Hawaiian sailor Nicolai Perez reckons he's more of an actor than a yachtie.
"Watch Hawaii Five-O. Depending on what episode it is you might see me. I've been a young Steve McGarrett in four of them and I had talking lines in three of them," 13-year-old Perez explained with tremendous confidence while referring to the show's main character.
One of eight Hawaiian competitors in Napier for the Property Brokers Open Skiff Nationals which begin today and continue until Sunday, Perez, will have more auditions for television shows and movies when he returns home.
"I like sailing but I really want to be an actor. Sailing is a hobby for me and hopefully one day I might be able to begin sailing around the world," Perez said.
Despite his low-key approach to sailing, Perez, who has been competing for seven years out of the Hawaii Kai Boat Club, will aim for a top-five finish in the under-17 division of the regatta which has attracted 61 sailors.
Last year the Mid-Pacific Institute College student competed in the Auckland-hosted world championships which doubled as the national championships. Perez finished 42nd in the under-13 age group.
"I'm really light and the winds got up to 30 knots in Auckland. I'm told the winds will be pretty light here this weekend ... I'm going to do well," Perez said.
Should Perez miss out on a podium finish event director Brook Faulknor should consider using him in an MC role. He'll definitely keep the crowd entertained.
Considering how catchy the theme song tune for Hawaii Five-O is the question had to be put to Perez. Does he use the music as part of his motivational buildup before he races?
"I hadn't thought of doing that. But I will give it a try and see if work ... thanks for the tip," Perez replied.
Kailua Intermediate School pupil Sage Andrews, 13, is another Hawaiian sailor tipped to perform well during the next three days. The Kaneohe Yacht Club member has also been competing for seven years.
Andrews also competed in the under-13 division in Auckland last year. She finished 26th.
"I would have done better but I had a leaky boat. I had some top 10s during the last two days of the regatta," Andrews recalled.
"I've improved a lot since then. I don't have a leaky boat so I'll be aiming for a top-10 or top-five finish here in Napier."
Andrews pointed out the Hawaiian contingent did some sailing in Taupo on the way to Napier.
"It's definitely warmer here. I'm just hoping for heavy winds now."
Sailing is her main sport and she hopes to compete at college level in the United States in future.
Six Napier Sailing Club members - Carl Marshall, Tom Faulknor, Jed Potbury, Winston Leisbach, Will Muir and Jade Pederson - will compete in the nationals. Hereworth School pupil Faulknor finished 29th in the under-13 division last year and will aim for a top-five finish this weekend.
He pointed out Kiwi yachting great Sir Russell Coutts, who is in Napier for the regatta, introduced the class to New Zealand from Europe and he has benefited from coaching clinics with Coutts.
"Sir Russell thought the class would be good for Kiwi kids. It's aimed at getting us planeing at a young age and is all about having fun and getting a foot in the sailing door.
"He places a big emphasis on boat set-ups and handling. When we have briefings with him you learnt plenty about the finer points of sailing ... the technical aspects.
"Sir Russell tells us if you are going to do something stupid do it properly and to work to our full limits," Faulknor said.
Lindisfarne College's Carl Marshall is tipped to do well in the same division as Faulknor.
Last year he represented New Zealand at the Qingdao International Optimist Sailing Camp and Regatta in China. He finished 13th overall in a field of 230 sailors, was the 10th-placed boy and third best Kiwi.
Marshall said he is enjoying racing in both classes.
"The skiffs are more about high performance while the optimists are more technical. By doing both I believe it will help me be the complete package when I'm older," Marshall explained.
"I'm aiming for a top 10-finish at the nationals and, like Tom [Faulknor], I'm hoping to race at Olympic Games and America's Cup level in the near future," Marshall said.
He is rapt with the coaching he receives from Coutts, Brook Faulknor and the Napier club's international coach, Orestes Reyes of Peru.
Four races are scheduled today, three tomorrow and three on Sunday.