Published: Friday, 12 December 2014

Papua New Guinea is one of 33 countries represented at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Dec 7-14. A tight group of five young Papua New Guinean (PNG) Laser sailors are stepping up their 2015 Pacific Games competition program at this event – the largest Olympic sailing regatta in the southern hemisphere.

Family Affair For Young Papua New Guinea Laser Sailors

Graham Numa is coach and father to Raymond, John and Rose-Lee. He is uncle to the other two, Janet Vaa and Markson Charlie.

“The team has done a few international events, but not as many as we would like,” says Rose-Lee Numa. “It’s not enough. They really need to do a dozen a year or at least half a dozen a year.”

Rose-Lee is the exception having competed at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2012. She then went on to participate in ISAF’s Emerging Nations program in 2013 and 2014 -- a program aimed at assisting promising sailors from small nations who don’t have the funding or support they need.

Papua New Guinea is hosting the 2015 Pacific Games Jul 4-18, so the squad is being sponsored through the PNG Olympic Committee with government funding. “Twenty-two countries get together once every four years for the Pacific Games, almost like a mini-Olympics. Sailing is part of that event,” says Numa. “The government is funding the training and development programs for all the PNG athletes taking part in the Games.”

Family Affair For Young Papua New Guinea Laser Sailors 1

On his return home the team coach will apply for another round of funding hoping to use the financial support to set up a training camp for the squad in Sydney. If the funding comes through he will send the squad back to Australia to work with Laura Baldwin, Britain's Laser Radial representative at the 2004 Olympic Games and full-time coach since 2009. "We want to do the programme with her and then go onto racing in Sail Brisbane, which is a similar size fleet to here." 

Racing continues for the Laser and Laser Radial classes ahead of Sunday’s Medal Races.