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High profile entries for NZ Open Keelboat Nationals

by Yachting New Zealand 24 Jul 2020 00:56 PDT
Theland NZ Open Keelboat National Championships - April 2019 © Andrew Delves

There is still over two months until the 2020 Theland NZ Open National Keelboat Championship, but it is looking set to be the best chapter in the events history, with a raft of big names already populating the eleven-strong entry list.

There is an exciting mix of up-and-coming and experienced sailors, weekend warriors, along with a great diversity of male and female sailors already set to be involved.

Highlighting the entry list is a sponsored professional team, Team Theland, which is being led by Olympic Bronze Medalist Sam Meech. The team also includes Olympic Silver Medalist Alex Maloney, Olympic and ETNZ sailor’s Josh Junior and Andy Maloney, as well as Theland team member on board.

The final member of this team is RNZYS Sailing Director Laurie Jury who says that having these professionals on the entry list can only be a good thing for this event and the other competitors taking part –

“It’s awesome to have such a talented and high-profile team sign up for this regatta. They have a lot of experience and skill so they are certainly going to be tough to beat, but I’m sure all of the other competitors will be keeping an eye on them and will be doing their best to show they have what it takes to beat them, which is going to make this event really exciting.”

Defending champion Nick Egnot-Johnson and his Knots Racing team, ranked 2nd in the world match racing rankings, are returning and will be looking to go back to back after a dominant victory in 2019. Egnot-Johnson and his team are itching to get back into competition after COVID-19 put a stop to their 2020 international event plans, and he says the team are more than motivated to etch their name into the trophy again –

“We are pumped to get back into some competitive sailing and cannot wait for this one. We had a great time last year and sailed well so hopefully we can replicate that again. It looks like the competition is going to be even tougher this year so it’s not going to be an easy run, but we can’t wait to get into it and also drink plenty of Theland Milk, again!”

This event follows a fleet racing format, with all racing completed in MRX keelboats, and Egnot-Johnson says this format is one of his favorites –

“The fleet racing is so much fun. The starts can be hectic with everyone trying to get the best spot on the line, and anything can happen during the race. The other great thing about is that any sailors can get involved because it’s not as technical as match racing.”

Theland, the brand of Milk New Zealand who operate as one of the largest dairy exporters nationally, are back on board to sponsor the event for the second year in a row. Aimee Cai, Theland’s E-commerce Manager, says “the company are thrilled to be involved as the main sponsors for this event noting producing world class dairy products and world class sailors are two iconic Kiwi pursuits.”

Terry Lee, Managing Director of Milk New Zealand Dairy Ltd says, “We are so excited and proud to be the title sponsors of this amazing sailing event at the RNZYS. Not only are we sponsoring this event, but this year we have our own professional team – Team Theland - who are going to be very competitive. We wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to being on the water to witness the action in October! Go team Theland!”

There are already two all-female teams entered, including the 2019 Barfoot & Thompson Women’s Keelboat National Champion Sally Garrett, as well as RNZYS Performance Programme skipper Megan Thomson and her 2.0 Women’s Racing Team.

Leonard Takahashi, who has been busy in the last two years sailing for the Japanese Sail GP team and also the Japanese 49er Olympic team, is back home and has also thrown his hat into the ring, another solid entry for this year’s event.

Other entries to date include; Jordan Stevenson (RNZYS PP / Vento Racing Team), Anarchy Owner and Skipper AJ Reid, RNZYS PP graduate Peron Pearse, Howard Spencer, Niall Malone (RNZYS PP / Blackfern Racing) and Geoff Gorrie who is bringing a team all the way up from the Bluff Yacht Club.

Entries are still open, so if you would like to add your name to the list to enjoy a great weekend of competitive keelboat sailing and have a crack at the national title, get your entry in as soon as you can.

Event Information, Entry Form and more here

More information about Theland here.

For more event information please contact:

RNZYS Sailing Director Laurie Jury ljury@rnzys.org.nz

RNZYS PR & Communications Manager Andrew Delves adelves@rnzys.org.nz

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