Firstly, let me apologise for the long delay between posts. As I'm sure most of you can imagine, training, racing, working and living in Auckland has been both challenging and somewhat daunting at times and the past few months have been dedicated to keeping as many balls in the air as possible while trying hard not to let anyone down. It has not been easy.
On the sailing front, quite a lot has happened and I look forward to posting a further update on my exploits when I return to Auckland in December. Right now I have just finished competing for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in the Harken International Youth Match Racing Regatta; hosted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Pittwater, Sydney. This regatta is rated as a Grade 2 event and attracted competitors from across the globe including America, New Zealand, The Netherlands and other Australian States. 6 of the 12 teams ranked within the world top 100 so competition was always going to be fierce.
Match racing is a complicated boat-on-boat round-robin competition where pairs try to out-manoeuvre and force penalties on each other, to stay on the right side of the judging team and gain the advantage to win the match or flight. The races are held in identical Elliott 7 performance yachts supplied by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. This was the 26th edition of the annual regatta for 23 year-olds and under and provides aspiring skippers and crews the opportunity to showcase their skills and improve their international world ranking.
The racing followed the standard match racing format with all 12 teams competing against each other in a round-robin format, striving to gain enough wins to progress through to the Quarter, Semi and Final races. Held on the narrow waters of Pittwater, the shifty conditions proved challenging for all teams at different stages and racing was predictably tight with wins often resulting from the smallest of errors by the opposition crew. Long days of 10+ hours in variable conditions with the breeze coming from all points of the compass tested the patience of even the most seasoned competitors and at the conclusion of the round-robin series, our crew ably skippered by Frankie Dair, entered the finals in third place overall. After successfully getting through our Quarter-Final we were pitted against our fellow RNZYS crew and eventual winner Jordan Stevenson where we narrowly lost 1-2 in a best of three shootout. We went on to win the Petit-Final against USA David Wood and crew winning both of our last 2 races and securing third place overall for the event.
Once again I am extremely grateful to the RNZYS and the whole coaching and sailing team for selecting me in this event and giving me the opportunity to compete against so many fantastic skippers and crews. Every regatta is a huge learning curve and I am thoroughly enjoying not only the tight racing and the skills it brings but also the camaraderie and respect that exists between the competing teams. I would also like to thank Frankie and the crew for a fantastic week and congratulate Jordan and his crew for an outstanding win.
This week has thrown me a bit of a curve ball as I have been invited to compete at Australia's premier Match Racing event, the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship on beautiful Sydney Harbour, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Featuring the current dual Australian Youth Match Racing Champion, Australian Open match racing Champion and five teams ranked by World Sailing as among the 50 best in the world, with a further two teams ranked inside the top 100, this is as big as it gets in World Youth Match Racing. The twist; I will be competing for an Australian crew, skippered by Finn Tapper from the CYCA who is currently ranked 31 in the World. The benefits of dual citizenship!
I look forward to updating you all on this event upon its conclusion. I hope everyone is well and looking forward to a wonderful Christmas.