Lighthouse New Zealand Match Racing Championships are underway thanks to last-minute venue change.

 In Competitions, Major Regattas, Match Racing

Auckland yacht clubs work together to get this year’s event underway. Hosted by Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and raced out of Bucklands Beach Yacht Club.

Pictured: Last year’s event raced in Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s fleet of Elliott 7’s.

Auckland, New Zealand – The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) is proud to announce the 2023 New Zealand Match Racing Championships sponsored by Lighthouse- racing is underway today, October 26, with the finals planned for Saturday, looking to avoid the strong winds forecast for Sunday.

The three-day event will feature intense match racing between some of the best match racers from New Zealand and overseas and is the country’s premier Match Racing Regatta. Continued contamination in the Waitemata Harbour caused by a wastewater overflow rendered racing on the waters outside the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron unfeasible. However, with some all-hands-on deck action and generosity from Bucklands Beach Yacht Club (BBYC), RNZYS was able to move the event to BBYC the day before racing commenced.

Adding further logistical challenges to the weekend is tropical cyclone Lola which currently sits between Vanuatu and New Caledonia as a Category 1 system tracking south-west. Current forecasting models predict the system will be downgraded to a tropical low which could cause strong winds as it moves closer to New Zealand and merges with another low-pressure system. Strong winds are expected for Sunday’s scheduled finals, prompting the race committee to work hard over the coming days which will allow finals to be held on Saturday instead.

Competition is fierce with some of the world’s top ranked match racers lined up to compete. Among the strongest of competitors on the world stage is Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) of Knots Racing Team ranked world #7 and last year’s World Match Racing Tour Champion. Another entry ranked among the world’s best is Youth Match Racing World #2 Cole Tapper (AUS) and his CYCA Youth Sailing Academy team.

Jack Frewin and his RNZYS Performance Programme team will be eager to make their mark on the event having finished second in the recent Oceanbridge Auckland Match Racing Championships earning them selection to represent New Zealand at the World Sailing Youth Match Racing Championships set to take place in Sydney this December. Another RNZYS skipper keen to make their mark is Keiley Thompson making his debut on the national match racing stage as a current participant of the Squadron’s Mastercard Youth Training Programme.

The strength of competition at this year’s event has also attracted two New Caledonian Teams skippered by Tom Picot and Kevin Le Dréau. Picot is a strong match racer placing second at this year’s Aircalin Match Racing Cup held on his home soil and will add to the strength of this weeks’ competition.

Stay tuned for all the action yet to come. Follow live results here and tune into Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Facebook and Instagram.

Lighthouse is a new friendly and funky cafe opened in the grounds of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron serving barista brewed Zephyr coffee, real-fruit ice cream, delicious food and tasty treats. Perfect to grab on the go or sit down and enjoy with waterfront views over Waitemata harbour and the Auckland bridge. Come and visit us today, pets welcome!
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