Record fourteen teams to contest 2020 Theland NZ Open Keelboat National Championship

 In Major Regattas, News

A record fourteen teams will contest the 2020 Theland NZ Open Keelboat National Championship this weekend on the Waitematā Harbour in Auckland.

Beating the previous record of eight teams in 2016, it is going to be a busy and competitive weekend of fleet racing in the MRX’s with a lot of serious sailors taking part. The line-up is very impressive, with past champions coming back for another go, as well as a healthy mix of male and female sailors, youth, and some old guns going around again.

A main highlight on the entry list is the Theland Race Team helmed by Olympic bronze medalist Sam Meech. The team also includes Olympic silver medalist Alex Maloney, who is joined by accomplished sailors Brad Marsh, Laurie Jury, and Matt Steven. 

The defending champion Nick Egnot-Johnson is racing and will be hard to stop as he chases back to back titles with his RNZYS Performance Programme Knots Racing Team – 

“We are pumped to get back into some competitive sailing and cannot wait for this weekend. We had a great time last year and sailed well so hopefully we can replicate that again. The competition is going to be even tougher this year and there are a lot more teams vying for the title, so it’s not going to be an easy run.”

Another who will be looking to grab his second title at this regatta is 2017 champion Peron Pearse. Pearse is a graduate of the RNZYS PP and is a regular on the club racing and skiff sailing scenes. Pearse is looking forward to giving this event another solid crack – 

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the Theland NZ Open Keelboat Nationals this weekend, it’s going to be fun to mix it up with the top teams again and hopefully put on a good show”

Holding up the flag for the girls are two talented all-female teams. The first is 2019 Women’s Keelboat National Champion Sally Garrett who will be looking to make a statement ahead of the Barfoot & Thompson NZ Women’s National Keelboat Championship in late November. The other is the 2.0 Racing Team helmed by RNZYS PP sailor Megan Thomson. Thomson is excited to do some keelboat racing with a busy schedule in this format on the near horizon – 

“We are super excited to test ourselves against some really talented teams! We have lots of keelboat racing coming up with the Barfoot & Thompson Ladies Summer Series starting next week and the Barfoot & Thomson Women’s Keelboat Nationals in November, so it’s going to be good to get out there and push ourselves as much as we can.”

Travelling up from the South Island we have Geoff Gorrie from the Bluff Yacht Club, as well as RNZYS YTP graduate Harry Thurston who is representing the Akaroa Yacht Club in Christchurch. 

Talented keelboat sailor and last year’s runner-up Matt Bouzaid is on a quest to go one better than last year. This will be Bouzaid’s sixth time competing at this regatta, experience which will make him a genuine threat this weekend.

Niall Malone and Jordan Stevenson are our two other RNZYS PP skippers taking part, and they are joined by Mastercard Youth Training Programme skippers Robbie McCutcheon and Oakley Marsh.

Rounding out the entry list is Peter Sumich sailing for the RNZYS, and Rob Hielkema representing the Bay of Islands Yacht Club.

Theland, the brand of Milk New Zealand who operate as one of the largest dairy exporters nationally, are back on board to sponsor the event for the second year in a row. Aimee Cai, Theland’s E-commerce Manager, says “the company are thrilled to be involved as the main sponsors for this event, producing world class dairy products and world class sailors are two iconic Kiwi pursuits.”

Terry Lee, Managing Director of Milk New Zealand Dairy Ltd says, “We are so excited and proud to be the title sponsors of this amazing sailing event at the RNZYS. Not only are we sponsoring this event, but this year we have our own professional team –Theland Race Team – who are going to be very competitive. We wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to being on the water to witness the action this weekend!”

There are some awesome off water events which people can attend and get involved with too. The first is a Q & A with the skippers hosted by Kate Montgomery on Saturday evening at 545pm in the RNZYS Ballroom, as part of the Squadron’s 150th Opening Day celebrations, and the other is the regatta prizegiving and Sunday Roast hosted by Andrew Delves, including interviews on stage with some of the sailors, on Sunday from 430pm. Contact: events@rnzys.org.nz to secure your spot at the Sunday Roast, which includes a delicious roast dinner for $15.

Racing will take place near Northern Leading Buoy from 10am on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of October, with the long range forecast looking very positive to provide for some epic racing.

For more information contact:

RNZYS PR & Communications Manager Andrew Delves

adelves@rnzys.org.nz

Follow RNZYS Social Media for regatta updates, photo’s & stories throughout the weekend:

RNZYS Facebook: www.facebook.com/RNZYS/

RNZYS Instagram: @rnzys

A full weekend schedule can be seen below:

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