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National Youth Match-Racing title to Burling brothers and Blair Tuke

by Event Media on 6 Sep 2009
Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Scott Burling SW

From last Thursday to Sunday 6th September the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club (Wellington) once again hosted the New Zealand Youth Match Racing National Championships.

Matthew Steven was back to defend his crown with Matthew Clough and Josh Porebski as crew. He wasn’t going to have it all his own way as Peter Burling (helm) and Blair Tuke (having a week out from their 49er Olympic campaign) with Peter's brother Scott were having a tilt at the title. If that wasn't enough Matthew had to keep an eye on his squad mates from Wellington with Josh Junior (winner 2 years ago and current world university games match-race champion, finished 11th at the laser worlds last week) with crew Michael Cook and Chris Jones entering a team

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron sent a team led by William Tiller who is on form having won the Governor's Cup in the United States earlier this year with crew Jono Spurdle and Chris Staub . The South Island was represented by Harry Thurston and his team from Canterbury.

The inclusion of women's match racing in the Olympics has seen three girls step up to the plate as skippers this year. Naomi Mannering from Napier, Michele Lochhead from New Plymouth and Sarah Berry from Wellington all led teams in this year's regatta.

As expected the racing initially between the top teams was close – William Tiller was top after the first round robin, while Josh Junior ended up top qualifier once the 2 qualifying round robins were completed, losing only once to Matt Steven and once to Harry Thurston, Burling was second qualifier. Berry was the top girls skipper.

As is done in Match-Racing, Josh being top qualifier was able to choose his opponent for the semi final … he picked William having already beaten him both times in qualifying leaving Peter Burling and Matt Steven to fight out the other semi. The semis were sailed late Saturday afternoon in beautiful conditions (10-12 knots). William Tiller won 2-0 over Josh Junior while Peter Burling prevailed 2-0 over Matt Steven.

The best of 5 final was programmed for Sunday morning – after waiting for the wind to fill in, again a beautiful match-racing breeze of around 8 knots obliged. William won the first race while Peter bounced back to win the next 3 races to win the NZ title. Josh was 3rd beating Matt 2-1.

Representing Tauranga, for Peter Burling (18) this was his first chance to helm in matchracing since winning the Starling match-racing twice (2005 and 2006). Blair Tuke was stepping onto an Elliot 6 for the first time while Scott Burling is on the RNZYS youth match-racing program sailing Elliot 6s each week in Auckland.

To link to regatta site http://www.rpnyc.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=586&Itemid=215!click_here
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