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YDL NZ Match Racing: Two teams are stand outs on Day 1

by Andrew Delves, RNZYS 4 Oct 2018 01:40 PDT 3 October 2018
Yachting Developments Ltd New Zealand Match Racing Championships, Day 1 - October 4, 2018 © Andrew Delves

Day 1 at the Yachting Developments New Zealand Match Racing Championships is in the scoring book.

Emirates Team New Zealand Sailor Josh Junior and Nick Egnot-Johnson's RNZYS Performance Programme KNOTS Racing Team have staked an early claim.

Today was all about fleet racing. Light winds and a strong tide made it pretty tricky business on the water right outside the RNZYS. The morning saw Pool A head out for four fleet races in what were very light conditions.

Pool A included some strong competition, notably consisting of ETNZ and NZL Sailing team sailor Josh Junior, Pacific Racing Team helmed by Leonard Takahashi, top RNZYS YTP sailor Jordan Stevenson, and the NZ Women’s Match Race Team helmed by Celia Willison.

After four tricky races in light winds, it was Josh Junior and his classy and experienced crew who finished top of the Pool A pile, claiming three wins and a fourth-place finish. Second in the fleet was young RNZYS YTP sailor Jordan Stevenson who managed to keep it fairly consistent and also take the gun in the final race of the day “I’m really happy with how we went out there today, winning the last race was a massive bonus, and we’re looking forward to the gold fleet racing tomorrow.”

Third in Pool A was Yann Rigal from Tahiti who impressed earlier this year when he won the Aircalin Match Racing Regatta in New Caledonia. Rigal was very solid today and never left the front of the pack, taking home two thirds and two fourths to send him into tomorrow’s gold fleet. Leonard Takahashi took out fourth in the pool, but it could have been a better story if his RNZYS PP Pacific Racing Team didn’t finish 7th in their final race of the morning “We’re not very happy with that final race, I know we can sail better than that which we showed in the first few races.”

Pool B took to the water in the afternoon, and luckily for them, the wind had picked up ever so slightly meaning there were a few more options out on the course. Two previous Champions were in among the pool too, including two-time champ Chris Steele as well as 2009 champion Laurie Jury.

However, it was our RNZYS Performance Programme Team Knots Racing helmed by Nick Egnot-Johnson who topped Pool B, carrying on their hot form of late after notably winning the US Match Race Grand Slam last month. Egnot-Johnson’s team claimed a first, second, third and a fourth showing they are ready to take on the competition this week “We’ve been practising a lot and we got a lot of confidence out of our win in America. We’re not taking anything for granted though. There are a lot of tough competitors in this regatta.”

Second in Pool B was RNZYS YTP sailor Frankie Dair who qualified for this event by winning the NZMRC qualifying event back in August. Dair has shown some great skill on the water and is definitely one to watch out for at this event. 2015 and 2016 Champion Chris Steele managed to slip into third in Pool B and was pretty happy with how things went “We went pretty good out there, it was really great to be back home in an Elliott 7, and we’re looking forward to the next few days.”

LIVE results will be available via: click here

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