RNZYS dominates at the 2024 New Zealand Keelboat Championships

 In Competitions, Major Regattas, Member Interest, News, Performance Programme, Youth Training Programme
2024 National Keelboat Championships. Photo: Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has taken out the top two places at the 2024 New Zealand Keelboat Championships, hosted by RAYC over 13th and 14th of April. RNZYS’ Performance Programme team LJ’s Racing has emerged victorious after a tightly contested two days of racing. Jack Frewin led his team of Ollie Lloyd, James Jennings, Josh Schon, Blake McGlashan, Pat Morgan, and Tasman Rowntree to the podium in the MRX One-Design Fleet however the result didn’t come easy for Frewin and team.

Jack Frewin and his LJ’s Racing team on Day 1 of the 2024 National Keelboat Championships. Photo: Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die
Jack Frewin and his LJ’s Racing team on Day 1 of the 2024 National Keelboat Championships. Photo: Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

At the end of racing on Sunday 14th April, fellow RNZYS Performance Programme Team lead by Josh Hyde were a top the leaderboard on 17 points, 2 points ahead of Frewin. However, a ‘port – starboard while tacking’ incident in race eight saw Hyde disqualified in the protest room later that evening, knocking him back to second place overall.

“It was really good tight racing with a high-caliber fleet” remarked Frewin. It certainly was, with several leaderboard change ups over the two days, and a points board which remained tight, it appeared to be anyone’s game. After day 1, RNZYS Mastercard Youth Training Programme team of Sam Scott, Hugo McMullen, Tim McCulloch, Maddie Rist, Sophie-Ji Hawkins, Harry McMullen, Marin Armstrong-Wills and Lucas Day were out on top. However, a crew injury on day two causing them to slip down the leaderboard. None the less, the youth team put up a strong performance against some of the country’s best.

In preparation for the regatta, RNZYS Commodore Andrew Aitken and RNZYS Performance Coach Zak Merton went out for a training session with Sam Scott and team to sharpen their skills in a different style of boat to what they’re used to. Usually accustomed to the Squadron’s fleet of Emirates Team New Zealand Elliott 7’s, the MRX is a step up in size which brings the additional challenge of coordinating a larger crew.

Athlete’s from our programmes were showcased among 6 of the 11 teams competing at this event. “It’s great to have so many of our teams competing at such a high level, this depth really showcases the strength of our programme,” said Coach Zak Merton, emphasising the competitive spirit within the Squadron.

There were plenty of spills and thrills over the weekend as Saturday bought some squally conditions, a stark contrast the Sundays’ champagne sailing weather. “The first day was extremely challenging, with 15-35+ knots across the racecourse. But we managed to remain calm and focused even when we sent the spinnaker into oblivion!” said Frewin. A moment captured perfectly by the Live Sail Die camera.

A moment captured perfectly, the moment Jack Frewin and team almost lost their spinnaker at the 2024 National Keelboat Championships. Photo: Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

 “I want to thank the RNZYS Performance Programme, and especially Colin Lucas for helping us with our entry fee – we wouldn’t have been there without his support. And of course, a huge thanks to my crew – especially when they rescued me from nearly falling overboard,” continued Jack.

RNZYS is proud of the performance of all of its’ teams at this National event. Membership Manager Georgia Witt commented “It’s great to see the club coming together to support our sailors… from training sessions with the Commodore, to assistance with entry fees from generous members and plenty of knowledge sharing. This great result is testament to all our members, sponsors, supporters and sailors. “

RNZYS Performance Programme sailors Jack Frewin and his LJs Racing team take home the trophy in the 2024 New Zealand Keelboat Nationals hosted by RAYC. From left: Josh Schon, Ollie Lloyd, James Jennings, Tasman Rowntree, Jack Frewin, Blake McGlashan and Pat Morgan.

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