Saturday 29 March 2008

Cushla Hume-Merry leads after penultimate race day at Laser Radial Womens Youth Worlds

by Marc Hill (Coach to Cushla Hume-Merry, NZL, pictured above)

Big day today!

The breeze off Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore, built from 14 knots to 18 in the last race. The first beat was about one nautical mile, with the outer loop being sailed. In terms of sea conditions, there was a largish set coming through, but good open spaces for some great downwind sailing.

In the races today, Cushla got two 1st places with Sarah Gunni (DEN) two 2nds and Gabrielle King (AUS) a 3rd in the last race.

In the last race the top three were well out in front, sailing very well and keeping it close between them. Sarah Gunni (DEN) lead for much of both races but was passed on the last downwind leg by Cushla, who went deep.

All that practice is paying off. Cushla seemed to have slightly more height - something we have been working on. She also received encouragement from a chance encounter with Dan Slater (NZ Olympic Finn rep. 2008).

Counting only first and second placings, after the discards, Cushla is now 6 points clear of Gabrielle King from Australia, in second, and 10 points ahead of Sarah Gunni, of Denmark, going into the final day of racing.

Big day tomorrow!

Cushla Hume-Merry

Day Five: Laser Radial Mens and Youth Worlds

by Olivia and Sarah Powrie

There were similar weather conditions again today for day five of the men and youth Laser Radial worlds. The north-easterly direction of breeze has held strong for the week bringing 15-20 knots of wind today. With the tide turning around one pm, the second race got underway in a one and a half metre swell.

There was no change to the top two placings in the Youth Mens fleet, with Andy Maloney (NZL) holding firm in the top spot, on fourteen points, and Martin Evans (GBR) still in second, on twenty-one points. Tom Burton (AUS) has moved up to third today, obviously enjoying the windier conditions, posting first and third placings in the races.

The two at the top of the Youth Female fleet have switched places again. Cushla Hume-Merry (NZL) scored two wins today to overtake Gabrielle King (AUS), who sits in second place. Sarah Gunni (DEN) has held on to third with two seconds, closing the points gap on the leaders as the second discard has come into effect.

With the top two in the Men’s fleet well out in front the race is on for third place, swapping around again today now that the second discard has been brought in. Michael Leigh (CAN) and Brad Funk (USA) both scored well today to sit thirteen points ahead of third place. Simon Morgan (AUS) jumped up into third place sitting on thirty-two points, closely followed by James Sandall (NZL) on thirty-five points and James Burman (AUS) on thirty-eight points.

Provisional Results after 10 races (and two discards), top five places

Men (senior)
1st CAN Leigh, Michael 12pts (2) 2 1 1 1 1 2 (10) 2 2
2nd USA Funk, Brad 19pts 1 3 2 2 5 2 (72 DNC) (7) 3 1
3rd AUS Morgan, Simon 32pts 7 (72 BFD) 5 3 2 4 6 (38) 1 4
4th NZL Sandall, James 35pts 6 1 (13) 7 9 5 1 1 5 (13)
5th AUS Burman, James 38pts (18) 4 6 4 4 (11) 8 5 4 3

Men (Youth)
1st NZL Maloney, Andrew 14.0pts 3 1 1 1 3 (ocs) 1 (4) 2 2
2nd GBR Evans, Martin 21.0pts (10)(12) 1 2 3 1 2 4 3 5
3rd AUS Burton, Tom 25.0pts (10)(bfd) 3 3 2 1 6 6 1 3
4th NED Moerman Maarten, Max 27.0pts (20) 9 2 4 1 2 3 (14) 5 1
5th NZL Meech, Sam 34.0pts 6 2 2 6 (11) 6 1 (34) 4 7

Women (Youth)
1st NZL Hume-Merry, Cushla 12.0pts 2 2 2 1 (6) 1 2 (17) 1 1
2nd AUS King, Gabrielle 18.0pts (4) 1 1 (7) 4 2 1 2 4 3
3rd DEN Gunni, Sarah 22.0pts 1 (bfd) 3 2 5 4 3 (13) 2 2
4th FRA de Kerangat, Mathilde 37.0pts (11) 3 7 (11) 7 3 5 1 6 5
5th IRL Murphy, Annalise 39.0pts (17) 4 6 4 3 9 4 (18) 5 4

Takapuna Worlds

Friday 28 March 2008

Cushla Hume-Merry's Day on the Water...

by Marc Hill (Coach to Cushla Hume-Merry)

It was a mixed day for Cushla today.

1st race: 15-16 knots of breeze, steadily dying with a lumpy but workable set. The beats were one nautical mile. Cush finished second in a clear group of three, with Australian Gabrielle King plus the Danish entrant, Sarah Gunni. Cush lost places downwind after leading both beats - one by 60 metres.

2nd race: There was a big sag in the start line, followed by a 30 degree shift to the left soon after the start which caught Cush out as she was well over to the starboard side and found it difficult to take a loss and get to the left. She never really recovered from this and finished the race in the mid teens, by far her worst result of the regatta so far, as she had not been out of the top six prior to this.

The French sailor, Mathilde de Kerangat, was good this afternoon. She started at the committee boat and worked out very quickly into a sound tactical position. Even though she was on the wrong end of the left shift she was able to work her way across to the left.

There are two strong Danish sailors and the Aussies are always in there. A couple of Americans are high up the fleet, but one got yellow flaged for pumping. This is something to watch.

Jo Aleh (NZ Olympic rep. 2008) is down at Takapuna Boating Club and is helping Cushla a lot.

The series is now poised with three capable of winning. It is possible that it could be decided on discards and the ability to remain focussed.

This Womens Youth event is getting exciting: a true test of minds!

Cushla Hume-Merry

Day Four: Laser Radial Worlds - Mens and Youth

by Olivia and Sarah Powrie

Windy conditions arrived this morning averaging eighteen knots; however by the starting time the breeze seemed to have settled in to around ten knots in a north-easterly direction.

Business as usual for Andy Maloney (NZL) again today, having another two ‘keepers’ with a first and fourth, stretching his lead to ten points in the Youth Mens fleet. Martin Evans (GBR) held on to second while Cam McKee (NZL) moved on up the score board with a third and first. Tonight the fleets are split into gold and silver.

The second race for the Youth Female fleet saw a few of the top sailors caught out by a big wind shift. Gabrielle King (AUS) took over the lead with a very consistent day, scoring a first and second. Cushla Hume-Merry (NZL) dropped back to second overall, after scoring a second and a seventeenth, while Sarah Gunni (DEN) held on to third place with a third and thirteenth.

The Mens fleet also saw a few upsets with some sailors scoring big as the wind shifted. Scoring the worst result of his regatta so far has done little to upset Michael Leigh’s (CAN) lead, he has a comfortable eleven point lead over Brad Funk (USA), who had to retire from race seven having snapped his mast. He bounced back with a seventh to hold a nine point lead over third place. James Sandall (NZL) had a perfect score today with two firsts to jump back into third.

Provisional Results after eight races (one discard)


1st CAN Leigh, Michael 10.0pts 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 (10)
2nd USA Funk, Brad 22.0pts 1 3 2 2 5 2 (72 DNC) 7
3rd NZL Sandall, James 30.0pts 6 1 (13) 7 9 5 1 1
4th NZL Andrews, Max 39.0pts 8 (24) 9 5 3 9 3 2
5th AUS Burman, James 42.0pts (18) 4 6 4 4 11 8 5

Mens Youth

1 NZL Maloney, Andrew 14.0pts 3 1 1 1 3 (ocs) 1 4
2 GBR Evans, Martin 23.0pts 10 (12) 1 2 3 1 2 4
3 NZL McKee, Cameron 26.0pts 2 4 (18) 10 2 4 3 1
4 FRA Florent, Blais 28.0pts (8) 2 6 3 4 7 5 1
5 AUS Burton, Tom 31.0pts 10 (bfd) 3 3 2 1 6 6

Womens Youth

1 AUS King, Gabrielle 15.0pts 4 1 1 (7) 4 2 1 2
2 NZL Hume-Merry, Cushla 16.0pts 2 2 2 1 6 1 2 (17)
3 DEN Gunni, Sarah 31.0pts 1 (bfd) 3 2 5 4 3 13
4 FRA de Kerangat, Mathilde 37.0pts (11) 3 7 11 7 3 5 1
5 USA Dennis, Claire 42.0pts 3 7 9 6 2 7 8 (14)

Takapuna Worlds

Thursday 27 March 2008

It's a Family Affair: Cushla and Aaron Hume-Merry are into Laser Radials

by SailRaceWin

Whilst Wellington sailor, Cushla Hume-Merry, aged 17, leads the Womens Youth section of the Laser Radial Worlds in Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore, her older brother, Aaron, is currently in 22nd place in the Mens senior championships. Aaron is one of the juniors in the senior fleet, and is currently placed as third Under 21 Kiwi (ninth internationally) overall, well up the rankings.

Cushla has plenty of family support for her goal of being New Zealand's Olympic representative, and medal winner, at the Olympic Games in Weymouth, England, in 2012. She is already exceeding her targets in training, and results in championships around the world, on the way to this, as was demonstrated by her attaining a place in the gold fleet in last week's senior Womens World championships.

After three days of racing in the Youth Worlds, and one discard, Cushla has only first and second placings in her score card, to give her a four point margin over her closest rival. In her review of the Womens Worlds and Preview of the Youth Worlds (below), Cushla referred to the current event as "My Youth Worlds". She is well on course to make this prediction a reality.

Cushla Hume-Merry

Day Three: Mens and Youth Laser Radial Worlds

by Olivia and Sarah Powrie

Conditions were again proving to be pretty spectacular with north-easterlies of 12-18 knot breezes off Takapuna Boating Club, giving the sailors a good workout in big waves. With the discard now in, results have seen a mix-up, but in all three fleets, the leaders continued to stay out in front of the opposition today.

In the Men’s Youth fleet, Andy Maloney (NZL) started the day off well with a third but slipped up with a starting penalty in race six. With the discard now in the results he is still eight points clear of second. Martin Evans (GBR) is now in second on seventeen points having scored a third and first today and Max Moerman Maarten (NED) is in third on eighteen points.

Cushla Hume-Merry (NZL) retains her lead in the Female Youth fleet with a four point margin over Gabrielle King (AUS) in second place. While Sarah Gunni (DEN) jumped up the score board into third place after discarding a starting penalty in race two.

Having not finished outside the top two in all of his races, Michael Leigh (CAN) is showing a dominant performance in the Men’s fleet, pulling away from Brad Funk (USA) in second place who is four points off the lead. Having been able to discard a starting penalty, Simon Morgan (AUS) sits in third place.

A fantastic effort has been made by the North Shore City Council, which is providing pasta each afternoon once racing is completed. It has been very well received by sailors, coaches and volunteers alike.

Provisional Results (after 6 races, with one discard)


Rank Nat SailNo Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st CAN 175948 Leigh Michael (2) 2 1 1 1 1 8 6
2nd USA 184454 Funk Brad 1 3 2 2 (5) 2 15 10
3rd AUS 169430 Morgan Simon 7 (72 BFD) 5 3 2 4 93 21
4th NZL 184685 Sandall James 6 1 (13) 7 9 5 41 28
5th AUS 188795 Burman James (18) 4 6 4 4 11 47 29

Youth - Men

No Sailno Name Scores 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 NZL 181961 Maloney Andrew 9.0 3 1 1 1 3 (ocs)
2 GBR 189362 Evans Martin 17.0 10 (12) 1 2 3 1
3 NED 178640 Moerman Maarten Max 18.0 (20) 9 2 4 1 2
4 AUS 191612 Burton Tom 19.0 10 (bfd) 3 3 2 1
5 NZL 185381 McKee Cameron 22.0 2 4 (18) 10 2 4

Youth - Women

No Sailno Name Scores 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 NZL 192278 Hume-Merry Cushla 8.0 2 2 2 1 (6) 1
2 AUS 186668 King Gabrielle 12.0 4 1 1 (7) 4 2
3 DEN 184984 Gunni Sarah 15.0 1 (bfd) 3 2 5 4
4 USA 182841 Dennis Claire 25.0 3 7 (9) 6 2 7
5 IRL 190587 Murphy Annalise 26.0 (17) 4 6 4 3 9

Takapuna Worlds

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Day Two Laser Radial Mens and Youth Worlds

by Olivia Powrie

Summer seemed to be trying to hold on this morning as sunshine greeted the competitors on day two of the men’s and youth contests. Being New Zealand this didn’t last long but where it counted, the weather came through again. Another day of steady 12-15 knot north-easterly breezes allowed the race committee to get another two races for each fleet away.

Starting first again today in moderate seas were the men’s youth fleet. Replicating Matt Vincent’s great start, Andy Maloney (NZL) produced two wins today giving him a comfortable nine point lead. Brazilian Guilherme Pereira moved into second place with a sixth and a fifth giving him fifteen points, just ahead of Sam Meech (NZL) on sixteen points in third place.

In the women’s fleet Cushla Hume-Merry (NZL) retained her lead today, after being very consistent with a string of seconds she posted her first win of the regatta reveling in the conditions the day brought. 'I was happy with my seconds and being so consistent but I sorted my downwind in the second race today and was pleased to get a win.'

Gabrielle King (AUS) held onto second place with a first and a seventh, while Claire Dennis (USA) leapt up the scoreboard having had a did not finish in race two reinstated with a seventh. She scored a ninth and sixth today to sit in third place.

In the men’s fleet, world ranked Laser sailors Michael Leigh (CAN) and Brad Funk (USA) have moved away from the fleet, points are still close between the pair, with Michael scoring two wins today and sitting on six points and Brad scoring two seconds and sitting on eight points.

Kiwi James Sandall is hanging on to third place on twenty-seven points.

Takapuna Worlds

Day One 2008 Laser Radial Men and Youth Worlds

by Olivia Powrie

Day One of the 2008 Laser Radial Men’s and Youth World Championship got underway today, starting on time at 11am. The day brought superb sailing conditions with a constant 8-10 knots of breeze from a north-easterly direction. With the pressure of getting four fleets underway (Youth Men’s split into two) and two races for each fleet each day, the race committee welcomed the consistent breeze.

Tide would have been mentioned in everyone’s conversation today as all the fleets are littered with numerous starting penalties with sailors being caught out by the spring tides. The Youth Men’s fleet being the worst hit with seventeen black flag penalties in the second race of the day.

New Zealand tops the leader board in both the Youth Men’s and Youth Female fleets. In the Youth Men’s fleet Matt Vincent pulled out a fantastic start to the regatta with two wins. Andy Maloney (NZL) is second equal on points with Guilherme Pereira (BRA) on one win and a third placing. In the Youth Female fleet Cushla Hume-Merry (NZL) is on four points with Gabrielle King (AUS) nipping at her heals in second on five points and Chloe Martin (GBR) third on twelve points.

The Men’s fleet is hotly contested with many local laser sailors taking advantage of a world contest nearby and jumping into the radial. Giving them a run for their money are top Laser sailors Brad Funk (USA) and Michael Leigh (CAN) who are first equal on points at the top of the Men’s fleet. James Sandall (NZL) is third on twelve points.

Takapuna Worlds

Cushla Hume-Merry summarises the Womens Radial Worlds and previews the Youth Radial Worlds

by Cushla Hume-Merry

Report of the Open Womans worlds

• Found the light weather challenging with the wind often shifting throughout the race. What seemed to be the favoured side in one race didn’t pay in the next. The tide played a big part in the race and it was important to know what the tide was doing and its time of change, using it to your advantage up and down wind. The experienced coaches were constantly doing tide analysis on the start line.

• The starting was very competitive with the fleet generally packed on the favoured side to the tide more than the wind. I found this very good training for the upcoming Youth Worlds. My starting progressively got better towards the end of the regatta but the 1 minute rule on not being able to be over the start line in the last minute (similar to the Black flag rule) caused a lot of general recalls and most starts ended up under the black flag.

• In the light air flat water, my speed has improved but I still need to work on the light air and chop as was the conditions on the 1st day of the finals where I struggled for boat speed.

• I was happy with getting into the gold fleet as it was predominately a light shifty air regatta with an average of 6 knots while my preference is wind coming from Wellington.

• The second day and last day was breezy which enabled me to test my heavy wind techniques against the overseas competition and in one race I got a seventh.

How I am feeling going into My Youth Worlds:

Energized, happy and looking forward to another week of challenging competition and weather patterns which from the forecasts can only be known at the time.

Cushla Hume-Merry