Sailing siblings valiant


PAPUA New Guinea siblings Teariki and Rose-Lee Numa struggled to match the class of the sailing field during the first three and four heats respectively in Enoshima on Sunday and Monday.
Sailing in the Tokyo Olympics started on Sunday and will run through to Friday.
Enoshima is a small island connected to the city of Fujisawa by a bridge. This was also the sailing venue for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
The sailors compete in two races each day for five days with each race taking up to 50 minutes.
Teariki sailed valiantly over the three races held against a top-class field of 35 and brought up the rear of the fleet.
Teariki was second to race among the siblings with his first race getting away in a light southerly breeze.
Rose-Lee had similar results, placing 44th, 42nd, 40th and 44th in her four heats and was pipped by Fijian Sophia Morgan in all heats.
Rose-Lee competed first at 12pm (PNG time) in a light north-easterly breeze. The second race was delayed as the wind dropped and shifted to the south.
Conditions have been tough with considerable water chop and consistent strong breezes as a result of Typhoon Nepartak that is sitting off the Japanese coast.
Top positions are being shared across the field in what will become a very close battle for the medals.
Coach Danny Fuller said he was upbeat about the siblings’ performances.
“Rose-Lee should be proud of both of her starts today (Sunday),” he said.
“This is the most difficult part of sailing and Rose-Lee had two strong starts. She also made good decisions to keep her boat in good wind around the course.
“Rose improved her boat speed in the second race and sailed with the main bunch all the way around the course.”
Fuller said Teariki was a little nervous and did not get the start he had anticipated.
“In the second lap, he loosened up and made up a lot of ground on his competitors to finish very strongly,” he said.
“The second race of the day was abandoned soon after the start as the wind faded.”
The strong conditions during the men’s second race on Monday morning, saw a sea of trouble as the dinghies battled the conditions and were swept into the race marks resulting in numerous penalties.
The laser sailing competition is very competitive with the world’s top sailors who are all professional sailors racing for gold.
“The goal today was to get a good start and Teariki achieved that with a solid start in both races,” Fuller said on Monday.
“He found the course tough going with a big messy swell, big tide and the fluctuating breeze coming off the land.
“Rose-Lee improved on her sailing from yesterday with two good starts, finding good breeze to complete two good races.
“She was having her best race in the second heat today until a big shift of the breeze caught her out on the wrong side of the course.”
Yesterday, Rose-Lee had two races and Teariki had three scheduled to catch up for the race that was cancelled on Sunday.
Team PNG chef de mission Tamzin Wardley said the results were not unexpected, given the high quality of the field.
“The world’s top sailors compete regularly on the international circuit, travelling the world from event to event and our sailors get to attend very few such regattas,” she said.
“It will take a massive commitment of time and money to match these top guys out on the water.
“Most of them would have been competing in weekly races since they were children.
“Our goal is to try to beat the other Pacific countries racing in the event also.”
The regatta will be held over 10 races subject to the weather conditions expected, as the typhoon gets closer.