ETNZ’s Josh Junior joins NZ Extreme Sailing Team

Image (c) Andrew Delves RNZYS Media

America’s Cup winner Josh Junior is joining our RNZYS Performance Programme NZ Extreme Sailing Team.

Junior, one of the key cyclors on Team New Zealand’s winning boat in Bermuda, is linking up with the extreme team for this week’s regatta in Germany.

Hamburg’s River Elbe will host the fifth leg of the world circuit with the New Zealand team bottom of the table among the six regular teams involved.

The Kiwi team mad eup of RNZYS Performance Programme sailors, new to the 2017 championship, have been formed to give the country’s elite youth sailors a launching pad into foiling multihull racing with the extreme series contested in 32-foot foiling catamarans.

Wellington’s Junior, who finished seventh in the demanding Finn class at the Rio Olympics before being signed by Team New Zealand, will provide plenty of experience to a team coached by Rob Salthouse, who is preparing for his fourth Volvo Ocean Race.

Junior will be mainsail trimmer alongside skipper and helmsman Chris Steele in the five-man crew.

There are five Kiwis spread across the other crews for Germany.

The Danish flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team currently lead the series with Swiss team Alinghi who are both on 43 points, with the Kiwis trailing on 31.

Team New Zealand’s winning crew haven’t been idle since their stunning success in Bermuda.

Helmsman Peter Burling finished second at the recent world Moth championships and Blair Tuke is now involved with Spanish round the world team Mapfre, having won the Isle of Wight race and now contesting the Fastnet race in Britain as part of their leadup to the global extravaganza.

Junior headed to Germany after giving some inspiring words to some of Wellington’s most promising athletes when he was a key speaker at a “Pathway to Podium” function at the weekend.

He said his love of sailing was a key to his success, and transferring that to the America’s Cup environment, wasn’t difficult.

“It wasn’t a job, it was a passion. I was enjoying what I was doing and the people I was with, so it didn’t seem like hard work,” Junior said.

“The enjoyment is a key part of having longevity in your sport. That’s the cool thing about sailing, even after a big thing like the America’s Cup, we’re all sailors who just really enjoy being out on the water.”

He intends to keep busy and has his eyes set on a second Olympics appearance in Tokyo in 2020.

“The difference between training for the Olympics and the America’s Cup, is that for the Olympics you spend a long time training to get to that point. It’s more selfish because you’re doing it for yourself whereas with the Cup it is very much a team event, you’re all pulling together,” he said.

“I loved both experiences, they’re both amazing to be a part of and having participated in an Olympics helped me to cope with the pressure of the America’s Cup.”

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