Young Oamaru sailor Will Plunket (14) is still buzzing after competing in his first international regatta last month.
The Bic World Championships were held in Auckland between December 30 and January 4.
Plunket competed in the under-17 category, against close to 70 sailors from countries including Australia, Bermuda, United States, Italy, France, Germany and Japan.
He said the championship was quite different from what he had expected, but it was an “amazing experience”.
The biggest difference for him was having to compete in such a large fleet.
“Being a part of a large fleet – 69 sailors from eight countries – was a bit to get used to when I normally only train with five others in Dunedin,” he said.
Light winds also made racing more challenging.
“The first three days had really light winds, which I found quite difficult and didn’t sail as well as I know I can,” he said.
“It [has] an effect on where you want to sail.”
As well as competing at an international level, Plunket said a real highlight was spending an hour on the water training with New Zealand yachtsman Sir Russell Coutts, who also hosted the event.
While the regatta did have its challenges, Plunket said it had been a great learning experience.
“I learnt a lot about being assertive on the start line and tactics, and felt that I put to good practice lots of the other aspects of my sailing I have been trying to master,” he said.
“The last day the wind was just as I like it, sitting at around 20 knots, and I had two great races with my best placings – two 28th [placings].
“[It was] a really positive way to finish the regatta, giving me a finishing place of 55th.”
He said competing at an international level could not have been possible without the support of a number of people.
“A huge thank you to the coaching teams at Ravensbourne Youth Yachting Trust and the Oamaru Yacht and Power Boat Club; to the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Community Trust for supporting me with $700 to cover my entry fee and air fares; to Sir Russell and Jenny Coutts for hosting us, the coaching and racing tips; and thanks to Mum and Dad for all that you do,” he said.