Is match racing the next big thing?

It has been an interesting week in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

A mix of weather conditions has seen a fair bit of rain, some very light wind at times and a steep learning curve. Coming back from our New Year's break we paired off into 5 teams for a bit of round-robin competition in the Nacras. It was fun to be able to get in a bit of racing and of course, whenever you put two boats on the same course at the same time it's war! The event was conducted in good spirits with all teams having their moments. I was paired up with George, a great young Kiwi sailor on the fast track, and we managed to come out on top so that was a bit of a bonus.

We have also spent some time in the Elliott 7's. For those of you who don't know, they are an exciting, modern 7m keel boat popular for match racing events and designed by New Zealander Greg Elliott. This provided us all with an opportunity to engage in some match racing and learn a little more about this type of sailing. A match race is a race between two competitors, going head to head. This is different from fleet racing, which almost always involves three or more competitors competing against each other, and teams racing where teams consisting of 2, 3 or 4 boats compete against each other in a team race, with their results being combined.

The majority of my sailing has centred around fleet racing and until recently I haven't really had much involvement with match racing despite its ever increasing popularity on the world sailing scene. I found the whole experience really educational and I look forward to participating more in this type of racing in the future. A key difference between the two suggests that to become a world class sailor in any one design fleet requires many hundreds of hours dedicated to that specific class of boat, learning the most minute details, and becoming a 'specialist' in that particular yacht. In comparison, a World Champion in match racing needs to be able to ply their trade in a multitude of different boats, of all types and sizes, the only commonality being that they are identical. It would ultimately develop a set of skills showing much more flexibility and as a result, the ability to sail and race competitively in many more events. Definitely 'food for thought'.

The camp comes to an end tomorrow and I look forward to updating you all on the last week. I've certainly had a fantastic time and learnt a lot and It will be sad to say farewell to so many wonderful new friends. I'm sure that I will catch up with them all again in the near future.

I've posted a few new videos and photos here. In the meantime, as always, thank you for your interest and support.


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