In Auckland sailor George Lee Rush's words "the wind was all over the place" during the three-day North Island Optimist Championships which ended off Napier today.

"Particularly in two of the races today. You had to have your head out of the boat," Lee Rush said.

However the Wakatere Boating Club member's placings weren't all over the place. Seven firsts and a discarded fifth placing gave him the title in the Kennedy Park-sponsored championships, which attracted 115 entries, by 23 points from Kohimarama Yacht Club's Rowan Kensington.

Hugo McMullen, who represents the Hamilton and Kohimarama clubs, was two points behind Kensington in third place. The championships were originally scheduled to be raced over nine races on Hawke Bay but light winds meant two, instead of three races, were staged yesterday and there was only enough time for three today.


It was 13-year-old Lee Rush's first title in four attempts at the North Island silverware. His previous best overall placing was a fourth.

"I've been working pretty hard throughout the season so it was especially pleasing to dominate like I did," the Westlake Boys College Year 9 student said.

During the summer he can train up to five days each week on the water and he also has psychology sessions. During the winter it is both days on the weekend.

"In my younger days I used to play everything there was going. Then I narrowed it down to football and sailing ... but now it's just sailing as it involves so much time," Lee Rush said.

He is in his first season of being coached by Andrew Brown at his club after previously being coached by Tim Adair. His next major regattas include the Auckland champs in January and the Easter nationals.

Lee Rush intends to celebrate his success by taking a week off training.

"I need to relax a bit. I've also got exams coming up at school which require some attention. I get pretty bored if I'm not sailing," he added.

That break will also allow time for a wrist injury to heal. While Lee Rush was to humble to mention the injury a supporter revealed he tackled the championships with a suspected broken wrist.

Twelve-year-old Napier Intermediate School Year 8 student Winston Liesebach was the best of the Napier Sailing Club competitors with a 33rd overall placing. Ninth and 12th placings were his best during the three days.

"It feels good to be the best of the Bay starters. I trained hard with Orestes for most of the school holidays," he said referring to the host club's Peruvian coach Orestes Reyes.

"Mum [Janet] put a bit of pressure on me to do well so it was good to see her smiling today," third-year sailor Liesebach said.

Last month he finished 21st at the AIMS Games in Tauranga which catered for intermediate school age competitors. Liesebach will tackle the Auckland championships in January as well as the Easter nationals which will be hosted by the Murrays Bay club in Auckland.

A Starling Regatta, which involved 28 competitors, was raced in conjunction with the Optimist championships. It was won by Quinn Kusanic of the Bay of Islands club.

He finished three points ahead of Wakatere's Kaan Yazici. Another Wakatere starter, Luc Gladwell, was a further 10 points back in third place.

Josh Gilmore was the best of the host club starters with a fourth placing, 19 points behind Kusanic. Gilmore had a first and three third placings during his eight starts.

Nina Mannering was the next best of the Napier starters in ninth place. She had a fourth and two eighths.