Thursday, November 19, 2015

Samoa set for first female representation at ISAF Youth Worlds

In the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships history the Samoan flag has been flown four times thanks to representatives in the Boy's Laser Radial fleet.

Blake Milroy was Samoa's first Youth Worlds athlete in 2003 which he followed up in 2004. Eroni Leilua stepped into Milroy's shoes in 2009 and 2010 however since then the Youth Worlds has lacked a Samoan presence.

That is all to change in 2015, with thanks to World Sailing's Emerging Nations Program (ENP).

After sailing at the Oceanic ENP Clinic in Suva, Fiji with six other nations, Biana Leilua received an ENP Scholarship to sail at the 45th edition of the ISAF Youth Worlds in Langkawi, Malaysia from 27 December through to 3 January.

Leilua is set to become the first female Samoan sailor to compete at the Youth Worlds and is excited about the prospect, "I reckon it will be a really good experience, not only in that but also to get Samoa's name out there in the sailing world. It's going to be cool."

The 18-year-old first started sailing at nine years old in the Optimist and took up racing at 12 and the sport remains one of her deepest passions, "To me it's like another world, away from everything so that's why I enjoy it. I enjoy the social side and the competitive side, it's a real challenge, it always challenges me and I love challenges," she said with a laugh.

"Going to different competitions you never know what to expect from the other sailors. It's really interesting to be able to compete against people from other countries and see the different skill levels."

Leilua has experience of competing against other nations regionally after she sailed in the Laser Radial competition at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. In a fleet of 11 Leilua finished fifth overall but it was at the Emerging Nations Program where she fine-tuned her skills thanks to the guidance of World Sailing's coaches.

"To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard about it [ENP Clinic] but it's been really good and I think it's been really beneficial, especially for our specific nations because we don't get this level of coaching where we come from back home.

"It's really beneficial for us and a lot of us have taken heaps away from it which is good."

When it comes to 'taking heaps away from it', Leilua elaborated, "Probably just the level of knowledge, knowing about all the theoretical side as much as the practical side so knowing and learning about all the different weather patterns and how to read the weather.

"[It helped] to build my confidence when it comes to competitive sailing and I learnt a lot on the water as well. I think I just need more training and more practice on the water to put the skills I learned on land into action."

Leilua's long-term goals includes competing at the Olympic Games, but in the next few weeks she'll be aiming to put the skills learned at the ENP clinic into action at the 2015 ISAF Youth Worlds in a 56-boat Laser Radial fleet.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2010 report from the Youth Worlds

Summary of the 40th Volvo Youth Worlds Championship, Turkey.(8-17 July)

Going to Turkey took us 22 hours in the air not including 10 hours in transit between Auckland- Sydney-Dubai and Istanbul (Turkey) and same again on the way back. We left Auckland on the 6th July and arrived back in Auckland on the 20th July.

We were met at the Istanbul airport by some of the organizers who took us with other teams arriving at the same time to our hotel accommodation (Atakoy Marina Hotel) for our entire stay. The 8th July was the Official arrival day and Registration day. You get your allocated boat and you fit it with all the blocks and lines, etc ready to sail the next day. Team Leaders had a meeting late that afternoon to meet the on the water officials and go through the programme for the next 10 days.
Day 2 was scheduled for Training day and then Opening Ceremony later at 6pm. Everyone was ready to hit the water at 11am, the winds were good, average 15-18 knots with very strong current and very wet but warm 28 degrees Celcius. Eroni was out for 2 hours and had a good sail, got to meet some of his competitors out on the water, the waters in Istanbul was very dirty and full of rubbish.The Sailing Area for the Lasers course from the ramp was 3.2nm and 50m deep, it took 30-50min to get to the race area depending on the wind and current. Last minute change to the venue for the Opening Ceremony was because of the wet and windy conditions, so instead of the boat trip to the Golden Horn and then a march around a historical park in Istanbul, it was all inside a Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel which was a very colourful and noisy gathering.

Day 3 was scheduled for Practice Race Day and everyone had another chance to test the waters and their competitors again. 
The wind was not as strong as the previous day but still around 10-12knots was good for sailing. 

Day 4 was the 1st day of the Championship, Team Leaders met early to hear the weather forecast and programme for the day and any changes before the sailors get in the water. Sadly the wind was even less than yesterday 5-6knots, sailors launched at 10.30am with 1st race scheduled for 12pm, it took nearly an hour for the boats to get to race area, race 1 was delayed until 12.45 and it took 1hr and 15min to complete the 1st race, the 2nd race was the same but the wind was even less. The 3rd race was on hold to see if more wind was coming, we waited around till 5.30 then the race officer called it the day with wind dying making it a long day.

Day 5 was 2nd day of competition and again Team Leaders met early to get the days forecast and programme, The wind was very light but they decided to send the sailors out anyway. They couldn’t start any races with wind dying, AP flag flying on the water with everyone waiting around to see what happens next. At around 3pm they decided to send everyone in to shore and wait there. Boats were pulled up the ramp and parked up, the sailors and organizers were getting frustrated with very  little wind.( not normal) At 5pm the sailors were launching boats again for the race areas. We managed to get one short race in in very light conditions and back to shore by 8pm. Six races were scheduled for the first 2 days but we only got 3 races completed by the end of 2nd day. 

Day 6 was a Lay Day, the Host Nation organized a boat trip for around 400 people to the Bosphorus waters, Istanbul city is divided at the Bosphorus waters with one side Europe and the other is Asia joined only by 2 long bridges, very interesting place with its architecture and culture, very warm at the moment similar to Samoas weather.

Day 7 was 3rd day of regatta and again the wind didn’t come, everyone rigged up and no where to go so the AP flag flying on shore with everyone waiting for 2hourly updates. At 4.30pm they decided to send everyone out to the course areas. The light winds allowed the Laser boys to complete one race and the Laser girls race got abandoned and that was end of day three of the championship.

Day 8 was 4th day of regatta and finally we got some breeze around 10-12knots with a strong current, still scheduled for 3 races, it took a while to get started with first race 12.30pm but 3 short races were completed and back on the shore by 6.30pm.

Day 9 was final day of the regatta, one race scheduled for everyone then returning boats and cleaning up for the afternoon. Closing Ceremony and Award Ceremony was held at the Sheraton Hotel Pool Side at 6.30pm followed by dinner. They scheduled 12 races for the Championship, everyone completed 8 races except the Laser girls completed only 7 races due to lack of wind or no wind at all. This was a very frustrating time for everyone,  light and tricky conditions for sailing but it was all a good experience for Eroni, 
His results were 34,43,38,39,(44),30,36,29 with 50 countries competing in the Laser Radial Boys, it was the biggest fleet there.
On behalf of Eroni, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the Samoa Sailing Association and the Apia Yacht Club for the opportunity and the selection of  Eroni to represent Samoa to this prestigious World Sailing Championship, Special thank you to Raema for her time in helping put together the application and all the other forms.

Faafetai Tele Lava,
Willie Leilua  (Team Manager)

“Malo lava” to you both, Thank you Willie for assisting in the capacity of Team Manager at this event. It is very important that our sailors have this support and encouragement especially at these International events which at the best of times can be very daunting for the competitors! 

A special “Congratulations” to you Eroni for all your training, effort & energy that went into preparing for this event. I know you trained hard for this event and I am sure you felt allot more confident competing in this, your second Worlds Championship, as you were better prepared- well done!

We watched your “live” interview on the opening day and we were very proud that you were representing Samoa and carrying our flag at this prestigious event.
Keep up the great sailing, Commodore / Apia Yacht Club

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vaa Fleet Call Samoa - Sinalei & AYC

The Vaa Fleet consisting of 3 Vaa (Samoa, Vanuatu & Tonga)
and 3 support boats arrived into Samoa Waters on Saturday 12th June.
First landing Point was Sinalei Resort before mooring at the Apia Marina.
AYC held a BBQ Night on Tuesday 15th.
Photos and links below to learn more about their adventure.

Memories of the Vaa:
Photos thanks to Stuart Chape, Nick Roberts, Transam

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Queens Baton 2010

Samoa Sailing Association was allocated a leg of Queens Batons Run.
This was taken up by one a AYCs Laser Sailors Olivia Hogarth.

Photo to be Posted

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sailing Programme - APR-MAY

Prepared by the Fleet Captain: (click Image to enlarge)