IMPRESSIVE LINE-UP FOR YACHTING DEVELOPMENTS NZ MATCH RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) is pleased to announce Yachting Developments as the naming sponsor for the 2016 NZ Match Racing National Championships (NZMRC). Defending Champion Chris Steele has also confirmed he will be back to defend his title just months after finishing 4th on the World Match Racing Tour.
19 of the 20 entries for the NZ Match Racing Championships have now been confirmed, with one spot still held for an NZL Olympic Sailing team whose team is yet to be decided. 31 expressions of interest were received.
The newest entries to the regatta include an Australian team lead by Evan Walker, two New Caledonian teams led by Tugdual Piriou and Alan Quéré, Yachting New Zealand’s ‘AON Fast Track‘ Team helmed by Erica Dawson, and a second RPNYC team from Wellington helmed by Oakley Marsh.
The 20 teams will race across four days in the newly revamped NZMRC format which is similar to the World Match Race Tour’s format. The first two days will comprise of fleet racing/seeding rounds which will then lead into match race knock out, semis and finals on the weekend. Chris Steele currently ranked 7th in the World Match Racing Rankings commented on his opposition “This is going to be a very interesting regatta, we have an incredibly good line up of the best sailor’s in New Zealand.”
When asked to make any predictions Steele commented “It will be very hard to pick the top four, Andy Maloney will be tough with a top crew including bronze Olympic medallist Sam Meech, also Matt Steven’s crew with Olympian Josh Junior on board. Graeme Sutherland could be one to look out for; he has put together a strong team of Mike Bullot, Tim Snedden and last year’s 3rd placed skipper David Hazard. Other teams to keep an eye on are Evan Walker from Australia who has been racing on the international circuit, along with Jeremy Koo from Malaysia who has shot up the World Rankings to be currently sitting in 17th. Really there are eight or nine teams that could win this event. One great thing about this event is the inclusion of the top high school teams; this will be a huge experience for them to race against professional sailors and Olympic medallists on an even footing.”
Defending Champion Steele is also excited about the new format –“It’s great and really mix’s things up, having over 30 expressions of interest in the event has shown what the sailors think. The knock out rounds are going to be cut throat with no one having done a reaching start in mono-hulls before, teams will have to learn to adapt very quickly.’
Sailing Director Laurie Jury is looking forward to the regatta – ‘We are really happy with the interest we have had from sailors for this event, we wanted to recreate the NZMRC to provide a platform for the best sailors in NZ to race each other on an even playing field; I believe we have done just this. It is great to have Sam Meech and Josh Junior in the event straight back from the Olympics as well as all the strong overseas interest we have received.”
The RNZYS are putting a lot of effort in the event, having confirmed ‘the voice of yachting’ PJ Montgomery as the MC for the Saturday night skippers dinner and as live commentator for the finals racing on Sunday. On water hosting and viewing options for the public from the sea wall outside the club are also being put into place. We will have live online results and media for the event.
The event will be raced in the Squadrons fleet of Elliott 7 metre keel boats, built by event sponsor Yachting Developments in 2010. It is Fantastic to have the backing of Yachting Developments as we set out to re-energize match racing in New Zealand.
For full team bios and regatta information click HERE