Kiwis dominate in International Friendship All Japan Junior YC Regatta

George with Gold after winning the Laser 4.7 class
Recently a young Kiwi team headed over to Japan for the annual three day youth regatta – the International Friendship All Japan Junior Yacht Club Regatta 2013 from the third – fifth of May. The team of three young and upcoming Kiwi sailors was led by North Sails New Zealand Purchasing Manager Hayden Whitburn who himself has competed in the very same regatta back in 2000.

The regatta has had a long affiliation with young kiwi kids with the opportunity to gain experience in an international event when they otherwise would not have got the opportunity with the pilgrimage now in its 25th year! Bruce Tantrum was the first coach to take a team of young sailors up there and is still an integral part of the trip being involved in the selection process. Picking the sailors is more of a review process which takes into consideration results from individuals throughout the year. This year, due to time constraints, the team had to be selected before the Optimist Nationals which were held in Timaru (South Island, NZ).


George Gautrey from Wellington was selected to sail the Laser 4.7. George has proved he is more than capable after finishing fifth in the 2013 P-Class Tanner Cup, third in the Tauranga Cup (which is the P-Class NZ nationals) and then going on to place second in the 2013 Starling Nationals.

Oliver Cowley from Blenheim was selected to sail the Optimist along with Tom Fyfe from Auckland. This turned out to be a bit of a coo for Fyfe after he stunned everyone and came fourth at the NZ Optimist nationals giving him two overseas trips. He will be a valuable member for this years Optimist Worlds team!


The regatta was run conjointly by the Japan Junior Yacht Club Union and the Ishikawa Sailing Federation out of the Wakura Spa Multipurpose Ground Yacht Harbor, five hours out of Osaka City. Other competitors came from Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and of course from all over Japan.

George Gautrey sailed an impressive regatta in the Laser 4.7 winning races by big margins. It was all on with the Optimist fleet. Oliver Cowley and Tom Fyfe were neck and neck with local sailors and showed some impressive starts and good boat handling. In the end Oliver took the overall win with Tom second and a Japan Optimist worlds team member third.

The Team spent a week in Osaka with a bit of time either side of the regatta to get out and see some sites and culture! This included Universal Studios, always a bit of fun! The team arrived back in NZ earlier last week.
Hayden and the team (George, Oliver and Tom) would like to thank Events Clothing and North Sails for all their valued support.

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