As the Vodafone South Pacific Hobie Youth Championship rounds up its second day of racing at the National Sailing Centre in Suva Point today, youths from Fiji and Wallis and Futuna have welcomed the competition turnout.
Fiji Hobie Sailing co-ordinator Deborah Sue says this year, defending champions, New Caledonia didn’t take part. Also missing this year was a women’s team which often took part every year.
“The reason is we just don’t have many women sailors taking up the sport. We would welcome any who are keen though. It’s not easy to get people to come and try out sailing, the conditions may not be favourable. When it’s windy, people prefer to be inside but when its summer it’s the best place to be,” says the lone Fijian woman skipper.
“We would welcome people interested in taking up this sport. They just have to get in touch with me,” she adds.
The participants received two days of intensive training prior to the three-day race which ends on Friday, July 19. Eight teams are currently taking part with Wallis and Futuna being the only overseas team.
Fijian sailor, 38-year-old Rusiate Saini of Qauia, Lami, says he’s been sailing for six years and has fallen in love with the sport. “This year we hope to improve ourselves in the competition, as we prepare for the upcoming Mini Pacific Games later this year. This sport may not be well followed in Suva, but young people should try it out, its enjoyable.”
Meanwhile, representative from Wallis Futuna, Halakilikili Jean-Jacques tells maiLife, he and his three team members are enjoying the competition. “Theres only one Hobie sailing club in Wallis and Futuna. I’ve been coming to Fiji for four years bringing our youths to take part. In Fiji the competition is good. We want to improve our standing and give the Fijian Hobie sailors a run for their money,” says Jacques with an emphatic grin.