Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Top NZer reflects on the ISAF Youth Worlds - the Road to Zadar

by Tomer Simhony on 20 Jul 2011
NZL off to a good start - Multihull - Race Day 2 - 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds, Zadar, Croatia Sime Sokota/ISAF Youth Worlds

Top finisher in the NZL International Yachting Trust Youth team, Tomer Simhony reflects on competing in the ISAF Youth World Championships held in Zadar, Croatia in the SL 16 class together with crew, Ellie Copeland as part of the Yachting New Zealand Trust Youth Team.

He reports:

After an emotionally draining regatta in the heat of the Mediterranean summer, Ellie and I finished in 5th place, which is an encouraging debut of our catamaran careers.

The sailing conditions were very difficult for the catamaran fleet with the course area presenting better breeze on one side while a consistent strong shift was present on the other, which when coupled with light to moderate wind, created big splits in the small fleet as each team drag-raced to their chosen side. Ellie and I started the competition in great form, and led after the first day.


However, superb sailing from teams such as Brazil and Denmark and a late comeback from Great Britain and Belgium eventually left us in 5th place. Our biggest faults were starting consistently in the bunch and lacking technique and weight to hold our lane in when dual trapezing (14kn +). Despite our downward fall throughout the regatta, Ellie and I are both still happy at this promising result especially considering it came in our first Youth Worlds, after only 6 months of sailing together and remarkably it was only our second ever catamaran competition of any kind.

Participation in the Youth Worlds required qualifying through attaining first youth boat in the Hobie nationals, sailed out of Takapuna. Our Hobie preparation was aided greatly by several part-time coaches such as previous owners, Alex Munro and Luke Stevenson; and also James Turner and Ben Goodwin who together laid the foundation of our catamaran experience. I wish to take a moment to acknowledge the huge logistical support and time put in by Andrew and Louise Copeland while trying to shuffle between the availability of coaches and the unlimited love and support from my own parents as well, who called me every single morning of the regatta with no judgement and only support and who without I would be nowhere. Winning the youth spot was a promising start to our campaign, however it was only the beginning of our journey; from then, with help from the Youth Team Leader, Ian Neely and catamaran coach James Sandal a rigorous training program was devised for the next 4 months.


From the beginning, we were presented with a rather serious issue. There is not one SL 16 in Australasia, and barring two or three in Brazil, I believe the whole southern hemisphere. The greatest issue was trying to find a boat with a modern, high aspect main, with also a gennaker for Ellie to learn with to try and prepare ourselves to what we would be sailing with at the Youth Worlds. This is where one of our biggest benefactors came into the picture. Matt Flynn, commodore of the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club, allowed Ellie and I, two inexperienced teenagers, to sail his own F-18, free of charge in order to train for the Youth Worlds. Matt Flynn?s generosity in giving us such an overpowered, high performance catamaran to pitch pole to our hearts? content made a huge impact on our learning curve and, together with input from coaches James Sandal, Brett Sellers and Ian Neely, our boat handling improved to no ends.

The last, yet still big, problem we had was the fact that Ellie and I would have zero experience in the SL 16 before the regatta, a prospect none of us fancied. After thinking on the matter, Ian found a 4 day training camp which was held by the manufacturers; Sirena, in France, a week before the regatta began.

This training camp provided invaluable time in the boat and helped us form friends and training partners from fellow competitors as well as the manufacturers. This camp, and the kindness that was shown to us was one of the highlights of my trip and I believe a crucial part of our subsequent success. Particular names I wish to mention and thank are JC, Gastion, Henry and Vincent Gueho and Yves Loday who helped us adjust to the boat very rapidly and were tremendously kind to us in all aspects of our time in France.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I would like to thank Shelley Hesson, a coach that has accompanied me through Optimist to 420, and now through my catamaran campaign. Shelley provided support, insightful coaching and encouragement throughout both France and Croatia which helped us tremendously.
The Youth Worlds presented me with a phenomenal wealth of knowledge, experience and good memories. However, our success in this on-the-mountain month could not and would not have been achieved without tremendous support from a lot of people.


First of all, the major financial backers of the Youth Team: The Yachting New Zealand Trust, SPARC and Oceanbridge, who without, this almost fully funded trip could not have been possible. Our principal coaches in New Zealand: Luke Stevenson, James Sandal, Brett Sellers and Ian Neely as well as Matt Flynn without whom, our learning of three distinctly different catamarans would have been greatly diminished. Our Youth Team coaches: Shelley Hesson, Jim Maloney and Ian Neely who, apart from looking after 12 rowdy kids, transformed our relayed feel of the boat down to simple solutions in settings and sailing technique while also helping with sail trim and batten set-up on shore.

My sailing background is quite typical of the New Zealand scene. I began sailing at the age of 8 in the Learn To Sail program of Murray's Bay Sailing Club. From then I moved through the Optimist class, competing internationally in New Caledonia and Mexico; the P Class and Starling which served as stepping stones before my next largest boat, the 420. Sailing and learning together with childhood best friend Brad Moss, the 420 taught me everything about sailing a double handed boat, mast and sail set up , and the invaluable lessons of team work.

Brad and I saw success national success through winning such competitions as the Sir Peter Blake Memorial Regatta and Sail Auckland, and travelled together to the 420 worlds in Israel. My subsequent move onto sailing catamarans was the result of scarcity of crews in 420, and inspiration and admiration resulting in the 33rd America's Cup. The sheer adrenalin of flying a hull, pitch-poling and even training with the AC 45's present in Auckland harbour create such strong hooks to me that I don't foresee myself giving up catamarans any time soon.

Wildwind 2016 660x82Insun - AC ProgramProtector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar