Top Line up for the New Zealand Match Racing Championships
The New Zealand Match Racing Championships are to be held at the RNZYS from the 12th – 16th of October this year, and the first 13 entries have be decided on.
The event has gone through some radical changes, the format has moved to a fleet/match racing format and the match racing will feature reaching starts. These changes have been well received by the sailors, and the RNZYS is happy to report that of the 13 entries released today, 10 are past or current NZ National Champions in one different disciplines, really giving a platform for the best of the best to face off.
Even with an expanded 20 entries available, spots are filling up fast. Today the first 13 entries have been released and the RNZYS is holding the next seven while some top skippers are waiting to confirm availability.
Leading the current line-up is Matthew Steven, one of the favourites to take out the regatta. Steven is a past Youth and Open Match Racing National champion. He has been a leading tactician on the World Match Racing Tour, is the current 18 foot World Champion and was part of the RNZYS team that finished 2nd at the last Youth Americas Cup. Adding to the mix is Olympic hopeful Josh Junior joining his crew. The last time these two sailed together they dominated the youth match racing circuit.
Next in the promising line up is Andy Maloney, a World Class laser sailor, narrowly missing out on this year’s Olympic selection. Maloney has already shown his diversity in sailing by taking out the NZ Open Keel Boats Championships earlier in the year.
Our first international entrant is Jeremy Koo from Malaysia. Koo is currently the highest ranked Asian skipper in the world with a ranking of 22. This year Jeremy has really stepped up his game already taking out the Grade two Thailand Match Race and the Hong Kong Match Racing Nationals.
Another one to look out for is Graeme Sutherland, who has a wealth of knowledge in Match Racing. Sutherland won two back to back Youth International Match Racing events in his time. Sutherland went on to be a sought after tactician on the World Match Racing Tour and an Olympic Match Racing Coach. His past success at this regatta includes the semi-finals both as a helm and crew.
Looking to make his debut on the Match Racing stage is Andrew ‘AJ’ Reid, sailing for the RNZYS. AJ is the owner/skipper of the YD 37 ‘Anarchy’ which, since its launch in early 2015, has taken out Line, Handicap and PHRF for the RNZYS A division and is the current divisional Club Champion, this will be Reid’s first match racing competition.
Other skippers released in the top 13 are:
- David Wood – RNZYS
- Robert Hielkema – BOIYC
- George Anyon – RNZYS Performance Programme
- Matthew Hughes – RNZYS Performance Programme
- Patrick Haybittle – RNZYS Youth Training Programme
- Henry Haslett – Kristin School.
- Frankie Dair – Kerikeri High School
- Westlake Boys High School
Still waiting to confirm their sailing programmes ahead of the 2017-2018 World Match Race Tour are the ‘million dollar’ winner Phil Robertson and defending champion Chris Steele. Another one to watch for is Yachting NZ Olympic team fresh back from Rio, yet to name their skipper.
With a waiting list of Expressions of Interest’s building, this event looks to be just what NZ Match Racing needed to gain some movement again.
For full skipper bio’s and more information on the regatta see rnzys.org.nz/match-racing/nzmrc