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Young 88 National Championships wrap

by Mike Leyland 26 Nov 2020 13:52 PST
Victorious Raging Hormones - 2020 Young 88 National Championships © Andrew Delves

After a high-pressure decision to postpone the Nationals on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March, the event was successfully completed last weekend by a competitive fleet of sixteen boats racing in ideal conditions... Take that Covid!

November 21-22 in the fabulous year that is 2020, we saw a fantastic weekend of Young 88 racing on the inner course between St Heliers and Rangitoto. Congratulations to Zane Gifford and crew Matt Kempers, Taylor Balogh, Matt Kelway, Josh Wijohn, Andrew Wills, Hugh Gallagher on Raging Hormones for taking out first on line. Rowan Swanson - Mindbender was second on debut and Brad Marsh - Danger Zone was third, also on debut. These three boats were skippered by “Owner Drivers” so also took out the bracketed North Sails Owners Championship event.

Gifford said “Conditions were very tricky with lots of big shifts and variations in pressure but acknowledged his world class crew who worked hard to dig the boat back out from deep in the fleet when needed.”

The first Corinthian crew trophy (no sailing pros aboard) went to Jacko Van Deventer - Sailor Moon and the first mixed crew (min two of opposite gender) prize went to Mike Leyland - War Machine.

Handicap results saw first to Greg Wilshire - Vagabond, second to Jon Henderson - Dilemma and third Rowan Swanson - Mindbender.

The fleet tried a few new things this year including moving the race area to the south side of Rangitoto. This created a shorter commute but lots more “Auckland traffic” from ferries and big launches.

Race Officer Celia Carson said “the shifty conditions were a race officers’ nightmare, but the Young 88 Nationals is sought after by the committee because it is such a highly competitive but also fun-loving friendly fleet”

Saturday was light and shifty with the breeze building to 15kts from the South West and Sunday brought the forecast conditions with the breeze up at 20 kts with occasional gusts above 25kts. Brad Marsh said, “It was extremely close racing but good natured as well” and he mentioned the need to bring the “big boy pants” on Sunday.

The Young 88 Nationals is also an umpired event keeping everyone well behaved and providing a few learning opportunities. Chief umpire John Rountree led a team of three highly qualified umpire boats featuring Doug Elder, Louis Mayo, Richard Matterson, Mike Alison and Blair Park.

The off-water program back at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron was also busy. The crew party in the “Dinghy Locker” on Saturday night created a few “rusty and dusty” boats on Sunday. The gap between racing and prize giving gave a good chance to finish the now traditional grinding competition with Josh Wijohn taking out the mens with a time of 4:33 and Peaches McLaren the womens with a very competitive 5:33.

Aaron Young RNZYS Commodore and grandson of designer Jim Young came to prize giving to hand out the cups and other prizes. He said a few words and made presentation of a framed Young 88 plan to mark the sad death of Jim, an NZ icon back in June.

Special thanks to the volunteers on the Race Committee, Umpires, Y88 Committee, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), sponsors North Sails and Harken and all the competitors.

Live Sail Die’s Georgia Schofield recorded and produced an excellent video summary that can be viewed at this link and Andrew Delves – RNZYS took some excellent on water photos that can be viewed by clicking here.

For links to all Nationals/Owners Champs information, results, photos, videos etc, check out the event page at this link

As per class association strategy there is an awesome program for the 2021 summer focusing on one big event per month. Next up is Bay of Islands Sailing Week 26-29 Jan, followed by the City of Sails Auckland Regatta 27-28 Mar, then what will be a record fleet of fourteen plus for the Southern Champs 10-11 Apr all building to the 2021 Nationals April 17-18.

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