Saturday, 14 February 2009

National Bank Youth International Match Racing Championships

by Barry Davies

A fresh south easterly breeze greeted sailors on day two of the National Bank International Youth Match Racing Championships allowing for the second round robin to be completed. The semi-finalists have now been decided, with Josh Junior, from Wellington, flying into the top four undefeated with fourteen wins. Adrian Short, from the RNZYS, finished up on eleven wins, followed by Lucinda Whitty and William Tiller.

With gusts of up to 24 knots, the conditions were at the top end of the scale for today’s racing. A strong outgoing tide made pre-starts difficult, with many teams struggling to lay the pin. A tight pre-start between Josh Junior and William Tiller saw both teams down at the pin end, Junior in the better position to windward, and the tide forcing Tiller into the mark. Tiller was forced to carry a penalty around the course, while the race remained tight and fierce. It was a spectacular sight to see the two boats screaming towards the finish line in a big gust, Tiller taking his turn on the line.

The team from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron helmed by Lucinda Whitty proved why they should be in the top four, their boat handling skills and speed upwind defiantly a testament to their performance today. Despite having an injured crew member, they were able to carry on with another person on board. Mainsheet crew member Jye Murray came off the water for two races, Jeremy Dey from the RNZYS Youth Programme taking his place. Finishing off third after the two round robins, they are the only Australian team to make the semis, and are sure to put on a top performance tomorrow!

Josh Junior is defiantly the star performer of the regatta so far, his well trained crew proving extremely hard to beat. At the top of the table, they should be feeling confident and ready for the semi finals tomorrow. Jay Griffin and Jordan Reece will sail off for 5th and 6th, and Sam Goodchild and Samuel Sexton race for 7th and 8th.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

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