The crème rises to the top for the Yachting Developments NZMRC Finals Day on Sunday
The crème has well and truly risen to the top after the Super 16 and Quarter-final stages were completed today at the RNZYS Yachting Developments NZMRC.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s Andy Maloney, and our 3 RNZYS Performance Programme Skippers – Dave Hazard, Leo Takahashi and Graeme Sutherland – have all qualified for the Semi-Finals that will take place in high winds here from tomorrow morning.
A day that started with no wind in sight quickly turned into a stellar day for Match Racing as the Super 16 got underway. RNZYS Skipper Matthew Hughes was the first to get through to the Quarterfinals after an exciting 2-1 win over Frankie Dair (KKCC) who had shown some great form throughout the fleet racing stages. In another 3 race epic, RNZYS PP Skipper & Coach Graeme Sutherland took down Nick Egnot-Johnson to book his place in the Quarters.
James Wilson (RNZYS YTP), who qualified 2nd after the fleet racing, was up against Irishman Colman O’Riordan who did an outstanding job just to make it into the super 16 after qualifying last in the fleet races. O’Riordan manged to cause an upset to win through the repecharge yesterday, and an upset was almost on the cards in this matchup with the score tied at 1-1 heading into the final match. However it was the 18 year old Wilson who won the chocolates, securing a quarterfinal berth with a 2 – 1 win.
Other Super 16 winners included: George Anyon (RNZYS PP), Arnau Farris-Knowles, Leo Takahashi (RNZYS PP), Dave Hazard (RNZYS PP) and ETNZ’s Andy Maloney – who all won their super 16 matchups 2-0.
Quarterfinal 1 had Anyon (RNZYS PP) taking on his Performance Programme Coach Graeme Sutherland in what were some nice breezy conditions. The first match was looking tight with Anyon right on the heels of Sutherland, but a couple of mistakes and getting caught up in another matchup didn’t help the cause, giving Sutherland a 1-0 lead.
The 2nd match got underway with a tight pre-start and Anyon was again hot on the heels of Sutherland, a little too hot though it turned out as Anyons’ prod went crashing into the stern of his competitors Elliott 7, resulting in a penalty which essentially handed a quarterfinal berth right over to his coach – “Yeah we definitely hit them all right!” – Anyon commented. “We tried to push on and see if we could get a penalty on them and eliminate ours but it wasn’t to be. We also had a tough first race, getting caught up in Dave’s (Hazards) matchup. A tough day but that’s yachting”
In the second Quarterfinal, Takahashi (RNZYS PP) took on Matthew Hughes (RNZYS YTP) in another “Mate v Mate” battle between RNZYS YTP graduates on their home patch. Takahashi, who has been in great form this year, made easy work of Hughes – winning 2-0 and booking his ticket to the Semi-finals on Sunday. Speaking at our top skippers interview Takahashi reflected on the racing so far – “The boys really picked it up today and kept the boat going fast. We got through after our mate v mate quarterfinal matchup with Hughesy and we’re excited to race whoever we race tomorrow”
Experience was the winner in the 3rd Quarterfinal when Dave Hazard took down young James Wilson 2-0. Hazard showed his class against a younger competitor, picking the right sides of the course and dominating the pre-starts to join Takahashi & Sutherland in the Semis. “We started a bit slow in the super 16 match up but we got through and then ended the day well with a 2-0 win over Wilson” – commented Hazard.
The final QF saw ETNZ’s Maloney make light work of Spaniard Arnau Farris-Knowles. Although they were behind in one of the matches, the experience on board the boat – including Olympic Bronze Medallist Sam Meech – got them in the right places on the course and over the line first in both races to secure a 2-0 win, and a much deserved berth in the top 4.
The Semi-Final matchups have been confirmed for tomorrow morning, with Maloney picking Hazard which also sets up another pupil v teacher matchup between Takahashi and Sutherland.
Asked why he chose Hazard, Maloney replied – “We chose Dave because we think he might have a slightly lighter crew and it’s looking pretty windy tomorrow” – to which Hazard replied; “Yeah we thought it might be coming our way with our lighter crew, but we will take it on. We also got picked earlier today by James Wilson who was in 2nd place and we managed to take him out so we will see how we go” – the last comment was met with great roars of appreciation from the crowd, setting up a mouth-watering clash tomorrow.
Filling in for Sutherland at the skippers interview, crew member Josh Salthouse described what he thought about taking on Takahashi in tomorrow’s second semi-final – “Another Performance Programme member and pupil of Graeme’s so it’s another one we’re going to have to knock off but I think the boys are pretty confident.” The heavy winds forecast for tomorrow were then brought up by interviewer PJ Montgomery, to which Salthouse quipped – “Yeah I saw 50knots, we specialise in the 40-50 knot range so we’re looking forward to it.”
Takahashi had the last say though; “We’re excited to take on Graeme, I’ve spent a lot of time with him being coached and I’ve also spent a lot of time with him overseas so I know his weaknesses. We’re right on weight for tomorrows 40 knot winds and we’re pretty confident in our match racing so hopefully we can play a few mind games and take him out”.
So the crème is at the top and the stage is more than set for tomorrow’s big finals day at RNZYS, with racing to get underway at 10am. There will be LIVE commentary in the Members Bar and you can also tune in LIVE at home via the RNZYS & NZMRC Facebook pages.
Standings after Day 3
- Andy Maloney
- Dave Hazard
- Leonard Takahashi
- Graeme Sutherland
- James Wilson
- George Anyon
- Matthew Hughes
- Arnau Farras-Knowles
- Sam Barnett
- Frankie Dair
- Samantha Norman
- Nick Egnot-Johnson
- Patrick Harris
- Alistair Gifford
- Lachlan Grimwade
- Colman O’Riordan
- Nick Rozenauers
- James Jennings
- Jono Barnett
Semi Finals: Maloney v Hazard, Sutherland v Takahashi
Follow LIVE results and see all of today’s results HERE
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RNZYS PR Manager – Andrew Delves – firstname.lastname@example.org