Last month a group of seven New Zealand junior windsurfers travelled to San Francisco to compete in the Techno293 World Championships along with Kate Ellingham as coach. Their skill level ranged from current and former National Champions to relative beginners on the Techno but all of the sailors had a common aim of learning from the large fleet racing.
Racing took place over 5 days out of St Francis Yacht Club. The club and race organisers did a fantastic job of hosting and safely racing over 140 young windsurfers. Racing was in consistently strong wind (20 to 25 knots) together with 4 to 5knot tides, making starts and mark roundings some of the biggest challenges for all of the sailors. There were also seals, ferries, container ships and the cold San Francisco water to deal with as well.
The NZ sailors raced in the U17 Boys and Girls divisions and open division. Top NZ placing in the U17girls was 21st out of 32 sailors and in the U17boys fleet, 36th out of 63 sailors. These are very creditable results, considering the lack of experience these sailors have had in large fleets and with strong winds.
Importantly they gained valuable skills as they raced, including the proper technique for sailing upwind on the fin (necessary to be speed competitive) and starting techniques. They made many contacts with sailors from other countries, including the British sailors who won in almost all of the divisions.
Kate was able to provide great on water support and further developed her skills as a Techno Coach. This would not have been possible without the generous support of the NZ International Yachting Trust.
There is a growing Techno Fleet in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch with racing scheduled at all the major regattas this coming season as well as training and racing at the local yacht clubs. The Techno Association is aiming to continue to develop the class here in NZ and enable our young windsurfers to continue to compete in future World Championships.
Windsurfing NZ http://www.windsurfingnz.org/