New Zealand has won a mass of medals at the RYA Youth National Championships Regatta which wrapped up on Friday 18th April in Weymouth, UK.
The contingent of young kiwis collected one gold, two silver and two bronze medals across the range of skiff, double-handed and single-handed classes.
The major youth regatta has provided the young kiwis an opportunity to race in big fleets against some tough competition in the lead-up to the pinnacle regatta in mid July in Tavira, Portugal – the 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
Markus Somerville (Wakatere Boating Club) and Isaac McHardie (Hamilton Yacht Club) took the RYA Youth Nationals gold medal in the 29er skiff class after a tight battle with Britain’s best pair Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach. For Somerville this was a title defence having also sailed at this RYA regatta in 2013, then paired with Jack Simpson, the duo going on to win the 29er bronze medal at the 2013 ISAF Youth World Championship.
McHardie is also a proven talent for New Zealand helming the SL16 multihull at the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships to a gold medal.
The silver medals came from New Zealand’s single-handed sailors with Trent Rippey (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club) finishing a close 2nd in the Laser Radial class, while Ali Nightingale (Charteris Bay Yacht Club) was the second girl in the Laser Radial.
Sam Barnett and Zak Merton (both from the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club), New Zealand’s Boy’s 420 representatives secured the bronze medal in the 420 class in Weymouth last week.
Together Barnett and Merton sailed in the 2013 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team and finished 5th at last year’s ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships; the pair have shown excellent form in 2014 to date winning both the 2014 Australian Youth Trials Regatta and taking out the tough fought 420 class at 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland.
Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin from the Napier Sailing Club were 3rd female crew (and 9th overall in the 44-strong 420 fleet). And Patrick Haybittle, competing in the RS:X windsurfing placed 7th.
Yachting New Zealand’s Talent Development Manager Ian Neely was in Weymouth with the group, as part of the coaching team together with Jim Malonley. He says; 'Both Jim and I were really happy with how the event went for the NZL team, it was great for us to get some big fleet racing.'
'It helped to confirm where we are strong, but more importantly highlighted the areas of focus for our team to work on over the next few months as we lead in to the ISAF Worlds.'
The regatta is Britain’s pre-eminent regatta for youth sailors and the New Zealand contingent who took part are all members of the 2014 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team who are preparing for the 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. For their British rivals the regatta is a selection event determining who will represent Great Britain at July’s ISAF Youth Worlds. 2014 RYA Youth National Championship, Weymouth New Zealand’s Results
1st 29er Skiff Markus Somerville (Wakatere Boating Club) and Isaac McHardie (Hamilton Yacht Club/RAYC)
2nd Boy’s Laser Radial Trent Rippey (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
2nd Girl’s Laser Radial (14th overall) Ali Nightingale (Charteris Bay Yacht Club)
3rd Boy’s 420 Sam Barnett and Zak Merton (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
3rd Girl’s 420 (9th overall) Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin (Napier Sailing Club)
7th RS:X Patrick Haybittle (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
For the full results click here