It’s not often a team of 17-21 year olds get ‘given the keys’ to an X-Yacht, let alone a high performance XP-44!
But that’s what has happened for 11 members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme. With the help of YTP Graduate Gavin Brady the owners Laurie and Terry Needham are excited to have the youth programme team campaign ‘Lawless’ in the largest keelboat racing event in Auckland, the Jack Tar Auckland Regatta.
‘Lawless’ an XP-44, is a 44 foot high performance cruiser designed and built by X-Yachts in Denmark. However, don’t be fooled by the cruiser title, these boats really get moving when sailed right. The boat has the option of running asymmetric and symmetric spinnakers providing plenty of options downwind.
The Jack Tar Auckland Regatta will be sailed over 3 days, from the 21st - 23rd of March. Racing will be in predominately windward leeward courses with one harbour race. The annual event is the largest keelboat regatta in Auckland and jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club.
Crewing the boat is a full YTP crew with Coach Guy Pilkington on tactics at the back. 'It will be great to see how the young guys manage the bigger boat, especially those dip pole gybes' commented Pilkington.
The full crew list for the regatta is:
Helm Chris Steele
Tactician Guy Pilkington
Main James Roberts
Trim Alex Dyet, Connor Mashlan, Alex Burrow
Pitman Jake Stanley-Harris
Floater Luisa Schumann
Mast Jacob Willis
Mid-bow Byron van Vugt
Bow Josh Salthouse
Steele is just 21 years of age with two dinghy world championships under his belt and holds 22nd spot ISAF World Match racing rankings. In December Steele and his Youth Programme team won back to back youth match racing titles in Sydney, and he is now looking forward to the fleet racing and building a strong team onboard ‘Lawless’.
During the weeks leading up to the event the youth team have been training with local mentors, Chris Dickson, Joey Allen and YTP Graduate James Dagg. 'Having these guys on the boat and our theory ‘dock sessions’ have been invaluable' commented Steele. 'Obviously they all have an immense knowledge of everything about sailing and we have been so lucky that they have given up their time to pass on some of this knowledge to us.'
'We are entered in the largest ‘B’ Division and our aim is certainly a podium finish, but we are going to just sail the boat as best we can and see how our results line up. We have a strong crew of young guys and we are certainly all up for the challenge and can’t wait for racing to begin!'
A practice race is scheduled for Friday and windward/leewards racing begins at 10am on Saturday 22nd March, full results and event information can be found on the Jack Tar Auckland Regatta event website – www.aucklandregatta.co.nz
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme is much more than a sail training programme!
'The best youth training programme in the world.'
Grant Dalton – Managing Director, Emirates Team New Zealand.
Applications are now open for the 2014/2015 season! Visit our website - www.rnzys.org.nz
/ Youth Programme