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Making Sail

The New Zealand International Optimist Dinghy Association Nationals is an annual regatta that attracted young Sailors from Australia, Tahiti and New Caledonia, as well as sailors from all over New Zealand to Napier’s Sailing Club in the Hawke’s Bay over Easter.

This year’s winning sailor, Auckland’s Seb Menzies at just 12 years old took out the winner’s silverware.

“It's a pretty good feeling. It's been a long time coming and I've worked hard for it,” Menzies said after being announced the winner at the prizegiving for the five-day Toyota Optimist National Championships hosted by the Napier Sailing Club.

With four years of competition under his belt, it was Menzies fourth nationals and his third in the open fleet. His previous best finishes at this level were a 47th and eighth and he was the fourth best Kiwi when he finished eighth.

Just two of the three scheduled races were completed on the final day, due to a false start and a lack of wind forcing the cancellation of the final race.

With six wins, a second and a sixth, hot favourite Menzies won the title by 12 points from Canterbury's David Buchanan from the Charteris Bay Yacht Club.

Aussie Blake Wilson, from the Southport Yacht Club, was a further four points back in third place and Napier Sailing Club's Josh Gilmore was fourth overall and the third best Kiwi, 18 points behind Menzies.

Menzies said “I can do another two years in the optimist class but that was my last regatta. I'm now keen to move up to a new class such as a 29er.”

He collected two trophies at the prizegiving. One was for his first place overall and the other for his role in the Murrays Bays club's No 1 team's victory in the teams segment of the regatta on Sunday.

Menzies and clubmates Greta Pilkington, James Barnett, Thomas and Mason Mulachy finished ahead of the Australian national team and Tauranga One in the battle for the team’s prize.

Toyota New Zealand has had a long involvement with yachting New Zealand from the grassroots level and Optimist Nationals through to the highest level of the sport with our support of Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup since 1992.