Geologist Mentors Sailor for Olympics Triumph

American geologist Chris Goldfinger has been assisting national sailing representative Viliame Ratului with understanding aerodynamics, drawing a parallel between sails and wings.

The two first met in February at the Vuda marina.

Ratului, who has been sailing since he was nine years old, will be representing Fiji at the France Olympics in Paris later this month.

They were bid farewell at the Boat Shed in Vuda on Tuesday night.

The Savusavu native and the American share a passion for the water, which has cemented their friendship as they head to Paris today.

“When we met, the marina provided him with much-needed support,” said Goldfinger. “He didn’t have anyone to discuss sailing with.”

He continued, “We started talking about various aspects of sailing and improving his understanding of the mechanics behind it. As a pilot with knowledge of aerodynamics, I see the similarities between sails and wings.”

Goldfinger, who participated in intercollegiate races on the West Coast before his career, said, “We trained students to race boats similar to the one Billy Ratului is using now. Making the boat go fast requires precision, and he needs to execute it perfectly.”

Ratului’s early coaching came from Jeff Taylor in Savusavu.

Reflecting on his journey, Ratului said, “I am eagerly anticipating the competition. I didn’t realize this path, which began in Savusavu.”

He expressed gratitude for the support from his community.

Vuda Marina general manager Adam Wade noted that Ratului comes from a nation passionate about rugby, making his dedication to sailing groundbreaking.

Former national representative Tony Philip Sr remarked that Ratului is well-supported by the Vuda Marina and the Fiji Yachting Association.

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