the Aitutaki Sailing Club, and Elizabeth Kenyon, Max McDonald and Griffin Wittwer from the Rarotonga Sailing Club was intriguing as the lead switched multiple times during races.
Often it was a race to the finish line from the last buoy-rounding, and came down to tactics as sailors tacked and counter-tacked to cover their opponents.
In the end, Kenyon took first place winning five of the nine races. Second place went to Wittwer, with Haurua and McDonald finishing third equal.
In the silver fleet, Rarotongan sailor Phoenix Clayton swept the field, winning six out of his eight races, often dominating the start and holding the lead to the finish line.
The rest of the fleet fought hard for their placings with Marama Ioane from the Aitutaki Sailing Club finishing second, narrowly holding out Theo Cooling from the Rarotonga Sailing Club who came third.
Reed Brotherton from the Rarotonga Sailing Club showed amazing stamina and endurance in the green fleet to win over clubmates Max Heuz and Reuben Brotherton.
Only six points separated the top three sailors in this fleet. Supporters and officials recognized the huge improvement in skills and confidence gained by sailors who competed in the green fleet.
A special meitaki atupuka goes out to the competitors, officials, coaches, supporters, parents and sponsors who helped make this event so memorable for all.
- Rarotonga Sailing Club/ Matt Easterbrook