Nick Egnot-Johnson and Josh Junior the guys to beat after Day One at the RNZYS Yachting Developments NZMRC

Day One at the Yachting Developments New Zealand Match Racing Championships is in the books and its Emirates Team New Zealand Sailor Josh Junior and Nick Egnot-Johnsons’ RNZYS Performance Programme KNOTS Racing Team who have staked their claim early.

It was all about fleet racing today and light winds and a strong tide made it pretty tricky business on the water right outside the RNZYS. The morning saw Pool A head out for 4 fleet races in what were very light conditions.

Pool A included some strong competition, notably consisting of ETNZ and NZL Sailing team sailor Josh Junior, Pacific Racing Team helmed by Leonard Takahashi, top RNZYS YTP sailor Jordan Stevenson, and the NZ Women’s Match Race Team helmed by Celia Willison.

After 4 tricky races in light winds it was Josh Junior and his classy and experienced crew who finished top of the Pool A pile, claiming three wins and a fourth place finish. Second in the fleet was young RNZYS YTP sailor Jordan Stevenson who managed to keep it fairly consistent and also take the gun in the final race of the day “I’m really happy with how we went out there today, winning the last race was a massive bonus and we’re looking forward to the gold fleet racing tomorrow.”

Third in Pool A was Yann Rigal from Tahiti who impressed earlier this year when he won the Aircalin Match Racing Regatta in New Caledonia. Rigal was very solid today and never left the front of the pack, taking home two thirds and two fourths to send him into tomorrow’s gold fleet.  Leonard Takahashi took out fourth in the pool, but it could have been a better story if his RNZYS PP Pacific Racing Team didn’t finish 7th in their final race of the morning “We’re not very happy with that final race, I know we can sail better than that which we showed in the first few races.”

Pool B took to the water in the afternoon, and luckily for them the wind had picked up ever so slightly meaning there were a few more options out on the course. Two previous Champions were in among the pool too, including two time champ Chris Steele as well as 2009 champion Laurie Jury.

However it was our RNZYS Performance Programme Team Knots Racing helmed by Nick Egnot-Johnson who topped Pool B, carrying on their hot form of late after notably winning the US Match Race Grand Slam last month. Egnot-Johnson’s team claimed a first, second, third and a fourth showing they are ready to take on the competition this week “We’ve been practising a lot and we got a lot of confidence out of our win in America. We’re not taking anything for granted though, there are a lot of tough competitors in this regatta.”

Second in Pool B was RNZYS YTP sailor Frankie Dair who qualified for this event by winning the NZMRC qualifying event back in August. Dair has shown some great skill on the water and is definitely one to watch out for at this event. 2015 and 2016 Champion Chris Steele manged to slip into third in Pool B and was pretty happy with how things went “We went pretty good out there, it was really great to be back home in an Elliott 7 and we’re looking forward to the next few days.”

Laurie Jury claimed fourth in Pool B but felt his team were pretty fortunate to not finish further down the list “We got pretty lucky out there, we managed to come from quite far back in the second race when it wasn’t looking that good, but winning the final race was very handy for our results.”

Day Two will see more fleet racing, with the Gold and Silver fleets racing two races each to determine seeding. The bottom two teams from the silver fleet will race off in a first to two match race to secure the last spot in the fleet, with the loser heading home early. The top 16 teams will then enter into knock out match racing which will get underway tomorrow afternoon.

See below results from Day One:

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RNZYS PR & Communications Manager

Andrew Delves –

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