Hawke's Bay sailor Winston Liesebach is eyeing a podium finish in the Open Skiff Nationals regatta which began off Napier today.

If his ability to bounce back from setbacks is an indication pundits wouldn't want to bet too much against him ticking off his goal.

"I was going well until the third race when I had a poor start. But I bounced back to win the fourth race," Liesebach recalled as the 61 starters in the 10-race Property Brokers-sponsored regatta checked their provisional results at the Napier Sailing Club.

One of six host club sailors in the regatta, Liesebach, 13, is competing in the under-17 division. He also finished third in his first race and sixth in his second.


"Local knowledge definitely came into play today," Liesebach said as he reflected on the light south westerly breeze which greeted the fleets for their first race.

This then turned to a 10-12 knot south easterly breeze and when this was combined with the flat seas conditions were ideal for the class.

A Napier Boys' High School Year 10 student, Liesebach, is competing in these nationals for the first time. The fifth-year sailor previously raced in the Optimist class where he gained international experience in Slovenia and Germany.

Under-13 division entrant Carl Marshall was the only other host club competitor to record a top-three finish today and he was second in his first race.

Lindisfarne College's Marshall, who also still races Optimists, is aiming for a top 10 finish in the regatta which has attracted eight entrants from Hawaii.

Hawaiian Makene Andrews had a memorable first day in the under-13 division with two firsts and a second placing. Jack White from the Marakura Yacht Club in the Fiordland National Park in the South Island made sure his trip north was worth it with a win and two third placings in the under-17 division.

Three races are scheduled for tomorrow and another three on Sunday.

Provisional results from today's races:
Race 1:
U13 Division: Kosta Gladiadis (Manly Sailing Club) 1; Carl Marshall (Napier Sailing Club) 2; Finn Pye (Manly Sailing Club) 3.
U17 Division: Jack White (Marakura Yacht Club) 1; Jake Millar (Gisborne Yacht Club) 2; Winston Liesebach (Napier Sailing Club) 3.


Race 2:
U13 Division: Finn Pye (Manly Sailing Club) 1; Makani Andrews (Kaneohe Yacht Club, Hawaii) 2; Jack Hollands (Manly Sailing Club) 3.
U17 Division: Ben Tapper (Manly Sailing Club) 1; Jack Olson (Plimmerton Boating Club) 2; Sam Dold (Royal Akarana Sailing Club) 3.

Race 3:
Under 17: Ben Tapper (Manly Sailing Club) 1; Jack Callear (Paremata Boating Club) 2; Jack White (Marakura Yacht Club) 3.
Under 13: Makani Andrews (Kaneohe Yacht Club, Hawaii) 1; Morgan Lay (Royal Akarana Yacht Club) 2; Flinn Olson (Manly Sailing Club) 3.

Race 4:
Under 17: Winston Liesebach (Napier Sailing Club) 1; Ben Tapper (Manly Sailing Club) 2; Jack White (Marakura Yacht Club) 3.
Under 13: Makani Andrews (Kaneohe Yacht Club, Hawaii) 1; Michael Hochart (Kaneohe Yacht Club, Hawaii) 2; Finn Pye (Manly Sailing Club) 3.