Egnot-Johnson’s Knots Racing and Coach Corbett leading from the front on Day One
It was more like winter on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland today as the 2019 Yachting Developments New Zealand Match Racing Championships got underway, with the temperature not rising above twelve degrees as well as a very shifty and blustery breeze with intermittent squalls of rain throughout the day.
Eight flights were completed by Race Officer Harold Bennett and his team in trying conditions, and it’s the regatta favorites – Nick Egnot-Johnson’s Knots Racing team – who are the only undefeated team at the end of the day. Egnot-Johnson notched up four wins from four races, including a win over their coach Reuben Corbett, and was fairly happy with how his team are looking heading into the next three days –
“It was actually really tough out there today, super shifty breeze, but we managed it pretty well. We haven’t sailed together as a four since the Hardy Cup in February, so it was a matter of shaking off a bit of rust and getting it together as a team again. Four wins from four is a solid result but we have plenty of tough match-ups tomorrow.”
RNZYS Youth Training Programme Coach Reuben Corbett also had a bit of rust to shake off as this was his first match race outing in years, and he started the day with a loss to Egnot-Johnson. However, the rust was quickly removed, with Corbett coming back to win his next five races – including wins over Stevenson, Willison, Picot, Gifford and Wilson – ending the day with the most wins out of all of the teams –
“It’s just like riding a bike. I’m lucky to have a very good crew in Josh Wijohn, Tim Snedden and Pierre Harrison, and they made my life pretty easy today. Plenty more racing to go though so we just need to keep on pushing.”
RNZYS YTP Sailor Alastair Gifford and New Caledonian Tom Picot are the next best, both notching up four wins from five races and both only going down to Corbett.
Megan Thomson and her RNZYS YTP 2.0 Racing Team are the best of the two all-female teams, sailing well today to record three wins from five races, with Celia Willison’s RNZYS Performance Programme Edge Women’s Match Team only recording one win out of five races.
James Wilson (RNZYS PP) hasn’t done any match racing for quite some time, but he showed good signs today, notching up three wins to finish the day with a seventy five percent success rate.
Representing Ireland is Niall Malone and his RNZYS PP Black Fern Racing Team, and he will be hoping he has a lucky leprechaun on his side tomorrow because he only managed two wins from five today, lamenting some dodgy pre-starts and a constant change of crew –
“Our main trimmer wasn’t available for the entire day today so we had to keep changing crew which made it a bit tough, but we will have a full complement tomorrow so hopefully we have a top day.”
Our oldest skipper this week is 79-year-old Brian ‘Trubi” Trubovich, who didn’t look out of place out there amongst what is a pretty youthful line-up of teams, collecting two wins out of five races. It could have been three wins too, but he wasn’t quite able to shake off a penalty in his match with Picot, just getting pipped on the line once he had completed his offset at the finish.
2019 Harken National Secondary Schools Keelboat Champion Robbie McCutcheon, who is representing Great Britain this week, only managed one win today – although he was up against some tough teams. The 18-year-old knew it would be a difficult day due to the conditions and level of competition, and was optimistic heading into day two –
“We faced some adversity out there today, but I wouldn’t expect anything less. Tomorrow’s there for a reason, so we will be looking forward to getting back into and it giving it our best shot.”
Racing will resume tomorrow at 10am, and with only less than half of the round robin completed – all teams are in with a chance of making the quarterfinals, guaranteeing plenty of exciting racing to come.
Andrew Delves – RNZYS PR & Communications Manager
Full Results HERE
Images on the RNZYS Facebook Page HERE
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