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Yachting NZ: Youth Championships come to a stormy end

by Yachting New Zealand 2 Oct 2023 20:39 PDT 3 October 2023
New Zealand Youth Championships - Murray's Bay Sailing Club - October 2023 © Yachting NZ

A last-minute change of venue and torrid weather couldn't dampen spirits at the 2023 NZ youth championships - where the country's leading young sailors claimed national titles in four youth classes and moved a step closer to representing the country at the youth world champs in December.

Shifted from Royal Akarana Yacht Club to Murrays Bay Sailing Club following the closure of over two dozen Auckland beaches late last week, and delayed by two days due to unfavourable conditions, the 2023 NZ youth championships turned out to be well worth the wait.

The collapse of a sewerage line in Parnell late last week led to raw wastewater flowing directly into the Waitemata Harbour, making it unsafe to hold the event at RAYC as planned.

"We can't control the weather and we certainly can't control something like effluent into the harbour, but the team pulled together fantastically to ensure the youth champs went ahead - showing once again how resilient our sailing community is," said Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie.

Wild weather at the weekend meant the four-day regatta, which doubles as a selection trial for the 2023 world youth championships in Brazil in December, was shortened to only two days.

After a jam-packed day of racing on Sunday, top-end breeze limited the action on Monday, with racing abandoned shortly after 10am.

The Kensington brothers, Sean and Rowan, added the 29er youth title to their impressive list of accolades in the class this year, winning four of the six completed races to edge Will Leech and Tim Howse by two points. Lucy Leith and Chloe Turner were the first female crew and third overall.

An impressive George Pilkington dropped only one race on his way to the title in a strong ILCA 6 fleet. The Auckland Grammar School student beat Zach Stibbe by three points, with Louie Poletti third. Naiomi Ferrissey (23 points) was crowned female champion.

Josh Ferrissey and Joe Leith topped the 420 fleet, three points ahead of Tessa Clinton and Nicola Hume, followed by Cameron Brown and Alex Norman.

A late charge by Aimee Bright wasn't quite enough to beat Jack Parr to the overall iQFOIL title, with Parr's three consecutive race wins at the start of the regatta good enough for the win.

Yachting New Zealand talent development manager Geoff Woolley praised the quality of competition in some challenging conditions.

"Congratulations to the winners. It is quite a stage to achieve on and I have very fond memories of my time at these youth trials," Woolley said.

"For those who didn't quite achieve their goals this time, it is important to remember that this is not the be-all and end-all. In the past, some very good sailors failed to win at their youth champs but went on to achieve big things in the sport."

Woolley said some competitors would now turn their focus to senior sailing classes, and Yachting New Zealand would support them with the transition.

"We look forward to hearing about your future plans and helping you on this exciting new journey."

The Yachting New Zealand selection panel will convene in the coming days to select a team for the 2023 youth worlds in Armação dos Búzios from 8 to 16 December - with the winner of each youth class put forward for nomination.

Yachting New Zealand youth and events manager Sam Mackay thanked the many people who made the regatta possible.

"Thank you to Murrays Bay Sailing Club for hosting us on such short notice. Dean [Barker, commodore] and the team went above and beyond to ensure we could deliver the event," Mackay said.

"We also want to acknowledge the efforts of the team at Akarana. It was very disappointing not being able to race out of their great facility.

"A special thank you also to the race committee, sailors, parents, support staff and the team at Yachting New Zealand for their hard work in what were quite challenging conditions."

Final results at the 2023 NZ youth championships at Murrays Bay Sailing Club

29er fleet (15 boats)

1st: Sean Kensington/Rowan Kensington (Kohimarama Yacht Club) (2) 2 1 1 1 1 - 6 points

2nd: Will Leech (Charteris Bay Yacht Club)/Tim Howse (Kohimarama Yacht Club) 1 1 2 2 (16DSQ) 2 - 8 pts

3rd: Lucy Leith/Chloe Turner (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) (6) 3 3 6 3 5 - 20 pts

420 fleet (8 boats)

1st: Joe Leith/Josh Ferrissey (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) 2 1 1 (3) 1 - 5 pts

2nd: Tessa Clinton/Nicola Hume (Wakatere Boating Club) 1 3 (4) 2 2 - 8 pts

3rd: Cameron Brown/ Alex Norman (Wakatere Boating Club) 3 (5) 3 1 3 - 10 pts

ILCA 6 (20 boats)

1st: George Pilkington (Wakatere Boating Club/RNZYS) 1 (4) 1 1 1 - 4 pts

2nd: Zach Stibbe (Otago Yacht Club) (2) 1 2 2 2 - 7 pts

3rd: Louie Poletti (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) 3 2 (21UFD) 5 4 - 14 pts

6th: Naiomi Ferrissey (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) 6 5 6 6 (8) - 23 pts

iQFOIL 8m fleet (8 boards)

1st: Jack Parr (New Plymouth Yacht Club) 1 1 1 (2) 2 1 - 6 pts

2nd: Aimee Bright (Manly Sailing Club) 2 2 2 1 1 (5) - 8 pts

3rd: Stella Bilger (Manly Sailing Club) 3 (5) 4 4 3 2 - 16 pts

Full results here

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