Transitioning from youth sailing classes to Olympic classes is a big focus for youngsters competing in the inaugural Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta hosted by Murrays Bay Sailing Club this weekend.
Young sailors are using the three-day event to trial new crew combinations and move into Olympic classes in an environment which puts sailors of all levels together on the race track.
Moving into the 49er skiff has been a smooth progression for 18-year-old Oscar Gunn who has paired up with Nick Egnot-Johnson for this event following the Aon Youth Sailing World Championships where he raced the classes younger sibling, the 29er skiff alongside Francesco Kayrouz just over a month ago.
Gunn says the 29er skiff is a natural stepping stone into the class which is widely associated in New Zealand with multiple world champions and Olympic medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
"I found jumping into the 49er that the boats have a lot in common, theres not too many differences. The main thing is just dealing with the extra power in the boat and getting used to the settings," Gunn explains.
Gunn and Egnot-Johnson finished on a high today, winning the last race following a mixed bag of results over the last two days racing to sit in 5th.
Another pair to shift up into an Olympic class are twin sisters Courtney and Brianna Reynolds-Smith who have transitioned from the 420 to the 470 class.
"The weight combination is a lot nicer for us in the 470, but were still struggling to get the boat around the course, and thats something that will come with time as we work on our technique," comments Brianna.
As the only female combination in their fleet alongside the likes of Rio Olympians Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox, the girls say the regatta is a great experience for them as they head into the final day placed 4th in their fleet.
Conditions on the two courses were challenging for sailors across the ten fleets, as fluctuating South to South Easterly breezes faded in strength towards the end of the day.
The race schedule remains on track however, with the final day set to provide some exciting finishes across the courses.
Once such fleet will be the 420's, where 2nd placed female pair Ella Gladwell and Alice Haslett are tied on points with leading crew Robbie McCutcheon and Jonothan Weston after a consistent run of 2nd results today. The two crews are closely followed by Xanthe Copeland and Annabel Cave who had a fantastic day, winning the first two races.
Racing is set to unfold from 11am tomorrow.