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Youth Match Cup Day 2: Perfect Pierroz unbeaten at 2020 Harken Youth International

by Andrew Delves - RNZYS 21 Feb 04:37 PST
Day 2 - 2020 Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup - February 21, 2020 - Royal NZ Yacht Squadron, Auckland NZ © Andrew Delves

Aurélien Pierroz representing French club - Société des Régates du Havre, put on a magnifique performance on Day 2 of the 2020 Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup and remains the only unbeaten skipper out of the fourteen competing.

Pierroz was outstanding today, notching up five more wins to take his tally to 11, with only two matches remaining in the round robin. The next big test for Pierroz will come tomorrow morning when he faces off against Nick Egnot-Johnson and James Hodgson, and if he can get through those matches and remain unbeaten, he will be in a string position to push on and win the regatta.

Pierroz was relaxed but quietly happy at the end of the day: "It was really good, the team did a great job and in the end we have won all of our matches." Asked why the team is going so well Pierroz replied - "I don't know we've just had a good feeling on the boat, our tactics have been really good, and we've been improving in each match."

Just behind the French is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia team helmed by James Hodgson, who would have had a perfect record if it hadn't been for a close loss to Egnot-Johnson's RNZYS PP KNOTS Racing late in the day. However Hodgson has been impressive so far and he has an experienced crew on board with him, so he is definitely a threat heading into the weekend. Big matches against Stevenson and Pierroz in the morning will have a big implication on where he sits heading into the quarterfinals -

"We've been going pretty well but the next two days are the most important so we just need to start well in the morning and make sure we have good races against Jordy {Stevenson} and Pierroz, and then we can push on from there."

Egnot-Johnson is in third place after a bit of a mixed day on the water. Unbeaten heading into Day 2, Egnot-Johnson slipped off the pace and lost two races - one against Englishman Ted Blowers and the other to American Jack Parkin - however he isn't too worried and is ready to step it up a notch tomorrow: "You can't win them all, we had a really close loss to Jack {Parkin} who sailed well to beat us. But often you learn more from a loss than you do from a win so we will take our learnings into tomorrow and hopefully it will sharpen us up a bit out there."

The next three teams aren't far behind, RNZYS PP Vento Racing skipper Jordan Stevenson has eight wins to his name, with Jack Parkin (USA) and Emil Kjaer (DEN) right behind him on seven wins respectively. Parkin was probably the most impressive out of the three today, coming back from a tough start yesterday to get himself right back into contention.

Parkin notched up big wins against locals Egnot-Johnson and Stevenson, something he was well pleased with: "Today was much better, yesterday was day one so we were working out a lot of kinks but today we won some really close races and lost a couple of close ones too. We just need to take note of the mistakes we make in our losses and when we win find the things we got right, and if we can continue to do that over the next two days we will be ready for the big one next week.

"We did have some really good wins against Jordy [Stevenson] and Nick [Egnot-Johnson] but they were some incredibly close races, we were behind for a lot of the race against Nick and we were just chasing the whole time but managed to get the win there and in the race against Jordy he had a penalty on him most of the race - but they were very close races which we were stoked to win."

With the top six quarterfinal spots all but wrapped up, all eyes now move to the lower half of the standings to see who will slip into the final two positions. RNZYS Mastercard Youth Training Programme skipper Oakley Marsh is the closest to securing a spot, sitting on five wins, with Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club skipper Jed Cruickshank the next best with four wins.

Four other teams are sitting on three wins a piece, including; Juliet Costanzo (AUS), Ted Blowers (ENG), Albert Stanley (NZ) and Robin Chantrelle, meaning tomorrow's final two round robin flights have a lot on the line.

Clean Regattas Update:

The RNZYS is working with Sailors for the Sea to ensure this is a clean regatta and to instil with the young sailors how important it is to keep our oceans clean. Sailors were reminded at the briefing to refill their reusable water bottles and the importance of eliminating single use items such as plastic drink bottles.

Michelle Khan, from the RNZYS Green Team said - "There's a very practical side of achieving Clean Regatta status for the HARKEN Youth International Match Racing Cup and for next week's Worlds. Monitoring our rubbish and recycling is a great step towards protecting the ocean we love and making sure racing takes place under the very best conditions."

Full results can be found here.

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