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Losing weight.... the hard way!

The Youth Match Racing World Championship trials were held at RNZYS last month with a lot on the line.

Nine teams made up of RNZYS Youth Training Programme & RNZYS Performance Programme sailors competed against each other in a match racing regatta like no other. This is like a normal weekend for the RNZYS YTP sailors, who are always out on the water racing each weekend, except this time the winning team booked their berth to the 2018 Youth Match Racing World Championships hosted on Lake Ledro in Trentino, Italy, from the 3 – 8 July 2018.

The lineup saw some very accomplished sailors, including skippers James Wilson (YTP) and Nick Egnot-Johnson (PP) who have both had strong results over the past year. Wilson finished 2nd at the recent Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Championships as well as 2nd place at the Harken Youth International in Sydney. Nick Egnot-Johnson finished 5th at the 2018 Nespresso Youth International, as well as 3rd at the recent Red Bull Foiling Generation. If this wasn't hard enough already, our team, skippered by Oakley Marsh, had the unenviable task of needing to lose a substantial amount of weight even to make it past weigh-in.

Now before you watch this video I feel somehow I ought to stress that this is NOT very healthy or at all ideal and I DO NOT recommend any of the measures as methods for losing weight for sailing or any other reason. However, anyone who has ever raced in a class where there is a weight limit and has experience of losing weight for sailing will identify with this video and recognise some of the differing methods many sailors employ when they are faced with the reality of losing a few kilos in a short time frame; or simply not sailing at all.

The video, where Sam Greenfield attempts to lose 3kg in order to be part of a team on a Mumm 3, is exactly what I faced if I wanted to compete as part of a four-person crew; which is fine if there are a few girls (who tend to weigh less then men), but when trying to put together a four-person team that includes four boys... well things get tougher.

Normally with enough notice, you would spend a few months losing weight, missing out on some of the niceties in life (especially bread!) and mostly living on salads or vegetarian stir frys. Unfortunately, I have been told to put on weight in the long term and was proudly hovering near 80kg, but as we weighed in before the event we found we were over; not by tonnes but by enough... and the next few days weren't fun. I went to bed early, with basically no food or drink, and the next day worked in stifling conditions wearing basically all the clothes I owned and then some. Add in early morning runs wrapped in non-breathable slickers, absolutely no food or water on the day of the weigh-in and between us we did it! I have to say the breakfast after the weigh in was one of the best meals I have ever eaten! Thank goodness they didn't decide to re-weigh us mid-regatta.

The event itself was another steep learning curve. I had the pleasure of sailing with a great crew against even better opposition and despite not really expecting to win the ultimate prize, it certainly would have been nice to snatch a fully funded trip to Italy! Ultimately we finished fourth which was a bit disappointing, but all things considered, another great experience and further ammunition in the armoury. For someone who, until a few months ago, had never even raced in a competitive match race, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and look forward to closing the gap on the leaders in the months ahead.

Best wishes to all back home and abroad who follow my blog. The new season for the Youth Training Programme is in full swing and I look forward to updating you all on the whole experience in the next few weeks. Thanks for your support as always.


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