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Volvo Ocean Race skipper wins the 2013 Harken Young 88 Nationals

by Mel Benton, RNZYS on 14 Apr 2013
Flash Gordon leads the way in the 2013 harken Young 88 nationals RNZYS Media©

Flash Gordon helmed by Volvo skipper Mike Sanderson and his crew have had a tough regatta but they have won the 2013 Harken Young 88 National Championships.

Consistency was the key and the well experienced crew of David Duff, Stuart Molloy, Richard Bouzaid, Shaun Mason, Phil Robertson and youngest crew member in the regatta Jonathan Nicholas, kept it cool to win with two seconds, a third, two fourths and a sixth equal to be first with only 21.5 points.

Dangerzone was next on 40 points. Lincoln Fraser helmed his yacht with another gun crew of Simon Baker, Geoff Wooley, Hayden Whitburn, Geoff England, Rodger Eaton and Guy Pilate. A DSQ proved their downfall with a massive 22 points following the Black Flag start in which Dangerzone and nine others were over the line. On a Black Flag start boats that are over at the start are immediately disqualified from the race.

The fleet was its usual close and nerve-wracking Young 88 self as on the starts they fought to get over the line. No one competitor has dominated the racing and the lead was shared amongst the top competitors. It has been a regatta of General Recalls with the use of all the starting rules up to the black flag disqualification.
With the breeze constantly flicking across the water with 40 to 60 degree shifts and a dying breeze on Sunday afternoon the regatta has been frustrating for all involved.

The general feeling following day one was of missed opportunities and that the crews needed to improve to be sure of their placing’s. Day two was a tougher day with every competitor feeling they had a chance to win.

The Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme crew of Helm Chris Steele, with coach Guy Pilkington, Dave Hazard, Scott Barnes, Callum Conroy, Jay Prestt, and Charlotte Moss were disappointed not to have done better. Said Coach Guy Pilkington on day one 'Yesterday we had a tough first race, we got caught and had to go deep, so that wasn’t a great start but we redeemed ourselves in the second race.'

Speaking with Chris Steele at Prizegiving the feeling was one of disappointment at their lack of performance on Day 2. However as usual the Lion Foundation crew members and graduates who sailed in a majority of the boats this weekend have excelled and represented their club well.

The Harken Young 88 National Championships is a fantastic mix of old and young with Young Magic having the oldest skipper Mason Pepper at 70 and Jonathan Nicholas the youngest on Flash Gordon at 12 years of age. Plenty of competition throughout the fleet ensures all competitors bring their best game to the table.

We look forward to another fantastic Young 88 fleet for the Royal New Zealand Club Marine Winter series starting 11th May 2013.

Results - Top 10 – Line

1st Mike Sanderson, Flash Gordon - 22.5 pts
2nd Lincoln Fraser, Danger Zone - 40 pts
3rd Bill Dalbeth, Waka Huia – 47 pts
4th Vaughn Clark, Sweeney Todd – 47 pts
5th Ross Masters, Outrageous - 47.5 pts
6th Ed Massey, Undercover - 53 pts
7th Zane Gifford, Abracadabra - 54.5
8th Andrew Fraser, Panama Jack - 55
9th Chris Steele, Sister Moonshine - 56
10th Nathan Williams, Slipstream III - 59

Results - Top 3 – Handicap

1st Vaughn Clark, Sweeney Todd - 22.5 pts
2nd Zane Gifford, Abracadabra - 40 pts
3rd Mason Pepper, Young Magic – 47 pts

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