by RNZYS Media
Jeremy Lomas and his crew on Flash Gordon came from behind to win the 2014 Harken Young 88 National Championships by 2 points over Dangerzone, in what was a top performance under pressure on the final day.
Jeremy Lomas and crew come alongside the committee boat prior to the start of racing on Day 2 2014 Harken Young 88 Nationals
Flash Gordon couldn’t have had a worse start to Day 2, after receiving a black flag disqualification in the first race of the day. After two general recalls, Race Management imposed the black flag and Flash Gordon found themselves over the line and disqualified from the race.
It was not the start they were hoping for as Lomas recounted - 'Unfortunately we got a black flag which was less than ideal. The most pleasing thing was how we regrouped under pressure and didn’t get frustrated, we just kept going.'
Lomas pulled it back in the last two races, keeping his cool to win the ninth by a margin of nearly a minute and then pulling it back to finish third in the final race, securing victory in his first mono-hull racing since 2010.
'I’ve been lucky enough to win Y88 national titles in the past but this was by far the most rewarding after being away for such a long time. Having some of my best mates on board made it even better and we worked so well as a team. When we were coming off the water we weren’t sure if we had won but once we got the final word we were ecstatic!'
Dangerzone, the second place finisher in 2013, kept it consistent up the front throughout the regatta to claim second place honours again this year. Ahead at the end of Day 1, the crew picked up where they left off winning the first race of the day by a 24 second margin, and with the disqualification of Flash Gordon, all eyes were on them to win the title. They weren’t able to push on in the next two races, scoring two seventh place finishes - even with a win in the final race that wasn’t quite enough to claim the top spot.
Zane Gifford on Raging Hormones took third overall after a strong performance on Day 2, picking up a first, fifth and second in the last three races of the regatta to ensure a podium finish. This was Zane’s first Nationals helming Raging Hormones. It was great first time result for the team, he spoke of his regatta - 'We didn’t have the best first day but we came back strong today in nice testy conditions. The boat went really well so we are looking forward the Young 88 Sprint Series next season.'
Chris Steele and his Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme Team on board Abracadabra couldn’t quite surge into the top three overall today, however fourth out of 19 entries is a very positive result for YTP team who were right in it for the entire regatta. Steele reflected on the day - 'We just didn’t quite have the speed to get going. With the lighter wind it was harder to get in front. The competition was very tough throughout so we are still happy to finish fourth above the rest'.
Overall the regatta was a huge success with a fantastic two days of one design fleet racing. Race Management, Auckland weather and the competitors all came to the party ensuring we got 10 perfect races in. Race Officer Mike Best spoke of the regatta – 'I am very happy with how things went, we weren’t sure if we would even get 8 races in, but to get 10 competitive races in was more than we could ask for.'
But it was Lomas whose Prizegiving drink tasted the sweetest, winning the championship in style to claim bragging honours for another year at least. Lomas will now prepare with Emirates Team New Zealand for Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Qindao, China.