New Zealander Chris Steele has returned to the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship to defend his title with a new team and is in red hot form after winning the Harken Youth Match Racing Championship this past weekend.
Steele, representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and his crew of Connor Mashlan, Dylan Wichman and George Brasell are one of three New Zealand teams competing in the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship, which is being hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, over the coming week (26-29 November).
'This will be my last youth match racing regatta, so I’m aiming to go out on a high. Last week we didn’t lose a match the entire regatta – I’d like to aim for that again this week,' Steele said. 'The crew I’m sailing with this week is different but we have trained together.'
Steele is the highest ranked skipper in this event and over the last 12 months has notched up some impressive results including second in the Governor’s Cup (USA); second in the Kintec Summer Invitational Match Racing Regatta (CAN); second at the US Grand Slam – Chicago, USA; second at the International Match Race for the Detroit Cup and third at the Hardy Cup.
Steele also finished ninth in his first grade one match racing regatta, the Argo Group Gold Cup - Alpari World Match Racing Tour, after receiving a wild card entry. He missed out on competing in the quarter-finals on countback.
'It’s good to be back in the youth events after competing overseas this year. There’s some good young skippers in this regatta and we’ll have our work cut out for us. It can be tough when you’re up against these young guys - they can do something outrageous, that isn’t what you’re taught or anticipated they would do, and the manoeuvre can end up working giving them an advantage,' Steele added.
Rawiri Geddes will skipper the second RNZYS team with Sam Mackay leading the team from Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Harry Price and Murray Jones will represented the host club, the CYCA, with Price the second highest ranked skipper in the regatta. In September, Price finished second to Sam Gilmour at the Australian Youth Match Racing Championship with Jones third.
Milly Bennett leads one of two all-girl crews in the regatta, representing Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Bennett finished second in the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship in September and placed fifth in the Australian Youth Match Racing Championships.
Carolyn Smith skippers the second all-girl crew representing Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Smith will benefit from some local knowledge with two CYCA Youth Sailing Academy members Rosie Lee and Lauren Gallaway joining her crew.
Other international teams competing include Cercle Nautique Caledonien, New Caledonia with skipper Lucas Chatonnier and Balboa Yacht Club (host club of the Governor’s Cup) with skipper Christophe Killian.
Dylan Gore and his crew of Zac Pullen, Angus Barton and Jack McCullum will represent the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
'I would like to welcome all the crews to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and look forward to the close match racing that this regatta will showcase over the next four days,' said CYCA Commodore Howard Piggott.
'I would also like to thank Musto Australasia for their sponsorship of this regatta,' Commodore Piggott added.
Competition commences tomorrow, Tuesday 26 November at 1000hrs in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay on the CYCA’s Elliott 7s with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting southerly 15-25 knots with a chance of showers in the morning.
Race results will be updated throughout the course of the regatta - click here
by Jennifer Crooks, CYCA Media
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9:51 AM Mon 25 Nov 2013GMT
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