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Fresh look to NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team

by Yachting New Zealand 20 Feb 2019 03:30 PST 21 February 2019
Helena Sanderson and Jack Honey on their way to winning the Nacra 15 class at the 2019 Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta © Richard Gladwell

The NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team will have a fresh look to it this year with a number of newcomers added to the squad picked to represent New Zealand at the youth sailing world championships.

The first batch of eight young sailors have been announced to compete at July's youth worlds in Gdynia, Poland, with another four to be nominated for selection following the 420 national championships in mid-March.

Samantha Stock (girl's Laser Radial, pictured) and Sophia Fyfe (girl's 29er) are so far the only sailors from last year's highly-successful team, which collected a record-equalling four medals at last year's youth sailing world championships in the United States.

The pair have been joined by Luke Cashmore (boy's Laser Radial), Jack Honey and Helena Sanderson (Nacra 15), Eli Liefting and Jack Frewin (boy's 29er) and Holly Liefting (girl's 29er).

"It's an exciting and fresh team who have the opportunity to push on from the high standards achieved last year," Yachting New Zealand talent development manager Geoff Woolley said. "We've got a good lead-in now before the youth worlds so we'll be working hard with the New Zealand squad to help them prepare.

"We've been really impressed with the work ethic shown by all of the sailors over the summer. And some of the sailing and race skills displayed at the trials, in high-pressure situations, was also impressive."

Some of the trials were won by narrow margins, including in the boy's 29er which was won by only one point across two selection regattas.

Cashmore will be charged with carrying on New Zealand's tradition of success in the boy's single-handed dinghy. Josh Armit won gold in the Laser Radial last year and previous winners have also included Russell Coutts, Stu Bannatyne and Dan Slater.

"Luke is a pretty impressive individual," Woolley said. "He's a prefect at Auckland Grammar, captain of the sailing team and is studying the Cambridge curriculum, so he's a high achiever. He was battling behind Josh for the last couple of years and has a great opportunity this year.

"The Nacra 15 crew have also been sailing at a pretty high standard over the last couple of years and will have taken a lot from their battles with Greta Stewart and Tom Fyfe [who won bronze at last year's youth worlds]. Jack and Helena have also been doing a lot of sailing lately, competing in the Tornado world champs and at this year's Bay of Islands Mach 2 Week, which shows they are really committed and passionate about their sailing."

Most of those already selected for this year's youth sailing world championships will also be competing at various overseas regattas, like Kiel Week, to get them race-ready. Woolley was also hopeful those sailors who narrowly missed out will continue to train at a high level.

"We want to continue to see these sailors working together as squads and train for their class worlds," Woolley said. "Yes, it's special to go to the youth worlds but we want to make sure the depth in New Zealand sailing remains and make sure we continue to do well at class worlds."

NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team (420s to be added):

Boy's Laser Radial: Luke Cashmore
Girl's Laser Radial: Samantha Stock
Boy's 29er: Eli Liefting and Jack Frewin
Girl's 29er: Sophia Fyfe and Holly Liefting
Nacra 15: Jack Honey and Helena Sanderson

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