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New Zealand Yachting Trust Youth Team warm up for Youth Worlds

by Jodie Bakewell-White 20 Dec 2015 00:35 PST 27 December 2015 - 3 January 2015

With less than two weeks until racing starts at the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships in Malaysia the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team are packing their bags and in the final countdown.

This year's Christmas will be one to remember for the sailors on the under-19 national team with the majority flying out from Auckland on December 23rd and set to spend Christmas Day together on the Malaysian Island of Langkawi.

"I am very excited about the raw talent we have in this year's NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team," says Yachting New Zealand's Talent Development Manager Ian Neely.

"This is a relatively young team with plenty of them eligible for future editions of the regatta," continues Neely. "But at the same time, many of these sailors have competed at other international regattas already, either at Optimist events or at youth class world championships."

"The ISAF Youth World Championships provides its own unique set of challenges, and the event is regarded by many as a youth version of the Olympic Games with the limited entries, and high pressure racing. Add to that a venue like Langkawi, Malaysia, where it's hard to predict what the race courses and weather will be like – all in all it is going to be challenging, and that's what we love."

A handful of the kiwi crews were in Australia last week to compete at Sailing World Cup Melbourne as they build and prepare towards the 2015 ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships, which run from 27 December to 3 January in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Windsurfer Lauren Mackenzie placed 4th in the RS:X women's racing in Melbourne. Both the boy's and girl's 420 crews competed in the 420 Open fleet - Kerensa Jennings and Chelsea Rees placed 5th overall while Jonathon Weston and Taylor Balogh were 7th.

Single-handed sailors George Gautrey and Ali Nightingale also competed, Gautrey finished 10th in the open Laser Radial, Nightingale was 9th in the Radial Women's fleet.

In Malaysia New Zealand will be represented in all nine events being contested in 2015.

Eight of the team represent the Murrays Bay Sailing Club on Auckland's north shore, but sailors hailing from the Canterbury and Wellington regions also feature in the line-up. They range in age from 15 to 18 years old with just one, Ali Nightingale, having represented New Zealand previously at ISAF Youth World Championships.

Plenty of the world's best known yachtsmen and women have competed and medalled at the ISAF Youth World Championships which date back to 1971.

Among the list of New Zealanders to have stood on the ISAF Youth Worlds podium are Jo Aleh (2004 Silver, Laser Radial), Sir Russell Coutts (1979 Silver, Laser and 1981 Gold, Laser), Blair Tuke (2007 Silver, 29er), Dean Barker (1990 Gold, Laser and 1991 Silver, Laser) and Stuart Bannatyne (1989 Gold, Laser).

The ISAF run event is coming to the southern hemisphere for the first time in 15 years and as a consequence the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team will miss Christmas and New Year in New Zealand with departure planned for 23 December. The last time the regatta was hosted south of the equator was in 2000 in Sydney, Australia.

The team is proudly supported by NZL Yachting Trust, Oceanbridge Shipping, Zhik, HPSNZ.

2015 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team:

Ali Nightingale (Laser Radial Girls)
George Gautrey (Laser Radial Boys)
Finn Croft (RS:X Boys)
Lauren Mackenzie (RS:X Girls)
Greta Stewart and Kate Stewart (29er Girls)
Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot-Johnson (29er Boys)
Jonathon Weston and Taylor Balogh (420 Boys)
Kerensa Jennings and Chelsea Rees (420 Girls)
Tamryn Lindsay and William McKenzie (Multihull)

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