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January 14, 2014


Please click below for my new website!   Thanks!

October 12, 2012

2012 Olympic Games Wrap

It has been a while since you have heard from me, when you compete at an  event as significant as the Olympics  it takes a while to reflect afterwards and that is exactly what I have been doing!

The Olympic games was an experience like no other. You plan and prepare for an event like this by talking to people who have been there and done it, but I now know that until you actually live and experience it for yourself  that you don’t truly realize what it is like.

My Olympic regatta was disappointing as I failed to lift my game to where it needed to be. The racing was the closest and hardest I have ever sailed in, everyone sailed so well, coupled with quality supplied gear, it just brought everyone that much closer.

The medalist were extremely deserving of their results, and it was awesome watching the final result unfold in the medal race, tinged with sadness and frustration that I wasn’t in it of course. The radial class had the closest points situation of any fleet going into the final race which made it even more interesting to watch.

Having been home for a few weeks, the time has given me a chance to really look back at how the past 4 years unfolded. There were some awesome results along the way, but I now know what it really takes to be on the podium. I think it has made me a better and stronger person, I have learned so much and have a new level of confidence that I will take into my next competition.

With my support team at  HPSNZ I have undergone a very thorough campaign debrief, and have gathered so many learning’s which I can apply in the future. Marko has been an unwavering support especially as we dealt with him not being at the Olympic’s with me, we have both had some amazing learning times.

As for now, I am working on my “ one day list” .. (you know the one we all have.. “one day when I have time I will get around to it…” I am also planning for  university next year. I have a new guy in my life… TED my dog, so my current role is puppy trainer.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over this campaign. Without all your support there would have been no way I would have been able to do what I do.

As for the future, I have the desire to be in Rio, and will be going though a pretty comprehensive study to make sure we can continue without making the same mistakes as last time – and believe me bikes are banned next time round!

So watch this space, and I would really appreciate your ongoing support to continue. 

All the best

July 9, 2012


From tomorrow onwards I enter the athlete black out period, which means as and Olympic athlete I am not allowed to be associated with any of my sponsors until the Games are over. 

I would just like to say a huge thanks to all my sponsors you can see (on the left hand side) and all my suporters over the last 4 years. 

Without your support I would not be here today and having to remove all your logo's from this website!!

But will be be keeping this site updated (albiet possible not so frequently) and will also be using my facebook and twitter more. 

So thanks again everyone!!! Bring on London. 

Twitter: @WintherNZL

Final Countdown

Marko and I after winning ISAF World Cup In Spain

Since the last update, I managed despite Marko’s accident to get a good two weeks training in Weymouth with the GBR team.  Charlie Bailie Strong who was helping me out, was awesome and we really stuck to the original plan and got things ticked off as we were meant to.

It was a fun few weeks, with Charlie introducing me to darts, and British pubs and football - not a bad way to chill out in the evenings.

I have been back in NZ for 1 week now and spending the time just generally relaxing, gettingback into the gym and organizing the final logistics for the games.

Unfortunately I also returned to the news that Marko (Marko Orams my coach) will not be able to return with me back to Weymouth for the games. Marko shattered both his radial head bones during a bike accident during Sail for Gold regatta, and underwent two operations in Weymouth to put them back together. We were optimistic that we had enough time for his arms to heal well enough for him to come back, but this is unfortunately not the case.

Marko has been the backbone to my campaign over the last 18 months; he has completely orientated his home and work life to support my dream of going to the Olympics. Through the good times and bad he has always believed in my ability and given me the confidence and support to get me where I am today.

As hard as it has been for all of us, my support team and YNZ have been great and have come up with a new coaching team for me. Caroline Brisbois will help me out when I first get over to the Weymouth, then Ian Neely will come straight from the ISAF Youth Worlds to coach me during the games.

So things are back on track, and cant wait to get over there and just get on with it. The NZL team is in good spirits and everyone is looking forward to getting there and getting racing.

I would lastly like to thank Marko and his family for all their support over the last 18 months. Marko is still my coach, and all the hard work has been done, he just wont be there this regatta to give me my drink bottle!

Onwards and upwards and I am ready – Bring on London!

July 8, 2012

Sujon Berries

Thanks to Colin at Sujon, I will now be enjoying my Sujon Berry Powder at the Olympic Games. Tastes great and helps get through training and long days on the water. 
Check it out at

June 12, 2012

Not quite to plan...

Well things have been a bit up and down over here. After the worlds Marko and I had a good trip to Weymouth and both settled in to Weymouth life etc. The weather was awesome and did some really good sailing prior to the event with the GBR radial squad.

Our house has been and still if full, as most of us are staying over here training before the Olympics.

Sail for gold didn’t quite go to plan for me, I started of the event with 2 not so great races and a yellow flag. The next day I managed to get another OCS ( I apparently an becoming an expert at this) then didn’t really lock into the tide pattern well enough for the rest of the day.  This really became the story of my week, not really being onto the things in the race that would make a difference. So the outcome naturally was not fantastic, and also I only got to sail a 6 race series. But our house was quite successful with Jo and Polly winning and Paul and Jason finishing 3rd! Super happy for both the teams!

Day 1 of the regatta Marko had a cycling accident and was unable to keep coaching me for the remainder of the regatta. He now has to go home for the remainder of his recovery but should be all good in a few weeks.

But on the positive note I have a new coach for my next few weeks over here. Charlie Baillie Strong grew up here sailing lasers and is now living in NZ (but was over here coaching the NZ Paralympic team) is kindly staying on to help me with my training over here. I am stoked that Charlie is keen to help me, and now I have a UK coach, and Marko watching eagerly from NZ.

So a slight change of plans over here, but still the fundamentals of my program are the same. I have a good stint of racing and training lined up over here, and am really looking forward to getting into it.

So that’s is from over here, Marko should be home by Tuesday all going to plan. 

June 3, 2012

All Set - Skandia Sail for Gold 2012

The waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour will be filled with the stars of sailing over the next couple of weeks as the team's training camps at the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition venue turn serious as the sixth ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta, Skandia Sail for Gold gets going.
The 523 entries from 59 nations will feature 723 athletes and while numbers might be down on last year - when many nations used the event to select their Olympic teams - there's no doubt that the cream of world sailing will be racing at Skandia Sail for Gold

May 28, 2012

Weymouth Life Begins

Our ride this morning - Nath, Marko and Me. 

After a disappointing worlds champs - struggling to hit any form after my double yellow flags, I have moved on and literally moved on to Weymouth - the 2012 Olympic venue. 

Marko and I arrived just under a week ago, and have had a 3 day camp already. The weather thus far has been amazing, and we have had some really great sailing. 

Of course typical kiwi style we have been doing lots of other stuff, I mainly have been riding, and Marko has been SUP'in with the other kiwi crew. 
Going sailing at Weymouth Sailing Club

OUr house here in Weymouth is starting to fill up, as there is 8 of us from the Kiwi team living here, so there are bound to me a few laughs around the place. 

The next event on the calendar is Sail for Gold, which is the last big event before the games. It will be great to get back into after what happened in Germany. 

But until then it is happy training and continuing to research the waters of Weymouth. 

Ciao for now. 

May 14, 2012

Laser Radial Vorld Championships!

The 2012 Audi Laser Radial Worlds kick off tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1pm. We have 135 entries and will race in 2 fleets.

My prep for the event has been good. The first couple of days I arrived it was freezing, but then it got a little warmer, then cold again. So will just depend where the wind is coming from how cold it is…but I hope its warm!

I have been training most of the week with my mate from Australia Krystal Weir, we have had some good sessions and also a bit of fun – as there is not much to do here in Boltenhagen!

The marina facilities are using are awesome, the entire complex seems brand new. Most of the fleet are staying in either the apartments or hotel at the marina…so you can barely walk 10 steps without bumping into someone!

The wind we have seen to date has been very very shifty. This event is going to be very tricky to sail – and I think who ever can be most consistent will win.

Well that’s all from here, its off to opening ceremony and then home to gets some rest for tomorrow.

Thanks for the support. 

May 5, 2012

Back to Europe

Marko abord Steinlarger 2
Although it was a short stint back in Auckland, is was nice to be home, and the weather was awesome which was a bonus!

My two and half weeks was well spent in the gym and catching up with people making sure everything thing was in place for this next trip in Europe which will be a long and important phase leading up to the games.

I am at present flying to Singapore then en route to Germany for the 2012 Laser Radial worlds. Currently the kiwi boys team are racing their worlds in the same venue. We are racing in a small town called Boltenhagen, which is in the very North of Germany.  From what I have seen and heard, I

think this could be the coldest regatta I have ever sailed in! Luckily I havw the best gear in the world to keep me warm, and my ski jacket if all else fails!

I have a week to get everything sorted then racing kicks off on the 15th May. 4 days after the Men’s event finishes.

Marko my coach will be flying up on Tuesday to join me, but yesterday he was out on the gulf bringing his old boat Steinlarger 2 back into Auckland. Marko sailed around the world on this boat with Sir Peter Blake in 1989/ 1990  – and I just couldn’t help not to include this photo with Marko center front in the stubbies…with thermals underneath!

Thats all from me, will update just before we start racing.

April 7, 2012

Tough week in Palma!

Race 4 boat end start, looking to head right!

It has been (as my title says) a tough week here in Palma. Eight out of 10 races were sailed in 4-8 knots, with a sloppy sea state and oscillating breeze. The last 2 races we were finally able to stretch the legs and hike, but the best part was the massive swell downwind we got to surf.

I have had some not so good races, including a OCS (when I was 3rd) and a swim when I was 2nd! And a few general brain explosions around the race course.

But looking back on my last few days of racings, I think I have made my most tactical break-through I have made in quite a while. I really got on top of my game in oscillating conditions, and looking forward to taking this through to the next event in Germany.

So overall I finished 13th, and although not happy about this, as there many points I just threw away, I will move on and now look towards the week of training I have here next week.

Palma is just getting hotter and hotter and hopefully we will see a little more breeze than we had this week. 

Thanks for the support everyone. Cheers Sara

April 1, 2012

All set for World Cup

I have settled in here in Palma, have had a good week training with various sailors and with Marko out on the water with me, and everything is in place for the World Cup starting tomorrow. 

In the morning, looking towards our yacht club, with all the cycling about to leave for their ride. 
The weather each day is nicer and nicer, and the wind is settling into its normal sea breeze patten. 

Even tho the town here is full of sailors, there seems to be about 10 German cyclists to every 1 sailor! 

So the plan is 2 races per day starting at 11am - but if the weather stays the same, we might be postponed for a little bit. 

Thats all for here, will update with progress during the week. 

March 21, 2012

On Tour

A wet and cold container unpack in Valencia!
It’s that time again when I head over to Europe to begin the European racing season.

It has been a busy summer being one of the 12 selected sailors for the Olympic team, and finalizing plans and getting documents signed in preparation for the Olympics.

The year started with the NZ Laser Nationals, which I managed to win the open and women’s division for the first time. It was my first time racing in Wellington and it lived up to its reputation.

Next up was Sail Auckland. I used this event to get some of my wider support team out of the water with Marko my coach. I again won this event which I was really
pleased about as I had a bit of an injury leading up to the event, so was happy to get the win in these circumstances.

And just last week I was in Brisbane coaching 6 masters sailors at their world champs. This group included my coach in the Masters division, and my training partner Scott Leith in the apprentice masters division. Unfortunately I had to come home half way through the event to get organized for Europe but they all did awesome (possible better) without me! Marko, Scott and also Mike Keeton all are new world champions; so really cool to see them all sail so well.
The 'Flash Mob' at the Masters Worlds

So as I said I am off to Europe, first regatta of the season is the World Cup in Palma, Mallorca, Spain.  I did this last and was successful in winning it, so really keen to repeat this performance.

As per usual we have a few logistics to get ticked off first before we can go sailing, we fly to Barcelona, pick up cars, get tow bars fitted, then we drive to Valencia, pick up all the boats and then finally catch the ferry to Valencia. This is my 4th time doing this exact routine, so we have things pretty sussed – we hope.

I am travelling with the two 470 teams – which is really not great, as I just get picked on for sailing the ‘slow simple’  boat!

Ok, that’s all from me, I will be updating just before the event is due to begin.



February 6, 2012

Sail Auckland 2012 becalmed on final day

Date: 7 February 2012
By: Kristine Lederis
Me and the rest of the NZL Team after prize-giving!

The final day of Sail Auckland 2012 was plagued by light winds and extremely shifty conditions.

There were no races completed today in the 470, 420, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn, so final results in those divisions are the ones that remain from yesterday. The RS:X, SKUD 18 and 2.4mR were the lucky three classes to finish both of their races as scheduled, and the 29er and 49er skiffs had just one. 

“It was a beautiful day for doing anything outside- except sailing” Blair Tuke said after coming in from his single 49er race with sailing partner Peter Burling. “They had to shorten our race by one lap so we could finish, there was only between one and four knots of wind”. 

Peter and Blair are two of the twelve NZL Sailing Team sailors that have been selected to represent the country at the London 2012 Olympics. Although they were only racing against one other boat in this regatta, the time back on the water proved valuable. 

“It took us a while to get back into racing. The choppy water of the long weekend was a bit different than what we’re used to” Peter said. “The weekend was really shifty and testing conditions for us, and it was good to see all the international competitors here, even though they weren’t in our fleet”. 

All of New Zealand's selected Olympic representatives for the London 2012 games finished first in their respective fleets. 

As it was all week, racing in the RS:X 8.5 was extremely competitive on its final day. Australia’s Jessica Crisp demonstrated her experience and fitness, winning both of the races on Tuesday. Jannicke Stalstrom of Norway was hanging around the top five all week, but finally pushed through with two good results to finish the regatta in third, tied in overall points with Kohimarama Yacht Club’s Steffanie Williams in second. 

In the Men’s RS:X 9.5 fleet, World Champion Dorian Van Rijsselberghe also showed his class by finishing up the regatta with two first place finishes today to leave him second overall. Regatta leader from the previous three days, Richard Stauffacher, had an OCS result (over the start line early) which sadly bumped him back to third overall. Tae Hoon Lee of Korea has won the RS:X 9.5 by just one point over Dorian. 

Paul Francis of the Takapuna Boating Club won the final five races of the Paralympic 2.4mR class, and with this finished as top boat in that division. Paul Francis is one of the two sailors (the other is Brett Willcock of Charteris Bay, Canterbury) campaigning for selection to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The next major event for these two campaigners is Holland’s Delta Llyod Regatta in May.   

The Royal Akarana Yacht Club and their team of volunteers from several other Auckland Sailing Clubs have pulled off a fantastic regatta, feedback from the sailors has been top notch. They will now start planning for Sail Auckland 2013, also to be held The Landing at Okahu Bay. 

Getting in behind Sail Auckland is a team of dedicated sponsors including The Orakei Marina, Auckland Council, The Lion Foundation, Te Waihou Reserve New Zealand Spring Water and DB Breweries.

Sail Auckland 2012 FINAL STANDINGS
Olympic Classes

Laser top three
1st NZL Andrew Murdoch- 12pts
2nd KOR Jee Min Ha- 26pts
3rd NED Rutger Van Schaardenburg- 27pts

Laser Radial top three
1st NZL Sara Winther- 17pts
2nd NZL Logan Dunning Beck- 28th
3rd NZL Andrew McKenzie- 32pts

470 top three
1st NZL Paul Snow-Hansen & Jason Saunders – 10pts
2nd NZL Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie - 29pts
3rd KOR Chang Ju Kim & Kim Ji Hoon - 35pts

Finn top three
1st NZL Matt Coutts- 8 pts
2nd NZL Karl Purdie- 19 pts
3rd NZL Brad Douglas- 24pts

RS:X 9.5 (Men) top three
1st KOR Tae Hoon Lee- 30pts
2nd NED Dorian van Rijsselberge - 31pts
3rd SUI Richard Stauffacher- 39 pts

RS:X 8.5 (Women and youth) top three
1st  AUS Jessica Crisp NZL- 25pts
2nd NZL Steffanie Williams- 34pts
3rd NOR Jannicke Stalstrom- 34pts

49er top two
1st NZL Peter Burling and Blair Tuke- 14pts
2nd NZL Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski- 21pts

Paralympic Classes
2.4 metre top three
1st NZL Paul Francis - 14pts
2nd NZL Brett Willcock- 18pts
3rd NZL Josh McKenzie Brown- 26pts

SKUD18 top two
1st NZL Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel – 12pts
2nd NZL Russell Phillips and Quentin Smith- 17pts

February 5, 2012

Sail Auckland 2012’s penultimate race day

Date: 6 February 2012
By: Kristine Lederis
Day 2 of racing - shifty easterly breeze in the harbour. 

Just one day remains for Sail Auckland 2012, New Zealand’s premier Olympic and Paralympic class regatta. Today saw slightly lighter winds and choppy water on most courses due to the influx of Waitangi Day holiday goers enjoying some time on the Waitemata Harbour.

Ray Hall, secretary of the New Zealand Finn Association reported on today’s racing from the Finn divisions. “There’s been good courses set, but boat wash has impacted us a wee bit” he said. “Racing today was quite tight with no Oscar flag (no pumping allowed). On the last race the whole fleet finished within 100 meters”.

“When it was a bit windier we saw Matt and Karl stretch out. Today was good for the main group to get back into place” continued Ray. The Finn class has been dominated by Matt Coutts who so far has won all nine races sailed, fending off two times OK Dinghy World Champion Karl Purdie and local Finn sailor Brad Douglas. 

“Karl and I got fairly close to Matt today, there was only about 20 seconds between us in one race. We have every chance to catch him on the last day tomorrow”. 

On the RS:X courses today, lighter wind and more disturbed water brought the need for a different style of sailing. Natalia Kosinska of the NZL Sailing Team had a solid day in lighter conditions, and has subsequently brought herself back up to the top of the RS:X 8.5m fleet after two wins and a fourth. Jessica Crisp sits only one point behind.  Richard Stauffacher of Switzerland still narrowly leads the Men’s RS:X 9.5 fleet, two points ahead of Tae Hoon Lee of Korea. 

The NZL Sailing Team’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie are reeling the points in over team mates Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders, sitting second and first overall respectively in the hotly contested Olympic 470 class.

Andrew Murdoch continues to hold on to his strong lead of the Laser fleet, he is now 14 points ahead of the next sailor, Jee Min Ha of Korea. Sara Winther is in a similar position in the Laser Radial Fleet, 11 points ahead of Wakatere Boating Club’s Logan Dunning Beck.  Andrew Mckenzie in the Laser Radial fleet is one to watch heading into the final day of the event, after two wins today he is in easy reach of finishing in the silver position. 

Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland of Murrays Bay Sailing Club had a fantastic day today in the 420 fleet, repeating the same performance as the first day of racing with three race wins in a row. They sit comfortably in first place overall, ahead of Club mates Gemma Jones and Tomer Simhoney who are twelve points behind in second place as the regatta heads into its last day tomorrow.  

Racing continues for the final day on Tuesday, from 11:00. Only two races are scheduled for most fleets, and three for the skiffs, so the sailors may enjoy a shorter day before packing up their gear and attending prize giving at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club at 6:30pm.

Getting in behind Sail Auckland is a team of dedicated sponsors including The Orakei Marina, Auckland Council, The Lion Foundation, Te Waihou Reserve New Zealand Spring Water and DB Breweries.

Sail Auckland 2012 Provisional Results
Day 3 - Olympic Classes
Laser top three
1st NZL Andrew Murdoch- 12pts
2nd KOR Jee Min Ha- 26pts
3rd NED Rutger Van Schaardenburg - 27pts

Laser Radial top three
1st NZL Sara Winther- 17pts
2nd NZL Logan Dunning Beck- 28th
3rd NZL Andrew McKenzie- 32pts

470 top three
1st NZL Paul Snow-Hansen & Jason Saunders – 10pts
2nd NZL Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie - 29pts
3rd KOR Chang Ju Kim & Kim Ji Hoon - 35pts

Finn top three
1st NZL Matt Coutts- 8 pts
2nd NZL Karl Purdie- 19 pts
3rd NZL Brad Douglas- 24pts

RS:X 9.5 (Men) top three
1st SUI Richard Stauffahcer- 23pts
2nd KOR Tae Hoon Lee- 25pts
3rd NED Dorian van Rijsselberge= 29 pts

RS:X 8.5 (Women and youth) top three
1st  NZL Natalia Kosinska - 22pts
2nd AUS Jessica Crisp- 23pts
3rd NZL Steffanie Williams- 25pts

49er top two
1st  NZL Peter Burling and Blair Tuke- 13pts
2nd NZL Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski- 19pts
Day 3 Standings Paralympic Classes

2.4 metre top three
1st NZL Brett Willcock- 6 pts
2nd NZL Paul Francis- 9 pts
3rd NZL Josh McKenzie Brown- 13pts

SKUD18 top two
1st NZL Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel – 5pts
2nd NZL Russell Phillips and Quentin Smith- 10pts

February 4, 2012

2012 Sail Auckland

Date: 5 February 2012
By: Kristine Lederis
NZL Sailing Team lead at Sail Auckland

Sail Auckland 2012 is now half way completed and the results are starting to take shape for competitive finishes.  
Day 1 - the only photo I could find!

New Zealand’s selected Olympians for 2012 are all proving their status as top in their fleet of NZ, and two National Champions are about to emerge as favourable conditions continued today.

The NZL Sailing Team’s Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders (Mens 470), Jo Aleh and Olivia Powire (Womens 470), Andrew Murdoch (Laser), Sara Winther (Laser Radial) and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) are all atop their fleet.  The other four members of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Team are not at this event as JP Tobin (Men’s RS:X ) is giving time for his foot wound to heal, and  Women’s Match Racing is not part of Sail Auckland, so Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt have a chance to cheer on their teammates from the shore. 

“Conditions have been pretty tricky actually; the easterly today was shifty and hard to get right.”  Jo Aleh is sailing in the 470 mixed fleet with sailing partner Olivia Powrie, and sits third overall and top females. “Things haven’t been quite right on our boat, we’ve often struggled for pace.”  

“We’ve had alot of races where somebody shoots 400m ahead right away after the start”. Jo continued to tell about her experience at Sail Auckland 2012, sailed from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club for the first time. “It’s pretty similar to sailing from Kohi (Kohimarama Yacht Club), we’re racing in the same spot really. Launching has been great and pretty easy too.”

January 23, 2012

New Zealand Laser Radial Champion!

I had a good day on the water in shifty conditions! The first 2 races went well and I managed to win them. Race 3, I had a great start, but the individual flag went up, and I couldn't see anyone further ahead of me, so I went back...but it wasn't me...bugger! So from there I struggled to catch up after this. Race 4, I just made a plan to stick close to Logan and ensure I won the event. Happy to get the job done. 

Would like to say a huge thanks to Greg and Sue Melville and Storm for looking after me very well this week, hope we have another event down here, so I can come back!

Now its back to Auckland to prepare for Sail Auckland on the 3rd Feb. 

January 22, 2012

Day 3 - 4 races in the Southerly!
After a few hours delay we got on the water and starting racing just before 2pm. We managed to get 4 races away in a cold Southerly that slowly moderated from 25knots to max of 15. I had an ok day with a 1, 12 (maybe) 1, 2. Logan and I seemed to be having some good battles around the course. I got a little keen on race two and slipped off my hiking strap, then after a good catch up, tried to clear weed from my rudder and capsized again...whoops. Start time 9.30am tomorrow! Overall results not up yet!

Me leading race 1

January 21, 2012

Day 2 cancelled!

Lots of breeze and lots of rain have cancelled day 2 of racing. So tomorrow will be a big day to try and catch up some of the 3 races we missed today. At home chillin out with the dog!

Photo's of day 1 racing are here...