Four Teams locked in for Quarterfinals, seven more heading into the pressure cooker on Saturday
It was a make-or-break day for many teams on Day Two of the 2019 Yachting Developments New Zealand Match Racing Championships, with four teams locking in their Quarterfinal spots and many left waiting for the remaining two round robin fights tomorrow.
RNZYS Youth Training Programme Coach Reuben Corbett was the only undefeated skipper today, notching up four wins and cementing his spot in the finals –
“It’s been fun getting back into it, usually I’m out their coaching and pulling up marks but I’ve really enjoyed the last two days in the driver’s seat. It takes a bit of time to get the old computer working again but we’re in a good spot heading into the weekend and it felt good not to drop any races today.”
Nick Egnot-Johnson and his RNZYS Performance Programme Knots Racing Team are tied on nine wins at the top with Corbett, however they are still the regatta leaders due to their victory over their coach in the very first flight of the regatta. The Knots boys did drop one race today, their only loss of the regatta so far, against their good mate and sometimes Knots crew member Alastair Gifford. Knots actually won the race originally, but due to a bit of an issue with a mark the race committee ordered a re-sail and Gifford wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again. However, the boys weren’t too worried, going on to win their remaining three races of the day –
“Yeah that was a bit of a bugger that we had to re-sail but it’s just one of those things, Alastair is a good yachtie and he sailed well to pip us in that one. We’re feeling good heading into the weekend though, the team is working like a well-oiled machine, so we are feeling confident about our chances tomorrow.”
Gifford is also a certainty of making the quarterfinals and currently has seven wins to his name, putting him in third place overall. Gifford is enjoying being back on the helm and is excited for what the weekend may hold –
“We’re feeling pretty good out there, a few more things to work on and improve but I’m happy with the team and our results so far. We just need to channel that into the next two days and see how we go.”
New Caledonian Tom Picot is showing signs that he is starting to get the hang of sailing in Auckland. Picot, the current Aircalin Match Race Champion, has been here before for a couple of Youth Regattas and he and his team are sailing the Elliott 7 well, also finding themselves on seven wins and are a sure thing of making the quarters.
Outside of the top four there is a bit of a log jam of teams, with many having to wait until their final two races to see if they qualify for the remainder of the regatta.
Amongst the log jam and sitting on five wins is Jordan Stevenson and his RNZYS PP Vento Racing Team. Coming off his big USA Grand Slam victory, Stevenson hasn’t had the best time in this regatta which has surprised a few, but he is still in with a very good chance of making the finals and he is known to be somewhat of a comeback king –
“Oh it’s just one of those things, we’ve got a bit of a of a rejigged crew this week and it has knocked us back a bit, but we haven’t been sailing to our best ability either. We’re still having a great time and we are still right in the mix for the weekend, which is a good sign, we just need to finish the round robin strong and anything can happen.”
Also on five wins is RNZYS PP skipper James Wilson, and 79 year old stalwart Brian Trubovich – and both will need to finish the round robin strong tomorrow to stave off the teams below them nipping at their heels.
Having a cold beer at the famous round table in the RNZYS Members Bar after the racing, Trubovich seemed pretty chuffed with how things were going –
“I’m having a lot of fun out there and I think we are doing well. My crew are a doing a great job and I’m looking forward to what tomorrow might hold.”
Celia Willison and her RNZYS PP Edge Women’s Match Team are one back on four wins, and Willison knows she’s going to need to knock it out of the park tomorrow if she is to take her NZ Women’s Match Racing title holding team any further in this regatta –
“It’s been a pretty tough regatta so far but I’m still proud of how the girls are going and I think if we can come out firing in the morning and win our final two round robin races then we are every chance of sneaking into the quarters.”
RNZYS PP Black Fern Racing Skipper Niall Malone (four wins) is also in with a chance. Willison and Malone also have a match-up tomorrow before the round robin is complete, and it could very well be a wild-card do-or-die playoff to make the quarters. There could be a few bragging rights up for grabs too, with Willison’s younger sister Rachael part of the Black Fern Racing crew.
Megan Thomson RNZYS YTP 2.0 Women’s Racing and sixteen-year-old Kings College student Hamish McLaren are on three wins and are both an outside chance of making the finals, but they will need to win both their races tomorrow morning and hope other cards fall in their favor.
Racing will resume at the RNZYS tomorrow from 10am, and with the current state of affairs, it is sure to be the best day yet.
Andrew Delves – RNZYS PR & Communications Manager
Full Results HERE
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