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Shore Olympians: Our Sailors

Set Sail for London

Shore proud of sailors heading to Olympics

North Shore sailors will be competing at their pinnacle next month, as Olympians. The region has produced many Olympic competitors through the years and this year’s Games of the XXXth Olympiad are no exception.

From Devonport, sailing star Paul Snow-Hansen is gearing up for the Games with a rather large precursor – the 2012 World Championships in Barcelona. Finishing eighth in last year’s championships in Perth, Paul, and his crew Jason Saunders, will be looking to build on that position ahead of July’s Olympics. A solid season sees Paul well-placed to head into the Olympic 470 Class event with hopes high. Mum Christine is delighted her son will have the chance to live out his Olympic dream, after setting this as his goal when teaming up with Jason four years ago. “It’s really very gratifying to see them achieve their goal. They have made so many sacrifices and their determination has got them there.”

Former Takapuna Grammar and Devonport Primary pupil Paul is a full-time sailor who joins other North Shore hopefuls in the Olympic experience.
Jo Aleh will compete in the women’s 470 Class, Jon-Paul Tobin in the RS-X event and Sara Winther in the Laser Radial. The Takapuna Boating Club trio of stars will be joined by paddlers Ben Fouhy and Lisa Carrington who are both also familiar faces at the club.
Club Commodore Evelyn Johnson is bursting with pride at the prospect of this number of Olympians-to-be setting forth for London from the club.
“We are extremely proud of our long, long history of Olympians, but this is the biggest number we’ve had yet competing at one Olympic Games.
“It’s very exciting in particular that we have our three elite yachtsmen and women competing, but that we also have paddlers too. That broadens the range and adds even more names to the list this time.”
And the list does not end there. There is also a hopeful chance of Dan Slater making the London Games - he was vying for Olympic selection in the Finn Class at in the 2012 Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth, England in late May. Takapuna Boating Club star and local architect Paul Francis will also be competing in the 2.4 metre Keelboat in London in the subsequent Paralympic Games to be held from August 29 to September 9.
All the North Shore competitors are fully immersed in their pre-Olympic training overseas in preparation for the Games’ sailing components. The ten different events are scheduled to run over 14 days, starting 29th July, in Weymouth Bay on the South Coast of England.
The 380 sailing competitors from across the world will stay in the ‘Sailing Village’ at Osprey Quay in Weymouth. The 84 residential apartments will be the temporary home for the Kiwis during July and August.
All will be offered the opportunity to attend the Opening Ceremony for the Games on Friday 27 July and can choose to stay on after their events to give fellow Kiwi Olympians their support and have an almighty party at the event’s Closing Ceremony.
With some of the North Shore’s finest sportsmen and women at the helm, the region - and the nation - will be willing the winds to be kind to the Kiwis this winter.

2012 London Olympics that kick off on July 27th and run through until August 12th.


by Heather Vermeer