Sailing Club racing.
There are 7 active clubs in the Cook Islands. The commonly raced craft at the moment are the Optimist Class, with Northern Group Clubs sailing the Jellybean (brightly coloured plastic Optimists) – they are great for several reasons – not the least being the safety aspect when sailing on the beautiful and huge lagoons of the Northern Atolls of Manihiki, Pukapuka and Penrhyn.
The fourth, Rakahanga, is still waiting impatiently for their fleet to be sponsored!!! They are all set up with coaches ready for action. Sailing Cook Islands target is to secure funding as soon as possible to allow the island’s kids to join the sailing family of the Cook Islands in a very real way!
In the Southern Group Aitutaki, Rarotonga and Palmerston Islands have a varied fleet of classes catering to a very keen bunch of sailors over a participation, Learn to Sail for all ages and racing calendar
Aitutaki an atoll in the southern Group and only 120 miles North of Rarotonga has a beautiful lagoon renowned for its beauty, known as a popular venue for Bone Fishing and Kitesurfing, and of course a great place to sail.
Rarotonga and Aitutaki swap venues once a year each hosting one of the major Optimist racing Championships of the year… the Boatshed regatta for Aitutaki and the Cook Islands National Optimist Championships in Rarotonga! great rivalry exists between the clubs and a great celebration of sailing and camaraderie makes sure of the raging success of each event!
AitutakiClasses: Hobie Cat, Laser classes, Taz and Optimists
In Rarotonga, a feisty calendar of Junior Development in Optimist and Open Bics is also supported in Teams Racing in these classes plus the 420 Class from Sailing Cook Islands.
A calendar of racing for club trophies in Junior and Senior Racing makes the weekend a happy place for sailing, with the Electron 1 metre Radio yachts out on the lagoon in the afternoons!
Sails Restaurant operates from the clubs premises and provides a pleasant backdrop to sit and enjoy the action on the racing day- Saturdays!
Rarotonga: Tangaroa18 sailing outrigger Canoes, Sunbursts, Lasers, Open Bics. and Optimists
The newly revived club in Palmerton has a small fleet of Optimists and Sunbursts and a couple of coaches all ready to spring into action…..
There are national Championships Regattas each year for most classes, normally preceded by Club Championships.
June – Cook Islands National Sunburst Championships
August – Cook Islands Optimist National Championships
September – Cook Islands National Open Bic Championships
October – Cook Islands National 18ft Tangaroa Outrigger Class Championships
October – Laser Class National Championships
Current IOC Program Development of a National Sporting Structure is running at present. Phase one has been completed for Northern Group Coaches and Sailors.
Phase Two planning is going strong with coaches from Rarotonga sailing Club and Aitutaki sailing Club signing up for the course alongside teachers from the sailing in Schools Program. Classes to teach skills to would be coaches are being held in Raro and Aitutaki.
Numbers are looking good and very promising for club coaches and also sailing in Schools Coaches.
Olympic Representation largely depends on the age and sailing maturity of our small sailing nation. After a long break from our first representative we, at last, had sailors of standing and determination to complete the long drawn out years of buildup and competition resulting in the qualification of Helema Williams in Laser Radial, London 2012. She was followed by Teau McKenzie, Laser Radial, and Taua Henry Laser Standard, in Rio 2016.
2020/2024 is targeted by a determined young man Tex Framhein Laser Standard, as he works his way towards his childhood goal.
This young man’s determination is pretty well spelt out by the tough goals he set himself in the summer Tour this year – targeting as much big fleet sailing as he could in his school holidays!
Kitesurfing as a sport is building its Juniors towards International representation, using their stellar event the Manureva, held annually in Aitutaki as a great measuring ground and time to freshen up coaching tips from professionals competing at the event! Too young this time around for the Youth Olympic Games, there are some outstanding young kiters dedicating their time to the pursuit of excellence with a firm goal in mind to represent their country!