Top four locked in for finals day at 2020 Harken Youth International

 In International Events, Major Regattas, Match Racing, Performance Programme, Youth Training Programme

Our four semi-finalists have been found at the 2020 Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup. Aurélien Pierroz, Nick Egnot-Johnson, James Hodgson, and Jordan Stevenson all extended their regatta another day with three-nil quarterfinal wins today.

After forty five days of no rain in Auckland, the heavens well and truly opened this morning, ensuring all sailors were soaked through to the bone and also offering up everchanging wind strengths.

The weather didn’t stop the racing though, and after some tight back and forth matches in the morning the quarterfinalists were found. 

Aurélien Pierroz’s perfect round robin run ended with a loss to Egnot-Johnson’s RNZYS Performance Programme Knots Racing team, but twelve wins from thirteen races still meant he finished as the top seed. Egnot-Johnson came out of the blocks strong, notching up wins against Pierroz and Stevenson, which was enough to put him in second place heading into the quarters. Hodgson, finished the round robin on eleven wins – the same as Egnot-Johnson – but was relegated to third position on countback due to his loss to the local in the round robin. The fourth spot went to American Jack Parkin who had nine wins, setting up a tough quarterfinal against Jordan Stevenson’s RNZYS PP Vento Racing team (eight wins). Emil Kjaer and his team from Denmark qualified in sixth, also with eight wins. Clinching the last two spots were RNZYS Mastercard Youth Training Programme skipper Oakley Marsh (six wins), and Wellingtonian Albert Stanley (five wins).

The Stevenson v Parkin quarterfinal was the highlight of the bunch, with all three races incredibly tight throughout. The second was full of excitement as Stevenson had a penalty and a slender lead heading down the final leg. However, he was able to show his class right before the finish, inflicting a penalty on Parkin to cancel his out and then sail to the finish to win by less than a boat length. Vento Racing then showed their skill and local knowledge to romp home in the third and book a semi-final spot, and with it, qualification for next week’s HARKEN 2020 Youth Match Racing World Championship –

“That was a hell of a quarterfinal, Jack {Parkin} gave us a really good go out there. It was always going to be tough because he has sailed well this week, but we knew we had the local know-how and if we could be strong in the pre-starts and stay in front then we would be good enough to get the wins. The boys are stoked to get into the semi’s, and to qualify for next week’s World’s is super exciting, but our priority right now is to try and win this event and then worry about the Worlds later.”

Aurélien Pierroz, James Hodgson and Nick Egnot-Johnson won their quarters fairly convincingly against Albert Stanley, Emil Kjaer and Oakley Marsh respectively, setting up some big time matches on finals day. But it is probably Egnot-Johnson and his RNZYS PP Knots Racing team who were the happiest come the end of the day, as their semi-final victory also qualifies them for the big world championship dance next week at the RNZYS –

“Really happy to qualify for the worlds, we’re hoping to go one better than last year in Russia [where they finished second]. But tomorrow is our main priority, if we could win this event and go back to back it would be pretty special. We sailed well today and didn’t lose a race, I think we learnt quite a bit in the first two days and we were motivated to go well today. Tomorrow is a big day and we can’t wait, whether we face James {Hodgson} or Jordy {Stevenson} it’s going to be tough challenge regardless so we are going to need to be right on our game.”

Semi-Final matchups will be decided tomorrow when top seed Aurélien Pierroz makes his decision on who he wants to race, and no matter what the decision, both matchups are set to be absolute belters.

By Andrew Delves – RNZYS PR & Communications Manager 

Full photo album available on the RNZYS Facebook Page HERE

Full Results can be found HERE

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