Some 220 young sailors from 50 countries are gathering in Napier, New Zealand ahead of the Optimist world championship, which is due to kick off on December 30.


Sailors enjoy a challenging day of racing at the Harken Invitational - photo Matias Capizzano

Harken invitational
The Harken Invitational Regatta, which started on December 28, provides an ideal warm-up for the worlds. Some 214 sailors from 33 different countries headed out to sea for the first day of the regatta, which offered challenging racing due to the varied wind and wave conditions. .

The provisional results at the end of the first day left Chilean male Francisco Ducasse leading overall after the first four races, with the first female sailor, Justina Pacheco from the Dominican Republic, also lying second overall, and Rodrigo Luz from Brazil third.

After a slight delay due the last minute sign up from a large number of sailors, the weather was perfect for a good day sailing, with 8-10 knots of sea breeze to start. After race two the wind picked up as predicted to 15-18 knots, making for some rough sailing with a nasty chop at times. As a result, many on the race committee boats suffered from seasickness delaying the processing of results and testing the race processes in the lead up to the OptiWorlds.