RNZYS YTP dominate Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons famous Youth Training Programme has proven it’s superiority on the world stage once again as Jordan Stevenson and his YTP team of Mitch Jackson, George Angus, Jake Erson and Celia Willison took out the Harken Youth International Match Racing Championships at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club over the weekend.

The other RNZYS YTP team at the event helmed by Frankie Dair finished 3rd, making it a very successful outing across the ditch for our youth sailors.

Stevenson and his crew had a solid round robin, finishing with 9 wins placing them 2nd overall – one win behind James Hodgson’s team from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Stevenson then went on to beat local Juliet Costanzo from the RPAYC in the Quarterfinals, before taking down fellow YTP sailor Dair 2-1 in an all Squadron semi-final showdown.

If you were writing the script it would have been fitting to script that Stevenson would take on Hodgson in the final, and that was what unfolded after the CYCA team made light work of American David Wood in the other semi-final, setting up a classic New Zealand versus Australia final match up.

Stevenson won the first match but Hodgson fought straight back to send the final into a do-or-die finale. However our RNZYS YTP team were too strong in the final match, securing the victory and making it back to back Harken wins for the RNZYS after Leonard Takahashi took home the spoils last year.

This is Stevenson’s first major regatta win and he was pretty stoked about it – “It feels awesome to come out on top after putting in the hard yards training at home. Throughout the event we were focusing on just being consistent and adapting to the conditions each day.”

Asked what he thought got the team over the line, Stevenson replied – “The main contributors to our victory were the hours we put in on the water leading up to the event, as well as the other events we’ve done as a team this year like the Australian and New Zealand Nationals. Overall it has been an awesome week and we’re looking forward to the coming events, including the Nespresso Youth International at the RNZYS early next year.”

The regatta was a tricky one with some tough conditions, day one saw the breeze fluctuating between 10-45 knots, and day two was called off completely due to high winds. The final two days were also challenging with plenty of breeze and a few big wind shifts making it tough for the sailors and the race committee.

Celia Willison, an RNZYS YTP sailor but also known for helming for the NZ Women’s Match Racing Team, had a great week sailing with Stevenson and the boys “I really enjoyed sailing with the boys for the week, I learnt a lot from Jordan. Conditions were really interesting and hard work for us and the race committee, but they did well to almost get the full programme done. Excited for the boys because this will definitely open some doors for them and I hope I get to sail with them again in the future!”

Dair, with some solid experience and form under his belt, now heads to the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championships at the CYCA this week to again represent the RNZYS YTP – while Stevenson heads home to the Squadron with the Rockin’ Robin Perpetual Trophy and a big smile on his face.

Written by Andrew Delves – RNZYS PR & Communications Manager 

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