Klaus excels in NZ

CHAMPION junior sailor Klaus Lorenz has continued to rise within the landscape of Australian Optimist sailing with a polished performance in the New Zealand nationals last week.

Klaus came seventh overall out of the 196 sailors competing and first out of the eight strong Australian team.

The amazing performance in Mercury Bay, Whitianga, which included a race win, has prompted coaching staff from AOST (the Australian Optimist Sailing Team) to elevate Klaus to its top grouping.

As a result, he will now compete in the Asian Championships to be held in Thailand from July 3-11 instead of the European Championships to be held at Poland at the same time.

The Asian Championships are rated more highly than the Europeans by AOST and selectors have decided that Klaus is ready to be thrust into the cauldron alongside five compatriots, including two of the top five from last year’s Nationals.

An idea of the challenge the Whitsunday talent will be up against can be gained from the fact that of the top 10 in last week’s New Zealand regatta, competitors that ranked 1, 3, 4 and 6 will all be fighting with Klaus for a win in Asia.

For now though, he can be content that his star is continuing to rise after perhaps the best week in a dinghy he has experienced in his young career.

The New Zealand Optimist Nationals were open to all New Zealanders and up to eight sailors from any national Optimist association abroad.

In addition to the Kiwis and Klaus’ team mates there were sailors from Singapore, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Cook Islands and Great Britain.

Klaus spent two days getting used to the conditions on Mercury Bay leading up to the event and by the time it started he was confident he could tame the 15-20 knot winds being served up.

He started the regatta with a 13th (out of 100 as they split the fleet into two) and was disappointed to have to wait more than a day to get back on the start line with an unhelpful tide and lack of wind combining to force the rest of day one’s races and all of day two to be cancelled.

It turned out to be worth the wait though as Klaus led from start to finish to win the first race on day three.

The win set him up for a tilt at the title but although he continued to demonstrate champion qualities, Klaus was unable to get the results he needed to finish higher than seventh.

A fundraiser has since been organised by the Whitsunday Sailing Club to help cover the costs to get Klaus over to Thailand in July.

It will be on a date yet to be set in June and any businesses interested in helping can call the club on 4946 6138.

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