Windsurfing: Pair catch wind of success

It was double celebration time for the Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club after two of their talented young members won national titles last weekend.

Alex Hart and Coral Headey took out their respective divisional titles at the RS:X, Techno and Formula Windsurfing National Championships held at Manly Sailing Club in Auckland.

Hart, 16, won RS:X Youth and Headey won the Girls Under-17 title at the tender age of 14. Both had recently made the transition into these divisions.

Hart switched to the Olympic RS:X Youth class for Under-19s in the past three months and Headey entered into the Under-17 division with a 7.8m rig for the first time, after she competed last week in the Under-15 division at Junior Sail Auckland.

She has learnt quickly as she took the Under-17 title in style when she won the last race. All of her eight races counted in the high-scoring series were in the top 10. This put her 27 points ahead of her nearest rival, adding to her recent win in Noumea.

Another sailor from Tauranga, Josh McConnell, finished a well-earned third in the Boys Under-17 division while his father, Daryl, competed in the Formula class.

Conditions at Manly were ideal for windsurfing with mainly blue skies, blue seas and a variable 10-15 knot breeze, gusting to 18 on the first day and dropping at times to five knots on the last day, although the off-shore breeze presented the sailors with some tricky tactical sailing as they played the game of Snakes and Ladders searching for the gusts and lifts, while avoiding the lulls and knocks across the patchy course.

Consistent results throughout the nine-race regatta series were vitally important, especially in the biggest fleet of 22 Technos which included a team of seven from New Caledonia and a South American champion from Brazil. The RS:X fleet enjoyed the company of two sailors from Korea and one from New Caledonia, all of whom had served their apprenticeships on the Techno and had moved up to the RS:X.

Hart is now the third Tauranga sailor in a row to win the RS:X Youth Nationals, following Bradley Nixon last year and Sven Pedersen the year before.

The nationals were part of his build-up to selection trials at the end of March for the ISAF Youth World Championships and Headey is focusing on her training and campaigning hard to raise the funds to go to the Techno World Championships in Poland in July.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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