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Surprise visitor at Toyota Optimist Nationals - being sailed at Maretai over Easter

by Yachting New Zealand 29 Mar 00:33 BST 29 March 2021
Emirates Team NZ sailing off Maretai - America's Cup - Day 5 - March 15, 2021, Course E © Richard Gladwell /

The sailors of tomorrow will get a taste of where the sport could take them when a special guest will make an appearance during next weekend's Toyota Optimist National Championships at Maraetai.

The America's Cup trophy will make its first public outing since Emirates Team New Zealand's successful defence when it goes on display at the Maraetai Sailing Club on the afternoon of Easter Monday.

The Maraetai Sailing Club have adopted the theme of national pride for the Optimist nationals and Team New Zealand's recent win sits firmly in this bucket.

"For the sailors, it's a fantastic opportunity to get up close to the America's Cup and the whole vibe of the America's Cup and where sailing can take them," Maraetai Sailing Club commodore Geoff Rasmussen said. "We're just coming out of the biggest sailing event in four years and it's the perfect time to hold an Optimist nationals.

"Peter Burling won the Opti nationals in 2003 and many of our Olympians have also done well at the Opti nationals. That's a great example of where the sport can take you.

"But national pride is not just about competing on the world stage. It's also about pride in our environment and we have planned for a number of initiatives around that, including a beach cleanup that everyone can participate in."

The club expect at least 150 sailors to compete over Easter in the various fleets - green, white and open - and entries will remain open until March 29 (a late fee may apply). You can find the online entry form, as well as information about accommodation options, charter boats and volunteering here.

All entrants may choose to receive a refund or carry over the registration fee if the event is cancelled or date moved due to any escalation in the alert level for the Auckland region.

The America's Cup will be on display at the club from 1pm-5pm and members of the community are welcome to pop in. Everyone is asked to provide a gold coin donation to help pay for security costs around the visit of the America's Cup trophy.

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