The 2012 interislander Optimist Challenge combined with the two day South Island Optimist Champs was the biggest single fleet regatta outside of the Optimist Nationals held in the South Island.
91 entries in the Open fleet and 33 in the Green fleet, three days of great racing on the sparkling waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Breeze of up to 18 knots on the first day, up to 15 knots on the 2nd and the last day was one for the light wind specialists, 5-7 knots. Most sailors agreed that there was a good balance of conditions for everyone.
The interislander is always a three day event as a NZIODA ranking regatta and the South Island Optimist Champs was scored from the races on Saturday and Sunday. Up for grabs was the interislander Optimist Challenge Trophy awarded to the 'best island', this time back to the South Island after the scores taken from the combined age group score including the Green Fleet.
Sailors came from as far south as Dunedin and Wanaka and from North of Auckland. Good growth from the South Island Opti fleet was evident from the good numbers from the far South and top performances from the front runners from Queen Charlotte, Christchurch and Timaru.
Leonard Takahashi-Fry continued his dominance of recent Opti events and shows his experience from the multitude of quality regattas he has attended. Leonard was very consistent in all conditions and while other sailors shared the race wins, consistency always wins. He won both the interislander and the South Island Champs by a large margin.
Kim Buchanan of Charteris Bay was 2nd and Lola Stoodley of Timaru was third in the interislander. The South Island Champs saw Lola in 2nd place and won the Trophy for the 'Ist South Islander', Kim Buchanan was third.
The Green Fleet was lead by rising star Oliver Cowley of QCYC, 2nd was Albert Stanley of Worser Bay and Alice Overend of QCYC was third. See the complete set of results at www.qcyc.org.nz
Optimist numbers have declined in the recent major regattas and the increase in this one proves the formula and location is right for Class growth and top competition for both Island's sailors.
The ever growing use of the QCYC website was evident by the numbers constantly viewing the results and entry lists. By the day after the regatta, more than 1500 hits had been recorded on the results site. Comment was often made that viewers could see the preliminary results before some of the spectators worked out where their sailors were.
A point of difference for the interislander is the popular 'Taste of Marlborough' held after the 1st days racing. The best wines from Spy Valley and Auntsfield, food from Nelson Ranger and NZ King Salmon, plus local scallops and olive oil, mopped up with Picton Bakkerij breads were demolished with relish in the warm Summer evening.
The real cannon going off to signal the start of the regatta gave the first time sailors and parents something to remember too.
The interislander attracts a talented panel of International and National Jury each year. The Jury, Chaired by John Bullot, and assisted by Peter and Kay Johnston of the UK, also included Alisdair Daines of Nelson and Clive Ballet of Waikawa. There was only time for one coffee this year at Lochmara Lodge, just off the race track, as the racing was so consistent, the jury members coffee cards will have to wait
A huge thank you to all the regatta Sponsors, especially interislander and Port Marlborough. Marlborough District Council, Sail One, Force Racing, Naiad Inflatables and many others added to the sponsors list to provide goods and services for success.
Likewise the Team of volunteers, particularly from other Clubs, the Murrays Bay mark layers, Napier and Wellington Club members on the Committee boats, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club appreciates the willingly offered help.
The Club members put in hours of work and a huge thank you too, to each and every one. Article by Rob Burn- QCYC