NZL Sailing Team- Three new additions to NZL Sailing Team

New Zealand team Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders: - 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship
© Laurens Morel

Top results at pinnacle international regattas have seen three sailors added to the NZL Sailing Team - Yachting New Zealand’s group of top level Olympic class campaigners.

The announcements broaden the range of the NZL Sailing Team with a woman windsurfer back on the team and a mixed multihull campaign for the first time ever.

The sailors named are 32 year-old windsurfer Natalia Kosinska, and Nacra 17 mixed multihull duo Gemma Jones (19 years old, Murrays Bay Sailing Club) and Jason Saunders (22 years old, Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club).

Inclusion in the NZL Sailing Team must be earned through performance at key international regattas and means greater support from Yachting New Zealand’s Olympic program through our partnership with High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Natalia Kosinska placed fifth at the Women’s RS:X European Championship sailed at Brest, France in July. Kosinska campaigned the RS:X through the last Olympic cycle with some impressive results including a top ten at 2011 Weymouth and Portland Regatta.

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders finished ninth overall at the inaugural Nacra 17 World Championships sailed at The Hague, Netherlands also in July.

'We are very pleased to have made it into the NZL Sailing Team and look forward to working with Yachting New Zealand on our programme and the assistance that is provided through HPSNZ regarding all aspect of our campaign,' says Jones.

'We are confident this help will enable us to move up the fleet further and ultimately reach our goal of a medal in 2016. The Nacra 17 class is new therefore it has been a huge learning curve for us - however we have enjoyed the challenge and it has been a fun journey and exciting times.'

In May 2012 the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) selected the Nacra 17 as the equipment for the new mixed multihull class; Rio 2016 will be the first time a mixed gender discipline features in the Olympic sailing regatta. Jones and Saunders paired up to campaign the class earlier this year and have competed at four other European regattas after receiving their new Nacra catamaran in the lead-up to the July World Championship.

Saunders represented New Zealand at the 2012 London Olympics sailing finishing fifth in the Men’s 470 with Paul Snow-Hansen at the helm. Gemma Jones has represented New Zealand twice at ISAF Youth Worlds in 2011 and 2012 where she placed fifth in the SL16 multihull.

About the NZL Sailing Team

NZL Sailing Team includes New Zealand’s top Olympic campaigners who share the ultimate goal to win Olympic medals for New Zealand at the Rio Games in 2016.

NZL Sailing Team sailors all started out at grass roots yacht clubs around the country and with commitment, dedication and drive have risen to be world class athletes; they work hard in the gym, train long hours on the water and are supported by great coaches.