Leigh sailor Cailen Rochford, aged 13, has set a course for the O’Pen Bic World Championships in Barcelona later this year, but will need some help from the community to get there.
Rochford, who is a student at Wentworth College, started sailing in the Optimist class at Sandspit Yacht Club before moving to the Manly Sailing Club, where he switched to the O’Pen Bic class. He is being trained by the club’s head coach Aaron Hume-Merry, as part of the Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation programme.
Rochford’s successes to date include third in the Under 13 Division at the National Championships in January, winning gold in the Whanganui Open Cup and Under 19 category, and second overall at the Wellington Open Bic Cup in April.
O’pen Bic is a relatively new class of sailing, involving a single-handed sailboat designed for young sailors. There are about 7000 boats worldwide, sailing in about 15 countries, with an estimated 700 in New Zealand and Australia.
Rochford says his goal is to one day sail for New Zealand at the Olympics.
The championships in Barcelona will be held from July 30 to August 4.
Rochford has launched a fundraising campaign to help meet some of the costs of competing. Info: isport.org.nz/campaigns/cailen-rochford-sailing