Samoan sailors eye next target after Pacific Games

The Hobie Catamaran Team Samoa boys have completed their first Pacific Games races together and say they cannot wait for the next one.

Vitolio Iamafana and Trilin Hogarth, and Isaia Seumanatafa and Ben Hansell managed to leave the back of the pack in the last two days of racing and finished fourth with a final team score of 218.

New Caledonia came first, with Fiji and Tahiti in second and third in the team competition.

Seumanatafa and Hansell came eighth as a pair, with 90 points. In the last two days they came fourth and fifth, a massive improvement on their week of coming in seventh or eighth.

Iamafana and Hogarth came ninth on 105 poinst, consistently coming seventh or eighth during the week.

The race went to Leo Belourad and Tom Picot, and Auxence Thomas and Jean De Sola from New Caledonia in first and second place, followed by Fijians Shayne Brodie and Nelle Leenders.

But despite their otherwise low results, the rookie sailors say they are still excited about the sport and ready to train hard for the Pacific Mini Games in Northern Mariana Island in 2021.

“We are gunning for the Mini Games in two years. We gotta hang in there and get more people into it too,” said Hansell.

“We are hoping for the mini games there will be a bigger pool of people to choose from. We’ll have a sail off and whoever are the best two teams they get to go.”

He said both the Samoan pairs are the heaviest boats in the fleet, and are the least experienced against the other sailors. So to have beaten even a couple of teams is “one in the hat,” he said.

“They have better technique than us,” Seumanatafa said.

“We were not experienced enough in those kind of winds against these guys but when it dropped it was better for us because we were more used to that.”

After a week of heavy wind the intensity dropped back to the light winds the team was used to during training, and it showed in their results.

Hansell, hoping others will see the competition and want to give sailing a go, said the Hobie Catamaran is a speedy boat, and great for adrenaline.

Hogarth came from sailing Laser Standards said now that he has been on the Hobie Cat he is loving the speed.

He said before the Mini Games he wants to train much more, as well as get tips from the expert sailors around him during the Pacific Games.

Iamafana said learning from the other races has been fun.

“It’s been a good experience, so I wouldn’t say I am exhausted, I am pumped up for more.

“I should be tired but I have just had fun, learning from each other, playing with some of these world champs and all these guys that have been sailing for more than ten years.”

They have all been training so hard and cutting out unhealthy foods to stay in good form. Hansell and Seumanatafa said they are excited to eat pizza again before the training for the Mini Games kicks in.

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