New Zealand won’t be missing the inaugural Star Sailors League Final in Nassau (Bahamas) with a promising young Andy Maloney. The 23 year old kiwi became a Youth World Champion at the age of 17 and now is very focused on becoming New Zealand's next Olympic Gold Medallist.
Andy Maloney in action on Day 1 of the 2013 Laser Worlds, Oman
With strong performances at the key events in 2011, he missed out on 2012 Olympic selection to the older and more experienced member of NZ team, but he set some major goals for 2012 and achieved the Bronze medal at the 2012 Laser Standard Senior World Championship.
This year he won the prestigious Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia in Mallorca and the Youth America’s Cup. And now Andy is ready to begin a new experience in the Star with an experienced crew: the Canadian Tyler Bjron.
'I think the SSL and its Final is a really cool initiative bringing together an amazing group of legendary sailors from all over the world. For myself to be involved as a wildcard entry and be in the company of the legends, racing against them will be an awesome experience and a great challenge that I am really looking forward to. I expect the SSL Final to be a very competitive event with immense talent on display.
For me, having never sailed a Star and teaming up with a crew I have never met, let alone sailed with before, will be a big challenge in itself but I am looking forward to that. I am going to Nassau with the aim of learning as much as I can from all the other sailors there and just give the racing my best without any great expectations. I am sure Tyler and I will have a lot of fun and hopefully we can put up a good fight in the racing.'
Tyler comes from a rich history of crewing in the Star Class with both father Peter ’72 and brother Kai ’00 representing Canada in the Games.
While it is unfortunate that Tyler’s Olympic teammate, Richard Clarke, was unavailable for this event, Tyler has a record of working with several different skippers and bringing out the best of their abilities on the race course. Teaming up with young accomplished Laser sailor Andy Maloney (NZL) will be no different.
'I love the challenge of working with new talented skippers to the class and Andy’s record on paper is pretty impressive. Especially since his bronze medal performance at the 2012 Laser Worlds' points out Tyler enthusiastically. With a background in all aspects of sailing, inshore/offshore, maxis/dinghies, racing/coaching, sailing has been a lifelong activity for Bjorn. Since the completion of the Games Tyler has put his focus on his family and developing youth sailors in his home town of Montreal.
'I get great satisfaction passing along the knowledge I have gained through decades of sailing. I enjoy watching youth athletes reach their potential and goals', says Bjorn.
As far as sailing in Nassau is concerned, 'Sailing in Nassau is a special place for me. This is where I won my first Major Star event back in 2010' says a proud Bjorn. 'Conditions are always spectacular and having a chance to compete against all those Class rivals in an event as significant as the SSL Final, I am EXCITED!'