Entries are expected from as far away as Dunedin and Wellington for this year’s Knight Frank South Island Young 88 Championship.
The event to be held in Akaroa on 22 and 23 March is expected to provide some of the closest class keelboat racing of the season also drawing sailors from Nelson and Auckland to the event.
Humphrey Rolleston, whose Akaroa yacht Shibbeen won the event last year, will be defending the title this year. Helming the boat this year is Ryan Thompson. This will be the talented young sailor’s first South Island Champs as helm. Thompson (23) has helmed Shibbeen regularly in Akaroa Yacht Club racing for Rolleston. He has also competed competitively in the Starling Class and Hobie 16s. Represented New Zealand at the 2007 Hobie 16 Wold Championships Thompson was the best performing kiwi crew and 14th overall.
Dunedin yacht, Meltdown, is expected to make the voyage to Akaroa for their third attempt at the South Island title. Owner/skipper Richard Hawkins is a previous national winner in the Ross 780, Noelex 22 and Noelex 25 Classes. Second at last year’s event they are expected to put in a strong campaign this year.
The fleet from Lyttelton who have travelled to Akaroa for the event includes Flying Machine (Craig Edwards), Phil Folter’s Full Circle and Legacy II (Colin Lock).
Sponsors, Knight Frank, are supporting the Young 88 event for the fourth year. MD Layne Harwood is keen to encourage Class keelboat racing in the South Island. 'The Young 88 provides some of the best class keelboat racing in New Zealand and it’s great to see the class continuing to race competitively in Canterbury' he says. Knight Frank have also recently sponsored a new 18 foot skiff being campaigned by South Islanders Riley Dean, Matt Coutts and John Little. The young crew had a good performance in their first major event, the prestigious JJ Giltinan world champs regatta, sailed in Sydney earlier this month. Knight Frank were 14th overall and second on handicap for the event.
Winner of this year’s Presidents Cup Canterbury Keelboat Champs, in Akaroa, Craig Edwards says a lack of marina facilities is still a big issue facing sailing in Canterbury. 'A number of boats were wrecked in the storm earlier this month in Lyttelton and Akaroa. This just highlights again how urgently Canterbury needs a safe marina' Edwards says. The Young 88 Association South Island Representative predicts a huge increase in recreational boating and resurgence in competitive keelboat sailing in Canterbury once a new marina is established in Lyttelton.