Sailors third at tropical regatta

Marlborough sailors nab third place

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2014

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A team of Marlborough sailors selected to compete at the South Pacific Teams Regatta in the Cook Islands has secured a third-place finish.

The Marlborough Girls' College sailors returned home on Tuesday after seven days in Rarotonga, where they competed against sailors from New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

Normally just one or two sailors from each school are selected to take part, but the seven students impressed regatta founder Ross Sutherland so much they all won a place.

Team manager Felicity Loncar said the team did really well and gained invaluable experience from competing.

But the week-long event, which started last Sunday, wasn't all about racing, Loncar said. "It included coaching sessions and sightseeing around the island."

The girls worked well as a team and adapted to the conditions on the island, including a lot of shifting winds that made sailing difficult, Loncar said.

The girls' team was made up of three boats and they competed head-to-head against other teams, she said.

Sailors not only had to be aware of their position on the course, but also the position of their team-mates, which made for highly tactical sailing.

The girls enjoyed spending time with the sailors from the Cook Islands and learnt a lot from them.

"They are amazing sailors and after seeing the amazing conditions they have to sail in, we all now understand why.

"I would be out on the water every day too if it was so warm and beautiful," Loncar said.

The team had time to walk the popular The Needle track, which had them scrambling on all fours at times. "The view at the top made the effort worth it, it was amazing to see the island from so high up and we realised just how small it really was," she said.

Every opportunity was taken to swim and snorkel in the turquoise waters, Loncar said.

The regatta was founded in 2004 as a way of developing junior team racing in New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands.

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- The Marlborough Express

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