Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Image from an earlier New Zealand National Match Racing Championships. Image copyright Anne Hinton.
by Barry Davies
The 2009 New Zealand Match Racing Championships, sponsored by Telecom, are less than three weeks away and with a line up of top New Zealand match racers this event will host some highly competitive racing!
While last year’s winner Dean Barker is unavailable to defend his title due to Emirates Team New Zealand commitments, there will be plenty of sailors aspiring to the title. Rueben Corbett from The Royal New Zealand will be one to watch out for but he will face keen competition from sailors such as Laurie Jury, Simon Minoprio and Wataru Sakamoto from Japan. Rueben and his RNZYS crew recently won the prestigious Knickerbocker Cup in New York.
There will also be three female skippers with all female crews. Jess Smyth the current New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Champion will be battling it out up against Samantha Osborne, (winner of the recent Buddy Melges Women’s Match Racing Regatta in Sheboygan Wisconsin) and Stephanie Hazard who was third at the same event. These three ladies are not to be underestimated, and after having competed at this level previously, should give the boys a run for their money!
In addition, two youth teams are in the field. The Squadron’s Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme skipper Will Tiller and his crew will face-off against their counterparts from Wellington’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, led by Josh Junior. Tiller was the winning skipper at the 2009 Governor’s Cup Match Racing Regatta at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club last July. These teams will be out there to place their mark on the National match racing field; it will be interesting to see how they go!
With umpires coming from Australia, America and Russia, the participants’ are likely to see some intense racing on the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. Fantastic viewing can be found along the Westhaven Marina seawall and from the decks of the Squadron.
Anything can happen in match racing, and this event is no exception, as we eagerly await the racing to commence!
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron