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2 October 2001, 04:36 pm
President|s 2001 Report
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Development of Sailing in The Cook Islands

The Sailing Cook Islands (formally the Cook Islands Yachting Federation Inc.) President Thomas Davis reports on the past twelve months of sailing activities in the Cook Islands.
This is an edited version of the full report:

Peter Stenson

It is with great sadness that I have to record the recent passing of our Treasurer Peter Stenson. Peter was a tireless worker for the sport of Sailing, the manager to the last 3 national teams that have competed at the South Pacific and Olympic Games and a sailor across all classes. Peter will be remembered for his generous contribution to the development of Sailing in the Cook Islands and we shall miss you Peter, for a long time to come. We pass our deepest sympathy to the Stenson family, and in particular to Daniel and Barbara and we pray that you receive comfort, strength and courage in this time of sadness.

Turia Vogel

My first praise would be for Turia Vogel who has improved on her Olympic Mistral Class qualification last year, to compete in the 2000 Olympic event at the Sydney Games, gaining a credible 22nd placing along with a ISAF World ranking of 37th. I would also like to mention my appreciation for the efforts put in by Turia's Manager the late Peter Stenson, her coach Lachlan Gilbert together with the funding achievements obtained by our Federation to enable Turia to achieve her Olympic goal. It is also noteworthy to record here that Cook Islands Sports & Olympic Association awarded "woman athlete of the year" to Turia at their Annual sports awards last year.

Kiwi Olympian, Bruce Kendall, was engaged to come to Rarotonga for a wind-surfing coaching session between December 15 to 24th and his airfares were funded as part of our Olympic program for wind-surfing class development.
Thanks to Ken Kingsbury and the team at the RSC many of our junior sailors along with pleasure windsurfers received some real top-line tuition from an Olympic master.

Over the past year we have seen the results of this coaching session in this class taking a firm hold under our Class chair and coach Ken Kingsbury with several now highly skilled windsurfers eyeing up future Olympic, Commonwealth and South Pacific Games prospects in this Class. Following the lead first set by our Olympian Turia Vogel we do look forward to continued competitive sailing, involvement in development and inspiration from Turia over the next 2 years as many new sailors join this class from our growing and successful youth development programs.

New Zealand Laser Championships

During the summer holiday period we sent a team of two to the New Zealand Laser championships held in Taupo, NZ with funding made available from fundraising and the Allsports Fund. The total budget was $3,749.30. Rarotonga Sailing Club Captain, Craig Robertson sailed in the Laser Masters with moderate results against a fleet of forty-four. Our ex junior Optimist sailor Kris Goodwin sailed in the open event against thirty-one entries finding the competition a huge experience. Over one hundred sailors took part in Taupo. In his report to Council Manager Craig Robertson stated that we need these international events if we are ever going to sail competitively and our results in Taupo, although not impressive, was essential training and we just need more of these opportunities. Council shares these views
Early in the year, the Tahiti Yacht Club offered twelve polyester Optimists for sale after the Oceania event. It was based on a 'buy five and get one free', sponsored by IODA. Council considered the tremendous value of a fleet of almost new polyester boats and Italian sails. They moved to buy ten boats with the two free boats estimated at costing $42,000 NZD. A tremendous commitment to Junior Sailing and I applaud that decision. A committee was established to look into this and later came up with full sponsorship for the whole 12 Optimists as follows: IODA, Lagoon Lodges, Moana Sands, Pukekohe Travel, Wigmore Super Store, Matavera Village Traders, PTS Plumbing Supplies, Treasure Chest, Wholesale Vehicles, PacPro, Sails Restaurant & Bar, IUA Insurance. I thank all those sponsors who have faith in supporting sailing and our junior sailing activities.

Radio Controlled Sailing

Radio controlled sailing has come a long way with its 'Electron" fleet of eighteen boats, sailing regularly every week of the year. A Global and Oceania regatta was staged in May on the delightful Muri lagoon with thirty-seven local and overseas competitors, who privately funded themselves. Entries came from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Fiji and the Cook Islands. Our own Craig Robertson came third in the regatta. Well-done Craig.

Olympic Solidarity

An Olympic Solidarity program was approved by the NOC and ISAF with Janet Watkins appointed as course expert and Peter Heays Course Director. This Olympic program was run during the school holiday period in July-August and focused on sailors from Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Manihiki, in a program covering sailing basics and techniques, boat preparation, a coaches coaching course and competition events held both in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Optimist Sailing

The program culminated first in Rarotonga with the annual Rarotonga Optimist Champs then in Aitutaki with their Aitutaki Championship. Then ending, in Aitutaki with the 2001 National Optimist Champs. Congratulations to all the Optimist sailors, coaches and family support that ensured that this program was an exciting point in the 2001 development of the Optimist Class.

In the 2001 National Optimist Class Champs well done Jan Sijp 1st place, Sam Gregg in 2nd place and Hannah Morris 3rd place. From these events an optimist squad was chosen to train for selection to the Oceania Optimist Champs coming up in October in Tahiti, French Polynesia. I was particularly pleased to see that Aitutaki, Manihiki and Palmerston Islands were invited and funded to attended this course and congratulate the Outer Island teams and their coaches and administrators for their fine effort. We look forward to continuing success in the development of the Optimist class that underpins the development and growth of sailing in the Cook Islands.

Future Development

Your Federation continues to plan for the further development of Sailing in the Cook Islands. We have this year focused on a new 4year development plan for our classes so that we can coordinate the Class development within the Cook Islands. We have both new and expanding clubs, equipment and sailing locations in the lagoons of Aitutaki, Manihiki, Penrhyn and Rarotonga, we have enthusiastic sailors being encouraged in these and other Islands as well and we have a continuing development of Class sailing, Vaka voyaging and Ocean sailing. I am sure that the traditions of our ancestors will become the pathways to our sport in the future.

National Championships

The National champs were held during the year in the Laser, Mistral, Sunburst, Optimist and Electron Classes and new regattas and events were held in an expanding National sailing calendar. New boats are continually being added to the register of classes. Our Secretary, Ian Forbes, has achieved excellent management and communication of these events and recently I read with interest of the Olympic Solidarity event on the ISAF website, congratulations Ian. Many more projects are underway including competition for our elite sailors, nominations for the Hall of Fame where we propose the first President of a Sailing Club in the Cook Islands back in 1940, Jack Wright. Then visits of overseas clubs and competitors to our National and Oceania class events. I am sorry I can't be with you to enjoy this sailing competition amongst you all.

It has been a very good year for sailing in the Cook Islands. I look forward to our 7th year with the emphasis on Junior development in sailing and our plans in extending the Optimists to as many of the outer islands as we are able.

Kia Orana e Kia Manuia.



Thomas Davis/News Editor
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