Josh Junior from Wellington took out the title for the National Bank International Youth Match Racing Championships in the final against RNZYS William Tiller today.
An easterly breeze of 8 – 12 knots made perfect conditions for Match Racing in the harbour today. Despite having a clean sweep through the two round robins, Junior had to fight hard to come away with the win. The first race of the day between these two saw a tight pre-start, with Tiller gaining a penalty for not keeping clear in a luffing situation.
However, with an extremely strong incoming tide, Tiller was first off the start line, forcing Junior to tack away into tide, causing a big split at the top mark, where Tiller had a comfortable lead. He held that lead all the way to the finish, completing his penalty just before the finish line with time to spare. Obviously an upset for the young Wellington team, they came back fighting in the second race, dominating the start and sailing straight to the sea wall (where there was minimal tide).
The third race saw some more smooth pre-start action from Junior, and he took the race. The fourth race came right down to the wire, Tiller leaving the start line with two penalties, one for tacking in Juniors water. Having to take one turn immediately, Junior took a lead from the start. However the upwind beat brought the boats neck and neck at the top mark, Tiller just edging in front. He had just enough of a lead to do his penalty before the finish line, where a nail biting finish saw both boats cross a split second apart.
With Tiller taking the race, it was all down to the last one. After a good start in the 5th race, Junior was able to get to the side he wanted, and get an advantage by being out of tide to lead at the top mark, win the race and the regatta.
So after sailing the maximum of five races, the winner was finally decided, Junior taking his victory swim coming back into the marina. You couldn’t have asked for more fierce competition from the RNZYS team however, William Tiller also happy with his performance on the water today. 'It was tough – pretty much whoever won the right hand side and got to the wall first won the race. We feel that we’ve really improved throughout the regatta, after having only three wins from the first round robin, we did pretty well to get to the final'. Tiller said at the end of today’s racing.
The petit finals also saw some close racing between Lucinda Whitty and Adrian Short, the first pre-start saw Adrian starting with a penalty, which he carried for the first upwind leg. However, by getting out of tide Adrian was able to cross just in front at the top mark, and extend to complete his penalty on the finish line. After forcing Lucinda over the start line in the second race, he lead around the course and finished with a comfortable margin, ending up 3rd overall.
With first, second and third places going to the New Zealand teams, we may have left the Aussies a little stumped. However, a fantastic effort from all competitors made for a great regatta. As the event ends, sailors are now friends more than competitors, as they now sit in the RNZYS Clubrooms enjoying the time to relax!